Farmersgirl Kitchen

The history of a farmhouse fireplace and a British Ceramic Tile makeover

When we first discovered that we had dry rot, it was a shock.  The various tradesmen gathered and predicted that it would take about three weeks to remove and replace and treat the damaged timber, unless they discovered more problems when they opened up the walls and floors.
The work started at the beginning of February and the last tradesman left at the beginning of May.  The dry rot damage was extensive and, in the process of digging up the concrete floor to put in a damp proof course, our farmhouse inglenook fireplace tiles were damaged.  While we could have done without the additional disruption, it did give me an opportunity to replace the tiles on the fireplace with my own choice of tiles.  Let me tell you a little about the history of our fireplace…
We reckon that the bottom of the house is about 300 years old, we know the top was put on in 1901 as we have the original plans.  The house has passed through the family and my husband’s grandmother would have cooked on a black range something like the one above.  My mother-in-law can remember in the range being there in the 1930s.  
In the 1950’s my mother-in-law and father-in-law replaced the range with a ‘Super-Chatinette’ which heated the water in a tank enabling them to have hot water on tap rather than heated in pans on the range.
In the early 1980s the in-laws finally installed central heating along with a Franco-Belge solid fuel stove with hot plates and an oven.  It was exactly the same as this one, it did the job but was no Aga. The heat in the oven was very variable, you could have it very hot, great for scones or very low which was fine for stews.

We fitted
the current oil stove as a stand alone heater in the 1990s and
filled in the space left by the larger Franco-Belge with some new tiles featuring pots of herbs.  Our elder son told me he can remember us going to choose the tiles.

Here is the fireplace dressed for Christmas, complete with Christmas tree and stockings, happy times.  But now we move on to a less happy scene…

The night we came home to this view of the broken concrete floor, was probably the worst point of all. The impact of the destruction of your home is something that cannot be underestimated. The photograph was taken from our bedroom above the kitchen, half the floor had been  removed for dry rot treatment giving a view to the kitchen and fireplace below. 

Now on to the good part, finally I had the opportunity to choose my own tiles and create the fireplace that I wanted to see in my kitchen.  I was delighted when British Ceramic Tile agreed to work with me to create a beautiful fireplace.  British Ceramic Tiles are designed and made in Britain with a wide range of traditional and modern styles.

I chose the following tiles for my fireplace:

Elite Rice White Honed Brick Mosaic Stone Tiles ISC2677
The Elite collection is made up of five distinct natural marble
ranges that release the true beauty of Indonesian stone. The Rice White
Brick Mosaic is available in a 305x305mm size.

Marmaris Black Field Multiuse Tiles ISC2627
The porcelain multiuse tile comes in a 450x450mm size in a natural stone effect.

We used the local company  of J.E. Jardine and Son to tile the fireplace, but if you are thinking of doing your own tiling then Katy Harris, Senior Product Manager at British Ceramic Tile has given me some top tips about tiling fireplaces:

  • Prepare the area well, making sure there is no paint or soot on the fireplace before you get the tiles ready
  • Apply tiles row by row
  • Ceramic
    tiles are extremely hardwearing, practical and easy to clean, making
    them a popular option for anyone updating their home. Any keen DIY-er
    can easily cut and lay the tiles without worrying about special
    preparation or maintenance
  • Always order an extra box of tiles in case your measurements are slightly out or you damage the tiles once laid

As recommended, I did order some extra tiles and  had enought left to tile the front lobby, where the Edwardian floor tiles had also been damaged by the building work.  Fortunately the tiles I had chosen were suitable for walls and floors and I’m absolutely delighted with the results.

British Ceramic Tiles are widely available through independent tile suppliers, builder’s merchants and DIY stores. If you are interested in finding out more about British Ceramic Tiles please contact 01626 831391 or ‘like’ their Facebook page. 

Many thanks to British Ceramic Tile for supplying me with the tiles, it’s been a pleasure to work with them and The Lenny Agency. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    belleau kitchen
    May 14, 2014

    oh Janice, that is the most wonderful post with such a happy ending and your tiles are so beautiful. The restoration is juts stunning and so empathically chosen for your home. I hope your new fireplace adds very many happy memories for the future x

    • Leave a Reply

      JaniceFGK100
      May 14, 2014

      Thanks Dom, it is nice to have a happy ending. Once we get the wooden floor back down I'll take lots more photos as grey concrete isn't my choice of flooring!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Alison
    May 14, 2014

    It is lovely that you have the complete history of that fireplace. It is such a shame you lost it but the restoration looks amazing

    • Leave a Reply

      JaniceFGK100
      May 14, 2014

      Thanks Alison, it's been amazing during this process to realise how unusual it is for a house to pass through the same family for such a long time, we have so much knowledge of the house and farm.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Elizabeth
    May 14, 2014

    Wow, what a superb kitchen you have! It will have been well worth the wait to get back in there and start using the rooms again. What an ordeal for you though!

    • Leave a Reply

      JaniceFGK100
      May 14, 2014

      Thanks Elizabeth. I do love my kitchen, it's kind of unusual. There will be more photos coming when I get everything unpacked and sorted.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Heidi Roberts
    May 14, 2014

    How fantastic to have such a distinctive family history of your house. It looks great now too!

  5. Leave a Reply

    Karen S Booth
    May 15, 2014

    Absolutely fascinating story and post Janice and I love all the photos you have shared too! I LOVE the new tiles and the little stove, as well as the fact that this is truly a FAMILY house. I know it has been a difficult time for you with the dry rot and you have had to face challenges, but the end is in sight now and it is wonderful to see the changes! Karen

  6. Leave a Reply

    Lou, Eat Your Veg
    May 15, 2014

    What an interesting post about the changes your range and fireplace has gone through!! Such fabulous history you have there too, which in this day and age is altogether very unique. I'm loving your new tiles, a lovely nod to the modern age and very attractive.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Jacqueline Meldrum
    May 15, 2014

    Wow, what a change over the years. I really enjoyed seeing all the photos and the story behind it. I bet you are glad to have your house back and I have to say it's looking great. Nice choice Janice 🙂

  8. Leave a Reply

    The Kitchenmaid
    May 16, 2014

    Janice, it looks amazing! You're so lucky to know all the stories behind your house (or some of them, at least!) I know from my own experience how trying it can be to watch tradies destroy your home in the name of progress, but the end makes it all worth it. Hope you're enjoying having the house to yourself again!

  9. Leave a Reply

    Keep Calm and Fanny On
    May 17, 2014

    What a lovely end to the story, and a great history! The new fireplace looks STUNNING and I look forward to seeing you return the rest of your house to your home once again, thanks!

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