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Ceramic Stoves


Story: Nick Hills


I was asked to follow up my earlier introduction to the Ceramic Stove with a case study. Having given this a bit of thought, I decided that outlining several projects would present a much better opportunity to describe the breadth and scope of these remarkable stoves. What follows is an account of the completion of a handful of projects, chosen almost at random, since each and every stove we’ve built over the last twenty years could claim to equally representative yet different from all others.


Knoll Beach When the National Trust decided to build an educational facility at Knoll Beach, Studland, they also decided that it would be built in a sustainable fashion, using local material where possible and ecologically-sound building practices. It was decided, therefore, that as well as choosing composting toilets, wood sourced from their own trees, a wind turbine, Fairtrade refreshments and charity-shop mugs, the building would be heated with a ceramic stove, fi red with off-cuts from the building project and home-grown fi rewood. On a recent visit, I noticed that there is now a photo-voltaic array in place to augment the power generated by the turbine.


As there was no requirement for the


stove to be highly decorated or embellished in any way, the obvious choice for them was the extremely effi cient and elegant Osier, designed by Reinhart von Zschock. The Osier is based on the same principles as the classic Swedish stoves and employs the same internal fl ue system, devised in 1767 by Cronstedt and Wrede. This fi ve-channel system is so effi cient that it’s never been improved upon and is still built into most of the stoves that we build to this day. Bee’s Hall The Flash to Bang time, the


time from initial enquiry to the placing of the order was one of the longest in the company’s twenty year history, although a fairly long gestation is not unusual.


110 Traditional Homes & Interiors | December 2010 – January 2011


The nature of the building, conversion, restoration or refurbishment project that includes the building of a ceramic stove generally dictates that there’s a lot of research to be done and the decision to install a ceramic stove is rarely taken lightly. Bee’s Hall, formerly Beeston Church Hall, had been acquired by Brian Lewis, a popular local artist, as


a live-in studio. It’s a light, bright, airy space, a perfect environment for Brian to live and work in and an equally perfect location for the stove. Initial discussions were conducted on the phone and mainly revolved round likely locations for the stove in the hall. Then it went quiet, for quite a long


time, and then, out of the blue, the phone rang. It was Brian, explaining that he’d been doing a lot of work in preparation for the stove, including building a hefty foundation and starting work on a new chimney. The location was not to be where we had concluded it was going to be in earlier discussions, at one end of the hall, but more centrally placed along one of the longer side walls. The conversation moved on to the choice of style, colour and decoration, but the artist that he is, Brian had a clear idea of what he wanted in his studio. It was to be a round stove from the Gabriel range, tiled through 360 degrees


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