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An open fire or wood burning stove breathes life into a room and maybe it's just me but I love the ritual of lighting the fire through the Winter months. Be it a large inglenook fireplace or a Scandinavian wood burning stove, the fireside hearth is the focal point for the room, around which we gather to watch telly and read the Sunday papers and drink tea. For me, lighting the fire on an Autumnal Sunday evening irrevocably evokes childhood memories of eating toast & cake by the fire ahead of school in the morning. There has been an open fire in every house I have ever lived and it is always my starting point when decorating the room. In this weeks blog post, I look at that key accessory for the open fire or wood burning stove-the log holder.
Although my husband always accuses me of putting aesthetics ahead of functionality, the foremost consideration when creating the fireside must be practicality. And top of that list is fireside tools and log storage, lets begin with log holders.
The different styles of log Holders
There are lots of options available when looking for a log basket. Deciding will depend upon the style of fireplace or wood burner, the size of the room and hearth and how many logs you are looking to store; traipsing in and out with logs can become quite tiresome. Log baskets have moved on from the traditional round willow log basket with ear handles, though these still bring a wonderfully vintage style to a stove hearth. There is now an array of log baskets on offer, popular options include square log baskets, and log baskets made from rattan. There are also many different colours to choose from, our most popular style is a grey wood basket. If the hearth space is limited consider a tall slim design of basket, these take up less space while holding lots of logs. For a grander fireplace, there are few more welcoming sights than a roaring fire and a large basket filled with logs. For me, a large rectangular log basket works best here, similar to the antique mill baskets Drew Pritchard coverts! Our largest log basket is the Mill basket, a replica of the antique original, it retains the same design features; traditional willow weave with rope handles, we also offer the same log basket on wheels, handy if your fireside is a long way from the log store.
A final word on log baskets- if vacuuming doesn't count among your hobbies then buy a lined log basket. We only stock hessian lined baskets and for good reason, the bits that otherwise drop through are endless, a lined basket saves hours of cleaning up!
Metal log Holders
A metal log holder compliments a stove hearth, particularly one that is pared back in design. Log cradles vary in shape and design, usually made from cast metal, and curved to form a cradle shape on which logs can be stacked. The cradle design is available in a selection of sizes and is beneficial in that the logs air whilst on the hearth. This style of log holder made from cast iron also compliments other fireside tools such as a poker or fire tongs. For a more modern take on the same idea consider a contemporary circular log holder, increasingly popular in recent years it offers a modern alternative to the traditional log basket.
Alternative log holders
Of course, you can always opt for a vintage style alternative to the traditional log basket. flick through any interiors magazine or book to find examples of this approach. From an old tin baths, vintage wooden apple crates, antique fire buckets and speaking personally here, an old herring cran- which I don't recommend as it requires half a ton load of logs to look full! On a more modern note, I really like the trend for recycled rubber trugs, these are both practical and look chic next to a woodburner.
Dry kindling is a composite requirement when lighting the fire, and even better if it is close to hand. A small kindling basket keeps it tidy and you can store several days worth at a time. An enamel bucket new or vintage is also perfectly sized for the job.
How to choose the right log holder
Size: The size of the log holder is your first priority when choosing. Consider both the space available and also whether you want the log basket to sit next to or on the hearth. It's also worth thinking about how many logs you want the basket to hold- is it just a few for the occasional evening or is it a wood burning stove that is burning throughout the day?
Shape: Square log baskets are very in at the moment, a square basket brings a neat uniformity to proceedings. Round baskets are quite traditional, more so if tapered at the base. Our slim rectangular shaped vertical weave baskets are popular, these take up little space whilst offering similar volume. And large rectangular log baskets work well with large country house fireplaces.
- Material: The material will have a bearing on how durable the log holder is and also consider if the fireside compliments the look of the log holder. Willow for example is quite traditional, but also consider rattan or my favourite coir. For a Scandinavian style wood burner, a metal log holder or wooden log store may work better. The hearth composition will also have a bearing on this.
- Colour: The colour of the basket will be influenced by the style of the room, the natural hues of willow log baskets sit easily with classic country house decor. While grey or even black coloured willow works with modern or a Scandinavian style. I'm not a fan of the white willow, I think it can look a little plasticky, but lime washed willow creates a white wash that is less shiny.
Our log store is empty at the moment, but Autumn is just around the corner, and my collection of log baskets will soon be full once more! Alex x