Serving Up Country Chic With a Twist

With more time being spent at home in 2020 due to the global pandemic, many of us have put our focus into rethinking our home design to create living spaces that are a pleasure to spend time in.
With this in mind, today we’re going to be shining the light on the living room, looking at ways you can conjure up the beauty of much-loved rustic interiors with a modern twist – ensuring your home is the perfect blend of classic and contemporary.

What is rustic interior design?

Rustic interior design can manifest itself in an array of different guises, from traditional country cottages and farmhouses to wooden ski lodges, French chateaus and Tuscan villas. However, at its core is the presence of raw, natural and organic materials and features that instantly conjure up that rural vibe. Put emphasis on these elements in your living room makeover and cleverly tie them in with modern features and you’ll have a new take on rustic interiors.

Lay the foundations with flooring

With any decor theme, your floors act as the foundation that sets the tone of the entire room, so getting this aspect pitch perfect is key to tying together classic and contemporary rustic style. Your first thought may well be hardwood floors that give your living room a homely and snug feel. However, in the name of modernity, this isn’t your only option. Instead, why not consider a more practical and durable material like wood-look luxury vinyl flooring?

Easy to clean, hardwearing and mimicking the look of wooden floorboards, you can have all the aesthetic appeal of wood with an innovative material that’s designed to last and requires minimal upkeep. You can even invest in underfloor heating mats that will bring your wood-look floors well and truly into the 21st century.

Add texture and layers to walls

The next step is to give your walls the attention they need to project that quintessentially country feel. For those with older properties that have original features, this is your time to let them take centre stage. From wooden beams and exposed stone to elegant open fireplaces, you can emphasise these traditional accents by giving them a more up-to-date look.

This could be painting wooden beams in white or a pale grey or applying a glossy lacquer to exposed stone and brick work. Similarly with original fireplaces, swerve quaint and kitsch Victorian tiles in favour of a more contemporary design for the surround and hearth that will give it a more edgy feel.

Of course, not all homes are blessed with period features. You can still get authentic-looking rustic decor in modern homes, however, using materials that portray the textures you get with the real deal.

This is where the modern concept of feature walls comes into play. Using rugged materials like split-face wall tiles or untreated wooden panels on one wall in your living room will instantly inject that essential texture and layering.

Finished with flourishes of classic and contemporary decorative accents like brass hooks, gold gilded ornaments and metal-framed mirrors, you’ll have an eclectic mix of old and new that contrast and complement each other in one fell swoop.

Create warmth with heating

 As a place to relax and unwind after a long day, your living room needs to be the epitome of comfort. Rustic-inspired decor is perfect for creating a homely, warm and lived in space. This is where choosing the right heating for your room can make a difference. Yes, you can make your rustic living room feel snug with just radiators, but there’s something special about a real fire that transports you from your average home to a rural farmhouse scene.

The addition of a traditional-style wood burning stove could be all you need to encapsulate that country aesthetic with the benefit of modern heat efficiency to keep you warm on those chilly nights. Take a look at log burners such as the Charnwood Bembridge (a collaborative stove created exclusively for the trail blazers of the modern rustic movement, Country Living)

Finished with a neat stack of wood or a wicker basket for kindling and some brass fire utensils, these stoves will effortlessly integrate into new and old homes, delivering a striking and practical feature for your rustic-style living room.

Embellish with finishing touches

When it comes to successfully combining country-style decor with contemporary design, the finishing touches you choose really count.

The key is to unify old and new furniture, soft furnishings and other decorative elements for a cohesive look that pays homage to both eras. An effective way to do this is to select a few genuine rustic pieces like a driftwood side table or a worn leather sofa and offset it with more modern materials like glass and metal. The smooth, shiny surfaces of newer materials will play well with the rough, lived in look of the older pieces to allow them to sit together harmoniously.

You can apply this contrasting principle to all your finishing touches, like setting a modern-style sofa with straight lines next to a hand-carved bookshelf or coffee table. Or adorn the room with funky light fixtures and raw wooden mirrors and picture frames. Take your time to experiment with different items and textures to get the combination just right and you’ll be left with a country chic living room that gives you all the charm of old with modern comforts.

Regardless of where you live, we hope you’ll find plenty of ideas on how to inject that countryside character into your living room, leaving you with a space that’s primed for relaxation every day of the week.


Author bio:

Alex Jones is a content creator for Trendy Floors, the home of discount flooring products with all the hallmarks of luxury – from affordable luxury vinyl tile to engineered parquet.


The importance of wall protection when installing a freestanding stove

As the cold season is fast approaching, many homeowners are rushing to prepare for the winter, and one effective way is to get your fireplace ready. As you will be aware, the fireplace serves to keep you and your family warm and comfortable during the winter months. Whether it’s a wood-burning or multi-fuel burner, it produces controlled heat that can warm your home’s space.

However, did you know that a vital part of the overall equation in your wood-burning stove is the heat shield? As the name suggests, it is typically installed behind a freestanding stove and it is designed to protect your wall from heat damage. However, while most wood stoves come with heat shields, some don’t have one.

In this article, we’ll specifically cover how to set clearances and install heat shields for wood stoves:

Have adequate clearances

When it comes to a wood stove, there are two key safety features you must keep in mind – sufficient clearance and wall material behind. A properly installed and maintained wood stove can ensure the safety of your appliance. Yet, inadequate clearances can be extremely dangerous for your home.

