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Dimplex Sunningdale in TheHomeThatMadeMe

Transforming an interior with a Dimplex Sunningdale Opti-V electric stove

TheHomeThatMadeMe is blogger Charlotte Amor Valentine’s vibrant canvas for presenting interiors projects based in and around her family home located just outside Bournemouth.

Due to an extension, the living room space spreads across the entire width of the house which dates back to 1882, meaning it is incredibly long. Two sofas facing one another had inhibited the 'flow' of the room and lead to space being wasted behind them.

“I loved the idea of creating a reading area space and then when the cold weather started kicking in a couple of months ago the idea of a fireplace came into my head,” says Charlotte. The first thought was to replace the television with a log burner. But consultation with her fitters made it clear that she would need to bring the wall out a substantial amount which would, in turn, make the room an even odder shape, as well as bit of a squeeze. Charlotte also began to learn the complexities of maintenance and the safety issues surrounding log burners and young children. “I have to admit it did put me off,” she concedes.

“I started trawling the internet for inspiration and pretty much fell in love with a log burner lookalike from Dimplex called the Sunningdale,” says Charlotte. “This is so realistic that it takes away the stigma of electric fires.” Sunningdale is the first electric stove from Dimplex to incorporate the Opti-V flame effect, a combination of artificial log bed lit by low energy LED lights, high definition video and optical effects to seamlessly combine into an eye-catching illusion of fire. “The part that really drew me in was the fact that it crackles just like a real fire and you can turn the sound up or down,” admits Charlotte. ”I would have that roaring, crackling fire without the maintenance or safety implications that come with a real log burner!”

Charlotte employed a local carpenter and general all round DIYer, to build the wooden frame and plasterboard stud wall to house the stove. If this had been for a real log burner, heftier construction and special heat boards would have been required.

THTMM empty room for build

Charlotte then set to work creating a bespoke fire surround - using Pinterest for some inspiration - plus it actually ended up cheaper doing it this way for her. Timber and some trim were used to craft the look she wanted to go for, including some DIY corbels made by cutting and glueing together wood to a template, before filling, sanding, priming, undercoating then painting the fireplace ready for the stove to arrive.

THTMM Fireplace build in progress

One of the problems that Charlotte faced was what to use for a hearth. She wanted a slate look but couldn't find any tiles large enough, plus the cut was tricky, going around the custom surround. Charlotte ran with an idea of cutting a piece of fire-resistant MDF, “We didn't know if it was going to work but the MDF was an off cut and heat resistant (up to 75 degrees) sticky backed plastic meant that it cost under £10 to make! Obviously, if you are putting in a real log burner then this wouldn't be an option due to the intense heat,” explains Charlotte. To complete the look, she purchased a bit of flue pipe which was cut to size and placed into an indented feature at the top of the stove.

Creating the hearth pad

Quick and easy to install, the Sunningdale simply needed to be plugged in to deliver its realistic flame effect, which can be enjoyed with or without the 2 kW of heat output from the hidden fan heater, all remotely controllable from the comfort of the sofas.

THTMM Dimplex Sunningdale in place

With its graphite, cast-iron effect finish and chrome detailing, the Sunningdale looks completely at home in the new fireplace, creating a focal point in the most luxurious of room settings. The Sunningdale showcases Dimplex’s expertise, combining stylish, on-trend design with practical and easy to use technology. “All was finished just in time to create the cosiest Christmas at Baylyn House and I am so in love. It's completely transformed the room & creates such a lovely atmosphere,” says Charlotte.

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