The fireplace was one of the first most essential jobs we tackled by ourselves after the builders had made safe the ceilings. As mentioned in the post below heating during the winter is essential. We knew that we wanted a cast iron wood burning stove and therefore needed a platform to put it on. The stove itself cost 890 euros (massively over budget for us but what a cracking peice of kit!) We spend more on gas in the summer than we do in the winter - how? because we cook on the stove which has more than enough room for a full tray of roasted veg with a leg of lamb plonked in the middle!Tasty.
Below is our harth ready for our new stove the next day, 17 barrow fulls of concrete and carefully leveled off.
In the process...a border was created using 9" bricks cemented in place then the centre filled with coarse cement/broken brick/stones/boulders etc etc.
And an early photo of the job done with stove in place already heating up the cave. The wood storage to the right of the picture was modified using shelving and re plastered and is very handy indeed especialy if its raining outside!
Ok this fire is big and its best just to leave it "ticking over" instead of stoking it up, the heat generated is simply unbelievable helped enormously by the caves insulating qualities. One problem that you will encounter though no matter how big or small your stove or fire is that your carefully plastered fireplace will crack due to the temperature. There is little that can be done about this except design your fireplace using decorative brick/stone or an alternative from the outset. We are just about into our second winter and the plaster hasnt fallen off yet but come next spring we will be re-thinking which materials will be best suited to the fire surround - cant get it all right can you!!
Next... storage in your cave, planning it, and digging wardrobes...great fun!