A tiny wood stove for a tiny house…


I am really good at procrastinating. Seeing as I haven’t written since January, I guess I’m about 7 months good at it. Think there’s a prize for that? No? Well shit.

We have been warm and toasty whenever needed since January, courtesy of our darling wee wood stove; a Kimberly from the WA based company Unforgettable Fire LLC. It’s a marvellous little thing, made entirely of stainless steel with a darn efficient secondary combustion system, and it has worked out great for us.

I grew up with wood stoves and have always loved them. When I was little, my sister and I used to run outside in the snow with our bare feet so we could run back in and tap our frozen footsies against the front glass and hear the water steam and sizzle while just barely managing to not burn our toes. Safety 3rd around here.

Anyway, wood stoves are my personal favourite heat source. They require frequent maintenance, can be messy, smelly and exceedingly dangerous so they aren’t for every person or situation, but the warm ambiance and cozy glow of a little stove on a cold night wins me over every time. Plus; zombie apocalypse friendly.

Aside from the cozy/zombie factors, the main reason I opted for one in Little Yellow is because the dry heat essentially acts as its own dehumidifier. So much so that you often see kettles of boiling water placed on them to keep the air from getting too dry. In my foggy, coastal climate (no kettles needed around here) putting in a heater that would also combat excess moisture made a lot of sense, and I have ended up with a built in dehumidifier that is multifunctional and also aesthetically pleasing.

Safe clearances are perhaps the biggest hurdle with wood stoves in a tiny space that is made almost entirely of such a stove’s fuel of choice. I remember seeing a picture of an early tiny house that had one smack in the middle of the greatroom, because it was the only place in the house that could accommodate the clearances.

Since the space we had in which to install a stove was so small, I was a bit concerned that we wouldn’t be able to swing one at all. Actually, we had several potential problems with our hopeful stove spot, 1. Whatever we put in had to be safe with only 4” clearance between the chimney and the wooden wall behind. 2. We could cut no wider than a 5” hole in the roof for the flue before hitting either a rafter or the rib of our standing seam roofing material. And 3. The hole we would need to drill through the floor for the outside air intake couldn’t hit the steel I beam of the trailer below.

Aside from it being super pretty and efficient, deciding upon the Kimberly was based mostly on its incredibly low clearances and its use of 3” insulated pellet stove chimney pipe instead of the wider class A pipe, which was too big for our roof situation. I had known about (and drooled over) the Kimberly since before I started building but couldn’t do anything about it at the time. That is because it is expensive. Sitting down are we? Sit sit. It is $3,750. And it is just so cool that we had to buy it.

We considered it our forever Christmas present to each other. A sort of ‘here, lets be warm for the rest of our lives’ kind of thing. It’s an incredibly well designed and USA made stove with some very cool features, if you want to read more, check out Unforgettable Fire’s website and the tiny-house-specific Kimberly website here.

Installation went pretty darn good. We were lucky to have Vanessa Kelly, our dealer and the Business Developer for Unforgettable Fire, help out with our installation and Kimberly’s inventor, Roger Lehet on the phone to get all our questions answered. After a few hitches and a custom chimney pass through the roof, this stove looks like it was never missing.

I let my boyfriend do the hole drilling (I have a great fear of holes in my roof. A great fear) and he did a fantastic job. In a traditional installation, the chimney pipe would pass through the roof in what’s called a cathedral ceiling box. This would require about near 10″ hole, so Zac got creative, as he does, and fabricated us a new, much smaller part that does the job perfectly.

And now we have heat at our disposal 🙂 We get hardwood and kindling from our local firewood spot in two big bins for $10 each which buys us about 3-4 months of warm. OH MAN, I love being warm. It’s such a luxury to be a comfortable temperature after two heatless winters of cold. Like, try to warm yourself up with lightbulbs cold. Like, consider getting whatever rocks hold heat best, warming them up on your cooktop and hugging them cold. (I have done these things.)

I feel like we bought what we expected to be only a wood stove, but what we also acquired was two people and a dog’s worth of comfort. I have decided it is the best thing I have ever purchased because we have serendipitously secured ourselves an endless number of winters in homebody bliss, that won’t involve crowding around 20 something tea candles (this too).

