Real Life Chiminea Stories – Two Go Mad in North Devon

So how do people actually use their chimineas? Different people use their chimineas in different ways. We talked to Kate and Tony over in remote North Devon about their chim experiences, and got them to send us some photos.

Kate and Tone’s chiminea adventures

“We bought our beautiful cast iron chiminea from the Chiminea Shop in 2016… inspired by this blog, actually. We’d heard of them, and Kate’s brother had been using his for many years up in North Yorkshire, but realising how versatile they are, and what fun could be had, we decided we’d get one of our own.”

a chiminea in the garden
Kate and Tony’s chiminea with Steve the cat in the foreground.

Cast iron good looks

“We liked the cast iron designs best, thanks to the colour and patina. Kate really loved the Steampunk-inspired design of the Toledo, so we went for that. And out it went into our small urban garden in Brighton, where it kept us and our friends warm on summer evenings. In early 2017 we moved house to Devon, brought our Toledo with us and started a new life.”

A moveable feast

“Our new house has an acre of land complete with our own tiny patch of woodland and a stream. Because we have so much outdoor space it’s hard to decide on a permanent spot for the chiminea, so we tend to move it around to take advantage of the sunshine at different times of year, and stay out of the wind through winter. It’s cast iron but not that heavy, so we just carry it between us using the rings at the side.”

“Plenty of guests stayed with us when we lived in Brighton. But we get even more people to stay now we’re over here in Devon, in summer holiday country. The chim makes a centrepiece for a great evening’s entertainment all year round.”

Year-round fun

“If it’s warm we truck outdoors in T shirts and set the chiminea right in the middle of the lawn. If it’s winter we wrap up warm and set the chim somewhere sheltered, either around the edge of the wildlife pond – which is actually an old swimming pool – or down by the stream in the ‘secret garden’, well out of the way of the prevailing Westerlies.”

Secret Garden in the woods
Tony and Kate’s ‘secret garden’ where the chiminea often lives in summer, in the shade of the trees.


wildlife pond
The wildlife pond, where we site our chiminea on warm days, out in the sunshine.

Lazy cooking!

“We’re not particularly into cooking, especially for more than the two of us. This means our chim is actually a lifesaver when we have guests. We graba bunch of stainless steel skewers, scoop up all the fruit and veg we can find, along with some cubed fish or meat, bread and dips, plus a few bottles of Prosecco, and troop out to make DIY kebabs. It’s great because all you need to do is give everyone a skewer or two and let them loose on the chim, nice and casual with no pressure to attempt cordon bleu!”

Economical on fuel

“Our small bit of woodland means we have a constant supply of kindling, and because chims only need a small fire to heat up to an amazingly high temperature, we never run out of fuel. Even if we did need to buy fuel, it wouldn’t exactly break the bank.”

Love that rusty finish

“Back in Brighton, where we had an immaculate but small outdoor space, we regularly re-finished our chiminea with special chim paint. We could have maintained the gorgeous matt black finish over here in Devon but at the end of the day we decided we actually really like the rusty patina, which suits this much less formal garden perfectly. In fact our new garden is so big, we’re thinking about buying another chiminea to site permanently in the secret garden…”