Justin Hooper, Stovax Studio 3 and Vogue, Scotland
You may have seen Justin and his family on George Clarke’s Channel 4 programme The Restoration Man – it featured the Hooper family’s escape from London to restore a World War II Royal Naval Air Control Tower, HMS Owl.
Justin Hooper, Ross-shire, Scotland
May 2, 2017
Tell us a bit about how the project started…
Strangely, we found the tower on Rightmove – we’d always wanted to restore an old building and this seemed like our chance. I was working in London in advertising at the time, but we wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Q: HMS Owl has quite a substantial amount of space – what was your plan for heating it?
A: We always wanted an efficient heating system in place as well as general radiators and gas. The land where HMS Owl stands has plenty of trees, so we knew we would always have plenty of wood fuel – a few wood burners were the perfect supplementary heating source.
Q: Which ones did you go for in the end?
We have a Studio 3 in the main living area, which is open plan, so it needed to give off a lot of heat. I actually chose that particular fire because it was the biggest one I could find. Then we also have a Vogue, which we chose more for the aesthetics; it still kicks off a good amount of heat, but because it’s in a smaller room, we wanted a more contemporary, stylish stove to go with the space.
How does the burning of wood tie in with your move to Scotland?
We moved to quite a remote part of Scotland, so we always wanted to maintain a level of independence and sustainability – chopping and burning our own wood connects you with the land, which is something you’d never get in London.
Did the height of the building prove a challenge to install the appropriate flues?
Definitely – HMS Owl has four storeys, and the burners are installed on the upper floors, which obviously proves a challenge. We actually would’ve liked to have had more wood burners on the property, and if I could do it again I certainly would add more on the top floors.
HMS Owl was featured again on Channel 4’s Restoration Man Revisited.
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