Some nights we do nothing but pull up pillows and just lay on the floor in front of the stove for hours. Lobster is a huge fan. He gets his little dog face SO close to it I almost worry, but he’s in total heaven. When it’s chilly out and there’s no fire he’ll lie down by it and look at me, then look at it and look back at me. And then look back at it. He’s very subtle.

There are so many things I need to write about. They’ve been coming from all directions recently and I am going to try, try try to write at least one post a month. And if not, I’m going to figure out this procrastinator’s prize thing. That could really go places.


Disclosure: I am new to this affiliate thing, and am excited and proud to be one in regards to the Kimberly stove because I love it so much. If you were to purchase a stove from one of the links in this post, I would receive a small portion of the cost. I would be just as happy if you were to find the links on your own because I really just want these guys to do well, so feel free to do that if you would rather 🙂 To warm and happy tiny homes!


52 responses »

  1. Good for you! It looks great!
    Love your tiny house and your blog.
    Great writing and always puts a smile on my face.
    Happy heating 😉

  2. Thank you so much for posting about your stove!! I start construction on my tiny home in the spring and this is definitely the route I’m going to take. I really appreciate all the details and photos you gave, they chose a great affiliate 🙂

  3. A home without a fireplace is just not a home to me. I currently live in a small apartment, and the best I could do were two electric fireplaces, living room and bedroom, that at least have space heaters in them. I enjoy their simulated flames whilst waiting for my own tiny home with a real one.

  4. Ella, I sincerely love your blog. I have been dreaming of one day when I can downsize enough to live in my own wee house. You are so fortunate to have a wonderful man in your life and a great dog to share your space with. I totally loved your description of the pup with his nose near the Kimberly wood stove. Subtle indeed! 🙂 (Don’t get me wrong, I too am fortunate, I have a wonderful husband, an 11-year old daughter, a dog and a cat. So, obviously, I couldn’t live in your tiny little house, but a 600-800 sq. ft. house would be ideal. In any event, keep sharing I truly love to hear your stories. P.S. The pic of your face through the “hooooole” in your roof is SO adorable. Keep smiling beautiful, lady. Lori

  5. It was an honor to be able to work with you during your Kimberly™ wood stove purchase and installation. Zac did an amazing job with the necessary customizations and everything turned out so lovely! You’re such an engaging and gifted writer that I {selfishly} hope you can pull yourself from that beautiful beach that you frequent and carve out more time for blogging. Great photos! Thank you for your continued inspiration and joyous presence to all of us in the Tiny House community, and please give my love to Lobster!

  6. Ella, I love seeing updates from you, it’s always nice when there’s something new. I totally understand about life getting in the way, though! Great to see how happy you still are. Cheers to you!

  7. Hello,

    You bloody well out to get a commission for this wonderful write-up on their behalf. Welcome to the world of affiliate marketing. Hopefully you’ll do well with it.

    This post caught my eye because we are in the market for an affordable wood stove. Though semi-tropical here oh the winter nights got chilly last year. Living as we do (a cross between Amish sans the religion and 1800’s) we need a wood cook stove.

    Now I’m off to check out the product. Thanks for the shout-out about it.



  8. Incredible finishing work on your stove install! Love the custom welding on the flashing and pass through. The pictures do a great job highlighting the compact beauty of the Kimberly™ and your house in general. Enjoy the fruits of your labour 🙂

  9. I am so happy for you guys. Anyway you can make your life better and more simple is the way to go. I like your blog. It helps me in my creative phases so I can design what it is I need to to live small and simple; yet, full fill my dream of helping others.

  10. Awesome! I have a little wood stove, too – a Morso Squirrel! It was invaluable to me during last years winter here in NY. Brrr! I just posted about stocking up on wood! lol

  11. This is a silly, maybe semi-personal question. Feel free to not answer! But I live in the south and I want to relocate to California and building a tiny home has been a dream of mine. But, I was wondering when it came to finding a place to actually live–to set up the home once completed–what exactly did you look for? How did you come by it? I know there are obviously RV parks, but I wanted to find a place that felt more like home. I’m just confused as to where to start my search because of plumbing, electricity, etc. Thanks for your time!

