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Colard Winde: 'Sales, restores and installs for 29 years'

Colard Winde, owner-director of CW Rustiekbouw Open Haarden, breathes fire places. Winde knows the charm, design, rich history and do's and don'ts of fireplaces like no other. “Driven by our passion for the profession, we do everything ourselves. From design to realization. So the foundation, the chimney cap, even the bricklaying: hardly anyone does it anymore.” Text: Bart-Jan Brouwer
Online editing: Mical Joseph
Image: John van Helvert

Fire is my life

“I have been selling, restoring and installing authentic fireplaces and unique design fireplaces for 29 years. When I was nineteen I bought my first marble fireplace and proudly built it in my own home. I loved doing it, that's how my passion for building fireplaces started. And that passion has only grown over the years. Fire is my life. I started the fireplace business when I was 24. In the beginning I focused on classic fireplaces, but over time modern ones were added. The fireplace, in whatever form, is a beautiful product. It brings warmth, comfort, peace and harmony to any home and is the focal point of a room! ”

Automatic glass plate

“Everyone has their own expectations and there is a lot of choice. Burning wood or gas? Open or closed with glass? A modern or antique mantelpiece? And maybe someone has ideas for their own design. Inspiration can be found in our showrooms and we will help you make every wish come true. The fact that we do not allow ourselves to be limited by this is evident from the recently launched unique glass lift door fireplace. We make them to size, while elsewhere they are only available in fixed dimensions. This type of fireplace can be closed by a sliding glass plate. This not only gives you a safer feeling, but also yields greater returns. While the plate is normally moved by hand, we are the only one with automatic control tailored to your wishes, which can be connected to the home automation system or WiFi. We never say no. Only when safety is compromised or it is really technically impossible. Because of our passion, expertise and customization, we are in high demand internationally. We work in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Russia... And yet we only do this with six people. I want to maintain exclusivity and only work with people who know the trade down to the last detail, speak multiple languages, look representative and share the same passion.”

Crackling fire

“Which fireplace fits best in this time of energy transition? If you want energy-efficient heating, you can consider one that runs on bio-ethanol. This biological fuel is currently often installed in gas-free homes. If bio-ethanol used to give an unpleasant odor, this is a thing of the past due to the new composition of the ethanol. The safety standards have been tightened to such an extent that safety is guaranteed with our bio-ethanol burners, which is not the case with many other providers. The charm of a wood-burning fireplace is unparalleled, with the crackling fire and the typical smell. Although you can also place a fire andiron in a gas fireplace with an aroma oil in it; then you have a similar effect. A gas fireplace has many advantages: you don't have to empty the ash pan, you don't have to lug wood around and it can be turned on or off at the touch of a button. If the gas supply decreases due to political developments, a switch to propane or butane is also possible, as is already used for gas-free living. What would currently help in the case of a gas or wood fireplace: a fine dust filter in or on the chimney. These filters have been on the market for thirty years, but you don't hear much about them. If politicians were to provide a subsidy for this, the CO2 and particulate matter content in the Netherlands would be a lot less. And burning with well-dried wood is essential. This will prevent many problems with smoke and particulate matter. Nowadays, over-dried wood is often sold, which still needs to dry for at least two years.”

Atmosphere bringer

“In all the years I have been in this business, I have never had a crisis. In fact, during corona we could no longer meet the demand. While people used to want one fireplace, today they want one in different rooms. I once installed several fireplaces in a castle. A great challenge, a fantastic project with impressive results. A proud feeling... The customer is satisfied and so are we. Driven by our passion for the profession, we do everything ourselves, from design to realization. So the foundation, the chimney cap, even the bricklaying: almost no one does that anymore. And also the maintenance, including sweeping the chimney. That is part of our strength: we are not dependent on anyone. CW Rustiekbouw is also one of the last remaining specialists who can still make large castle fireplaces, the traditional work. Some customers want a fireplace that dates from the same period as their castle, for example from the sixteenth century. Then I really have to start looking. There are dealers who specifically look for antique fireplaces, for example when an old castle becomes available and is emptied. My house dates from 1625. It took some effort, but now I also have a fireplace from that year. But it is just as much of a challenge and pleasure for me to install a modern fireplace. For example, we recently built a four and a half meter long pool fireplace on propane fire. A striking atmosphere between the swimming pool and terrace, with glass on one side and an open fire on the other. I would like to have something like that myself. Do I have to build a swimming pool first, haha.”

MASTERS MAGAZINE

The spring issue of MASTERS celebrates regained freedom after two years of corona. The value of this is underlined by developments in eastern Europe, where the freedom of an entire people is at stake. We live in a new reality, but we can make plans again, go out for dinner, meet people. The world is turning again! Only: which way? Time for new bridges, new initiatives. What this edition of MASTERS offers inspiration for.

MASTERS #49