Inglenook fireplaces were once resided to old English homes, and cottages. They were used to heat cold, wet homes where there was no other source of heat. An inglenook fireplace with seating was one of the primary features of them, to gather, and keep people warm.
In our modern world today, the Inglenook fireplace has seen a comeback, perfectly suited to creating a rustic, farmhouse style look whether you have the quaint English cottage to match, or not.
Inglenooks are not normally a feature you’d find from the get go in a house unless it was an old English cottage. But whether you have an old cottage or a new build, it’s certainly possible to create your very own Inglenook.
In this article, we explore more about the Inglenook fireplace and how to make an inglenook fireplace in your home, cosy memories pending!
What Is An Inglenook Fireplace?
An inglenook fireplace is a seat which is recessed into the wall to the side of a fireplace, however the term is often used to describe any larger fireplace, whether or not such a seat is present. The word comes from “ingle”, an old Scots word for a domestic fire, and “nook”.
The History of The Inglenook Fireplace
The inglenook dates back to ancient England times, the fire that heated homes was right in the middle of a home, but around the Middle Ages this fire moved toward an outside wall and became a fireplace that became today.
There were needs for other things other than just a fire. Homeowners wanted to stack firewood, or a log might be too big to go on a normal fireplace, so the hood that was over this was designed to gather the smoke and urge it out of the home. Over time, this got bigger and bigger to the point it was essentially a room within a room. Thus, the inglenook was born.
It would have been used for many other purposes other than heating a home, including drying washing, drying wood for tomorrows fire, and for baking bread. They were commonly only seen in areas such as England which gained its reputation for always being wet, and cold.
How To Make An Inglenook Fireplace
Find A Chimney Breast
Once you make that decision to create an Inglenook fireplace there’s no easy way to go about it as it involves knocking into your chimney breast wall.
You will need a chimney breast, existing fireplace in situ to understand whether it will firstly be possible for you to have an inglenook fireplace setup. If you aren’t sure, always consult a fireplace expert.
Remove The Existing Fireplace
An inglenook is a recessed wall which houses the fire/stove inside, the extra room was typically used for storing wood, drying or baking. You may want to store wood in it but also add decor accessories to the floor.
The first step if you haven’t already done so is to remove the existing fireplace. Once you do so, you’ll have something that looks a little bit like this.
Opening Up The Fireplace
An inglenook is always typically much larger than the stove you want to place inside it. The aim here is to create a recessed wall with enough space for a stove, and space either side of it too. You should mark out on the wall the centre point, and how much bigger the hole needs to be become.
You need to widen the entrance by removing the brickwork and adding a lintel if necessary to provide structural support. This can cause structural issues if not done correctly, so it is always worth seeking professional advice.
This can be a VERY messy job, so move your furniture or cover everything as the red dust it throws up stains.
Repairing The Wall Bonding & Plaster
During the above process you’ll end up taking other parts of the wall plaster off, once the above is completed, add bonding and plaster to the wall to make the area good again.
Traditional inglenooks would have had the red brick behind the stove. However, when carving your own one out of the wall the finished look is likely not going to look anything like what you may have had in mind.
You may choose to keep it rustic looking with the existing brick, but another traditional choice is to add brick slips at the back. This creates a gorgeous, rustic and farmhouse style look.
Install The Stove
You may also choose to lay tiles or a hearth underneath during this point. Once fitted, you’re ready to install your stove! You’ll need a qualified fireplace specialist to help fit this successfully, and to ensure there are no blockages in your chimney. If your fireplace hasn’t been in action for a while, this is an absolute necessity.
Here is an inglenook I absolutely adore from Nicki’s beautiful home. I love her inglenook fireplace surround which has been finished with brick slip, a stone hearth and beautiful decorative finishes for a rustic, farmhouse style focal point in her living room.
There you have it, your very own gorgeous Inglenook fireplace. I absolutely love the traditional look they bring to an interior, they particularly look the part in modern farmhouse style interiors. Are you a fan of an inglenook fireplace?
*This information is purely from personal experience and is not an expert opinion. Always consult a professional when altering a structural part to your property.