Cooking Indoors – Rumford Cooking Fireplace

We will build a Rumford fireplace and oven like this one for our kitchen.

Over the next year…maybe the winter if I can get my CLAA work done…I’m going to build a Rumford fireplace and oven in our kitchen.   We have a section of space in uor kitchen that currently holds a pair of sliding glass doors going out back…which we never use.  We plan to remove them and use the wall for an open hearth.   This will serve all family cooking during the cold months when cooking outdoors is not feasible.   A “Rumford” fireplace is an old 18th century design that made better use of heat by forming a narrow flue in the chimney so smoke could leave, but more heat was retained.   Modern fireplaces aren’t made for anything but appearance, with all of the heat leaving the house through the chimney.

You can see that a beehive-type baking oven is included on the right hand side with wood storage underneath. 

I’ll probably not get started on this for a few months, but I’ll try to keep the progress updated here.

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9 Responses to Cooking Indoors – Rumford Cooking Fireplace

  1. Diana says:

    When we’ve toured old houses these types of fireplaces are usually located in a kitchen building which is separate from the main dwelling because of the risk of fire. Is fire a concern for you?

    • villapacis says:

      That’s strange…I know of many old houses with these fireplaces…that’s where I got the idea from. Anyway, old houses didn’t have fire brick, pre-fab clay flues, metal chimney liners, etc.. We’ll be a lot safer than the old houses were, even though they were pretty smart and understood fire control just as well as we do today. If there are stories of fires, you have to balance that with the reality that every meal that was cooked before gas/electric stoves were invented was cooked on a wood fire. Fires were very, very rare if not statistically non-existent.

  2. That will be nice. Beautiful picture. Do you have to keep the fire going all the time? If so , will you build a kind of fence around it to keep little ones out during school hours?

    • villapacis says:

      No. We learned that when open fires were used for cooking the ladies only cooked once each day…for a 2pm dinner. In the evening, leftovers were eaten as “supper”. We’ll get the fire going in the morning, prepare our food for the day and then just keep leftovers warm. No need to keep an eternal flame burning.

      You can’t just move from modern American cooking to cooking with an open hearth. When the hearth was used–for thousands of years, mind you–the way meals were arranged and food managed were different. It’s part of a different (and we believe better) life, not just a different way of heating food.


  3. jessica hannon says:

    Have you got an idea on how much it is going to cost you to build this yet?

    I am curious to know if it will be cheaper than building a standard, modern fireplace.

    • villapacis says:

      We’re building it ourselves (as usual) so it will only cost us the price of materials. There are a few expensive pieces, pre-made for the chimney flue and bread oven. Other than that, we’re talking bricks and mortar.

  4. jessica hannon says:

    After looking at the picture and the plans (I cannot “read” picture diagrams very well) I cant tell if the fireplace is built inside the room or if it is partly outside. I am not sure if I am explaining myself well.

    Would you have to open up the wall to be able to build this or can you build it in front of an interior wall?

    • villapacis says:

      The fireplace will actually be outside the wall with the hearth open to the room inside. We are working to see how we could design this also to be accessible from the outside, as it will be on the back deck…could double as an outdoor cooking area.


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