I’ve been mulling the question that’s in the headline of this post for a while, and meaning to throw it out to readers to see what they think. The sudden arrival of hot weather, however, made discussion of wood-burning stoves seem kind of unappealing. But this evening it’s turned quite cool and rainy again, the kind of raw evening that makes you appreciate a wood stove. So I am going to ask.
A while back I posted a little paean to beautiful European-made ceramic wood-burning stoves, like this one, a Sideros made in Italy. I think it is quite gorgeous, though haven’t yet had the nerve to find out how much it might cost here in Canada – or risk the disappointment of finding out that it’s not even available in Canada. Still, even if it isn’t, presumably we could find some sort of European-made (or European-style) ceramic stove if we look hard enough. With clean, modern lines, a compact footprint – something beautiful and out of the ordinary. That was my little dream about the wood stove for the Manse kitchen.
I am determined to have a wood stove of some sort – partly because they are eminently useful if the power goes out; partly because they make a house cozy; and partly in tribute to the old wood stove that my father tended so faithfully, and that kept the Manse completely warm (thanks to an old-fashioned stovepipe system, now long gone) when our young family lived there in the 1960s and 1970s.
But then Raymond and I walked into the Tweed Home Hardware one day a couple of months ago and were stopped in our tracks by a display model of a gleaming new, though very old-fashioned in style, wood stove. It’s made by Heartland Appliances, and the model on display is called the Sweet Heart. It comes in black, ivory and white. The photo at the top is a model with a reservoir (on the right side of the stove) for hot water, useful once again if the power goes off (and you’re wanting a hot bath), but also for introducing humidity into the air; wood-fire heat is quite dry. The actual model we saw in Tweed was the more compact version of the Sweet Heart, without the reservoir; here’s a photo of it:
I like the clean design of the reservoir-free model better, but I also like the idea of using hot water to keep the air from being cracklingly dry. As for colour, I think it would be white, or possibly ivory.
(Side note: what is highly amusing to me is that the Heartland folks have joined forces, in Canada anyway, with none other than Aga, the British outfit that makes my dream cooking stove. Here are the cast-iron Agas [which they don’t actually call Agas] that Heartland sells. Early on I posted about my hope that the Manse would be the place for my first [and doubtless last] Aga. So you see? It’s all coming together!)
Anyway, people what do you think? Should we go sleek and modern and colourful and European in our choice of wood stove? Or retro rural?