The original hearth

The original hearth

When we first moved into Harp Cottage in January 2009, the house was heated by old fashioned night storage heaters.  This wall was then a plaster boarded flat wall with one of the heaters on it.    The first thing we did was to install this Clearview wood burner with a back boiler to supply our hot water.  Knowing that it was a big job we moved out for a few days.  The plan was to have the stove fitting against the wall and all the gubbins, flue etc to go up the chimney behind that we knew was there. 

Hot foot it to a few days later when we opened the front door to reveal this inglenook fireplace!  The whole platerboarded wall had been removed revealing a beautiful stone wall, inglenook and bread oven.  The bread oven can be seen as the white area top right of the inglenook – it had been bricked in as a passageway to the sitting room had been made about two hundred years early.  The cottages had been built in 1672 and made into one about 150 years later – hence the knock through.

This stove although in the hallway became the heart of the home.  It heated nearly the whole house.  The heat from the fire would go up the stairs and warm upstairs.  For the rest of the cottage we later installed a wood burner in the sitting room and a Rayburn in the kitchen.

Our days became focused on feeding fires, which suited us as we worked from home.

The importance of this way of living being became central to our lives.  Whenever we opened the front door we were greeted by warmth and the sight of a burning hearth.  The Rayburn in the kitchen quickly became known as the dragon.  Warmth and fire became our sense of home.

Since we moved out of Harp Cottage we have defaulted to always having a fire of some sort.

So when the nub of my membership idea was growing it quickly became centred around the idea of what represents home for me.  Images of gathering around the fire were in my head but it wasn’t until Chantal suggested HEARTH that it all clicked into place.  This may be my dream of creating a community but it is nothing without the team and community to make it work.

Original photo taken by @haarkon as part of their Thinking Residency