If you are channelling your inner **Hygge this Autumn, you may wish to join me in worshipping some beautiful log stores from a maker I discovered on Instagram. These are veritable temples to the humble log, kindling and coal store. The photography features log stores installed in cute cottages to more sizeable Georgian properties on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border (but also supply nationwide).
The funny thing is that another Instagram follower commented as to whether it was ‘wrong’ to be coveting these log stores really quite so much and I found myself replying that, no, it was not. Before I knew it, I was becoming a nerdy member of a log store makers’ fan club! Oops.
Super collectors of items such as Jimmy Choos, vintage cars and sizeable wine cellars often look to create bespoke housings for their collections. So it isn’t so strange given the huge and ever-growing popularity of open fires and log-burning stoves that many people now look beyond storing their logs on a wooden pallet to wanting something more glamorous than the offerings on the high street.
A creative business is born
@Woodsonandson (www.woodsonandson.com) was born out of a conversation round the family dinner table. Joe Gregson’s mother casually mentioned that after a thorough trawl of the internet, she hadn’t been able to find exactly the sort of log store that she wanted. Joe, whose day job is a building surveyor, started to make some sketches and before he knew it, a slate-tiled two-bay store was up in his parents’ garden receiving lots of interest and attention.
Since then, Joe has created a website and the orders are rolling in – with installation taking place at the weekends. As well as the off the shelf models (from £220 to £375), Woodson and Son offer a bespoke service too. Joe’s background before he trained as a building surveyor was in Fine Art, Textiles and men’s fashion retailing. Whilst studying to be a building surveyor, Joe also turned his hand to dry stone walling.
Into the woods: Joe’s tips for the best wood to burn
“Pine or birch burn quickly and give a good amount of heat. The only issue is they burn quickly and you have to get up from the sofa more often to re-stock the fire.” Joe’s personal favourite is Elm. “Not quite as easy to get hold of but burns for much longer.”
There is something so satisfying about neat piles of wood whether stacked ceiling high in a sitting room or just simply as a humble pile outside the back door. Last November, Quercus Books published Lars Mytting’s book Norwegian Wood in the UK which has become a global bestseller and was voted the best Non-Fiction book for 2016 by Amazon. Amongst other things, the book tells you exactly what wood to use, how to stack it, chop it and generally create a beautiful environment for your winter fuel. Images include some mesmerising, sculptural circular stacks of wood.
(Left: Photograph: Roldam.tumblr.com/Pinterest; Right: Location house: Beach Studios)
If you like the idea of adding a little fragrance to your fire lighting ritual, Joe suggests the dried wood from fruit trees such as apple and cherry create a beautiful fragrance when burning on an open fire (might lose quite a bit of fragrance up the chimney in a log-burning stove). Dried lavender and other herbs such as rosemary are good too or throwing on some dried orange peel and cinnamon sticks at Christmas time can add an additional bit of magic. If you can get your hands on it, hazel wood also has a nice aroma.
Joe uses a rather sweet Lars Mytting quote on his website:
“You know exactly where you are with a wood pile. Its share price doesn’t fall on the stock market. It won’t rust. It won’t sue for divorce. It waits for Winter. An investment account reminding you of all the hard work you have put into it. On bitterly cold January mornings it will bring back memories of those Spring days when you sawed, split and stacked as you worked to ensure yourself against the cold.”
Oh and … **Hygge = a Danish philosophy of living that roughly translates to cosiness, encourages you to live in the moment, enjoying the simple things in life such as eating with friends, to laying a fire, a kind of practical mindfulness for living. P.S. For info, pronunciation is ‘hoo-gah’!
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