Most estate agents agree that key living areas should complement one another and offer a place to unwind from the day. Looking at the living room in particular many developers opt for the easy option of centralising furniture around a television. However, research shows buyers are increasingly favouring the traditional approach of bringing the family together around a cosy fire and turning the screens off.
A new trend of opening up old fireplaces sees both the Solid Fuel Association and the National Association of Chimney Sweeps reporting that business has increased by 20 to 40 per cent since 2008. However, it isn’t only old homes where fires are fast becoming vital features. Developers are also putting fireplaces and chimneys into new homes to meet the growing demand.
Phil Wicks, managing director of Focal Point Fires, provides advice on making sure new homes have a welcoming feel, and developing the area to allow for families and friends coming together.
“Nothing beats the glow of a real flame. All our electric fires, gas fires and flueless gas stoves allow this to be done without the mess and clutter of storing logs. The advantage of the flueless options are that they all Energy Efficiency Class A rated – and do not require a chimney so no heat is lost up the flue. It’s all about being smart with the space you have, of course it’s easier to heat a small room than a bigger one, but inset or wall hung fires allow you to provide a lot of warmth without taking up valuable floor space.”
Focal Point Fires is the UK’s largest manufacturer of fuel effect fires and are pioneers in ‘flueless’ gas stoves. This means that owners don’t need a chimney or flue. It also has a wide range of different gas and electric styles to match any home no matter the interior style.
“Not all homes have a real fireplace, and while log burners are an attractive addition, the installation costs are higher and generally the fuel costs are higher because you lose so much heat. On average, an installation of this kind is upwards of £2,000, whereas the fitting of one of our stoves, like the Leirvik, just requires connecting to the gas mains by a Gas Safe registered engineer.”
By installing something other than a traditional radiator you can create a central room where people want to come together at the end of the day, share their stories and enjoy the feelings of warmth. It’s a valuable feature that many look for when buying a home. It seems that doing it well means you remove a lot of hassle for the buyer – and still scores sales from that warm, cosy feel.