The Fire Protection Association recommends that the common radiant-type stove must be spaced out at least 900mm (36 inches) from a combustible wall although different wood burning stove manufacturers will offer their own tested safe distances. This is extremely important as your wood stove can get very hot when in operation. As a result, combustible materials too close to the stove can catch fire. By cheating on your wood stove’s clearances, you can potentially create a fire hazard.

Reduce wood stove clearances

On the other hand, know that you can reduce the clearance of your wood stove without compromising your home safety. Although you cannot completely eliminate the clearance, you can significantly reduce it. There’s only one solution to this, and that is to install a properly constructed heat shield.

For your reference, there are various types of heat shields you may want to consider for your wood stove. Be sure to follow the guidelines set forth by the HETAS for the heat shielding requirements, from the appliance selection down to its actual installation.

Vitreous Enamel heat shields

When it comes to wood stoves, installing a wall mounted heat shield is an excellent way to reduce clearance and promote home safety. A vitreous enamel heat shield is a great solution.

Vlaze Heat Shields are designed to protect and enhance the wall behind a wood burning stove creating a modern fireplace.

The vitreous enamel panel features a dual skin that provides thermal protection and an effective convection system that distributes heat back into the room. Using their rail mounted system the heat shield is quick and easy to install and is available in 3 sizes and over 30 luxurious glazed finishes. When installed on a wall the shield reduces the stoves distance to the face of the panel to 95mm and in the case of a Charnwood stove to just 75mm – a vast improvement on HETAS regulations.


At this point, you now know several valuable tips for your wood stove. As mentioned above, be sure to have adequate clearance or reduce wood stove clearances by installing heat shields. Furthermore, it’s best to deal with a reliable manufacturer when purchasing and installing a heat shield for your wood-burning stove. Doing so will help you make the most of your stove, protect your home, and keep you warm during the cold season!




Home is where the hearth is: Tradition and forward-thinking technology are the fundamental tenets for this family-run Isle of Wight firm with more than half a century of history.

Back in 1972 when Charnwood Stoves founder Alfred Wells and two of his sons John and Alistair sat by an open fire in the village of Niton on the Isle of Wight, little did the trio know that their small engineering firm would become a 21st-century market leading company.

That night saw the three men come up with the notion to create a compact, efficient woodburning stove that was to become the cornerstone of the company. Fuelled by rapidly rising oil prices and the advent of Dutch Elm disease, meaning there was a plentiful supply of wood across the UK, their idea soon became a reality that today encompasses both traditional values and forward-thinking technology in the form of clean, green and efficient woodburning and multi-fuel stoves.

The privately owned family company employs around 140 people – ten of whom are family members – and continues to operate in the same location, to the same exacting standards set out by the three men some 50 years ago, with all stoves and accessories made on site with British parts. “Though we’re constantly innovating, our products are designed to last a lifetime,” says Ced Wells, grandson of Alfred and creative director of the company. “We still hold spare parts for our original stoves – we firmly believe that when you purchase a stove it is a long-term relationship.”

Tradition and prescient thinking are held in equal stead by the Wells family. Whilst the gentle crackle of burning logs and the soothing allure of flickering flames has long held a romantic appeal, as evidenced in Charnwood’s stylish designs spanning contemporary through to traditional, happily the reality of using wood as fuel equally sustains its draw. In order to best utilise the material’s properties as a renewable, sustainable and CO2-neutral fuel, technological solutions employed by the company include stoves with emissions so low that they are DEFRA-approved for burning wood in smoke-control areas, whilst the latest clean-burn technology in the Aire models amongst others ensures that the strict new Ecodesign regulation planned for 2022 is met as priority (the regulation being the stove industry’s response to the DEFRA Clean Air Strategy, which itself aims to improve air quality and reduce emissions and pollution).

Alongside its products, the relationships fostered by Charnwood are rooted in the family’s close-knit ethos and Christian beliefs, and extend into the community and beyond as a reflection of their deeply held values. “The concept of ‘relationship’ is probably the most important thing in our lives and business,” explains Ced. “We believe it’s important to take care of others, which in business terms manifests itself in supporting people – so our employees, our suppliers and our customers – and in connecting with the environment.”

In addition to using local suppliers and materials where possible, Charnwood’s commitment to the island pays homage to the intrinsic it plays in the company’s origin story. “The people that work for us have shaped what we have become,” says Ced. “They are our most valuable asset and are an extension of our family – many of them have been with us for more than 30 years.” As well as being well-connected to schools, colleges and businesses, the company offers apprenticeship schemes for young people in engineering, design and manufacture, “as job opportunities can be scarce on the island – and we very much want to see it thrive and grow as an economy.”

Plans for the future include a continued focus on uniting tradition with innovation: “We’re soon to be launching the world’s first intelligent woodburning stove that automatically burns your fuel to optimum efficiency,” outlines Ced. “The idea is that you load it, light it, close the door and then the stove does the rest” – a concept which doubtless is as faithful, loyal and consistently aligned with the core values of the company 50 years ago as it is today.

Words: Eve Middleton for The English Home November 2020



Charnwood stoves specified for Danh Vo's Chicxulub show

We were recently asked to supply six Ecodesign Ready wood burning stoves for a show at The White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey, London. The work ‘Live Free or Die’ is part of artist Danh Vo’s exhibition, Chicxulub. Stacks of firewood are used to fuel six Charnwood Skye 7 stoves installed throughout the gallery, in return giving off heat and an atmospheric light which illuminates the space.

The stoves are placed on gloss black vitreous enamel Vlaze hearth plates

The show runs from 11 September – 2 November 2020 Click here for further details 

Stoves were installed by London stove specialists Stoake