Belanger Heater

The Belanger Heater

The Belanger octagonal home is one of our favorites because it is an owner-built home and proof that dedicated people with limited means can build beautiful high quality homes.

We were asked to build one of our standard heaters for the Belangers but when Albie saw their octagonal plans and home shell, he figured out a way to reflect the octagonal nature of the home in the heater by faceting the two front corners of the mass to match the angles of the house. The soapstone support and keystone accent he used for the jack arch worked perfectly to anchor the arch and highlight the beauty of the stove facets. Other clients have since chosen a similar detail.

We built the heater in a workshop format with fellows from New York, New Brunswick, Canada, and elsewhere. Albie was the only paid worker.

After the workshop, Albie constructed the cookstove with the masonry bakeoven, soapstone trim and internal water jacket along with a little help from David Belanger, the builder and co-owner (with his wife Suzanne).

We found recycled slate for the capping stone and hearth pieces stored under a fire escape at the local Catholic church, and as David & Suzanne were members of the church, we were able to acquire the slate for the heater for nothing.

Notice that the cookstove is set off at an obtuse angle from the heater, not at right angles, so that as an element it follows another facet of the home and faces more directly into Suzanne’s kitchen area.

To save money David wanted to build his own chimney. With the chimney going up through the center of an octagonal hall (leading to the upstairs bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry) in the center of an octagonal home, I persuaded David and Suzanne to spend a little extra money on brick and try to build an octagonal chimney.

Although David had never laid brick before, he is a meticulous craftsman and sheet metal worker (Belanger Sheet Metal). He borrowed my diamond saw to make some tight layout cuts and built a gorgeous chimney and then made a copper octagonal cupola cap for it. The Belangers’ home is over 3000 sq.ft. and they have a backup oil hot air furnace but they only use it when they are away or when they can’t burn their heater.