At the beginning of January we invested in a wood stove for our living room. Best investment ever.
I can't just leave it there. You see, I have a rocky relationship with wood stoves that goes several years back to Kentucky... I have to include the back story on this one.
We moved to LaGrange, KY (20 miles north of Louisville) in 2004, because Scott was asked to help start a church. Housing was not quite as affordable there as it is in Mississippi, and so we went with the Fixer upper route rather than a TINY newer home.
The home we chose had great bones. It was 100 years old, in the historic district, had a great yard, etc. However, it needed some major work inside. Scott lived there for three months working to remodel the home while I stayed in New Albany with the children. He knocked out a wall, painted everything, and removed a furnace and drop ceiling in the kitchen. We southeners ignorantly reasoned, an efficient pellet stove would do the same thing as a furnace... and it would eliminate the need for the ugly drop ceiling and giant furnace taking up half the kitchen!
That pellet stove only kept us warm when we were hugging it.
We put another wood stove in the front fireplace, but it was a small antique model. When it was going strong and hot, the room was tolerable. However, every morning, no matter how full we would pack the thing at night, it was empty and cold.
And we could see our breath inside our downstairs. And our toilet froze all the time. And I had to wear gloves inside the house. And we would often go do school at the library or community center to stay warm. And I learned how to split wood.
We even made silly pictures around our woodpile, because it was such a big part of our life...
All this for the lady who often calls herself an albino Mexican, wishing she could live in a more tropical climate than Mississippi!
**Now, I am just setting the scene so that you can understand the depths of my desire to have a warm house and give you a little background on my pent up dislike for wood stoves... That Kentucky house was great from April- October, and I OFTEN miss my very dear friends from there.
When we moved back to Mississippi and decided to build a house, there were a few "must-haves." Lots of natural light, WARMTH, and closet space topped the list.
Well, 2 outa 3 ain't bad... unless it's January!
Our home here in Mississippi has sprayed insulation, great windows, and a completely brick exterior. All of the makings for warmth. However, it has an open floor plan with concrete floors... and a heat pump instead of gas heat. When we built our house, gas was higher than it had ever been, and we were trying to do the "green thing." Unfortunately, our home topped out at about 59 degrees. Anything higher and the heat would just run and run... but not get above 60 degrees!
For the next several years, Scott tried to convince me to put a wood stove in our living room. I protested and argued and MIGHT have shown my hiney once or twice about it. I did NOT want to ruin the pretty arched opening with some rigged up ugly wood stove patched in the hole with bubble gum and aluminum foil... I preferred to be cold over having a junky looking, smoky smelling, freezing in the morning house.
I am a little bit opinionated. And not always as submissive as I would like.
After a few years of busting knuckles and being unproductive, because 57 degrees is just a little too chilly for me indoors, I started researching wood stoves. It turns out that all wood stoves are not created equal. A $100 wood stove bought from a junk shop and a new wood stove with modern technology are far from equal... in looks and performance.
We purchased a wood stove which vents out the back and up our chimney, eliminating the need to "patch up" the opening in order to seal it off. Because it is new and was installed in a newer chimney, it draws very well. Our house is not smoky or sooty, and it is WARM!!!! Like 68-70 degrees warm!
When will I learn to listen to my husband!? I am thankful every day for warmth, and it is a good reminder that when I listen to Scott, I am usually happier in the end!