  12. Hello Ella and other tiny house owners! I’m a photographer from Finland heading to San Francisco and the Bay Area with a journalist in mid-September. We would love to visit some tiny houses around the area for an article about living small and sustainably.

    Please let me know if you or some of your friends would be ready to open the doors of your home!


    Maria Halkilahti

  13. Good for you guys! The Kimberly stove is one of the coolest looking ones I’ve seen in any tiny house, you’re smart to run that affiliate link 🙂

    Would you be interested in doing a short interview with us for http://tinyhousefor.us – give Mike a holler info (at) tinyhousefor.us

  14. Pingback: Adieu français fenêtre psetits tissus pour rideaux. Vous êtes trop cher ! | TinyHouse43.com

  15. Thank you for confirming the awesomeness of the Kimberly Stove! We’re awaiting it’s arrival and are so excited for it’s installation – which will complete our tiny house so we can finally move in!
    Linking your post from my own blog! matthew1525.blogspot.com

  16. Hello. Im new here, but Ive come to ask for advice. I have a project Im working on, a small stone house. Work has ceased in July, since things have gotten in the way. I, to, admire small living quarters-and have grown very fond of small houses since beginning my project in 2013. I recently found out about Tumbleweed houses. Nonetheless, I see that you know your stuff. Can you give me advice? I can email you photos of the stone house. Thank you, I’ll be elated to hear from you. ~~Alex

  17. I’m currently thinking about investing in a Kimberly stove for my tiny house (still in the planning stage, I’m afraid, but hoping to start the actual build in early 2015- just as soon as I’ve attended a Tumbleweed Workshop!), and I’m a little concerned that the stove might be prone to overheating such a small space. I’d be very interested to hear about how you deal with temperature regulation- do you find that your tiny house overheats, and if so are there any easy solutions? Can the stove be damped to decrease the heat output? Is it something that is easily handled with an open window? I’d also be really interested to know if you have any experience with the Unforgettable Fire Thermoelectric generator for the Kimberly. Thanks.

    • The Kimberly is technically enough to heat 1500 square feet, so overheating in a much smaller space was one of our concerns as well, though it hasn’t come to much actually. When it’s chilly out, I usually get a fire going enough to get a good sized log on (good size being maybe 4″ x 6″, haha!) Then I damp it down. Sometimes I’ll just leave it at that and even after the fire dies, it can keep the house warm the rest of the day. When it’s colder out I’ll keep feeding it and if it ever does get too warm, an open window or two takes care of it quickly. Good luck!

  18. I love your blog, Ella…!! I’m very proud of your abilities and attitude. I love your abode, and aesthetics regarding design.. I am very keen on this Kimberly stove, in both function and design.. It is just a BEAUTIFUL STOVE! And it fits VERY NICELY in your space.
    How is your dog adjusting…? He’s very cute.

  19. Hi there! I’m just seeing your blog and YouTube video on the stove and I definitely think you should get commission. It’s seeing things in action that sells things to people and the two of you did a great job!
    I live in a coastal state, but I’m about 200 miles from the coast. The humidity is very high here, even in winter. Lowest temps may hit the teens and we get more ice/sleet than snow. My question is, given those temps and humidity, how long will a single full load of firewood last and how warm do you heat your house? Will it last 4 hours during a 20 degree day, heating to about 68 degrees inside, or longer, or shorter? Just want to get a general idea.
    I will be putting mine in a tiny house similar to yours and I want to know if I’ll need to buy additional heating. The Kimberly site says a fire can last up to 8 hours, but doesn’t really give under what usage it will last that long. I wanted to ask someone who is actually using one. Thanks!
    P.S. Your dog is totally adorable. 🙂

    • Not sure how long it would last as your climate is considerably colder than mine, but I can’t imagine any possible weather that this thing wouldn’t kick ass in. I should imagine 4 hours would be achievable.

  20. Hi Ella,
    My husband and I are building our own tiny and are looking into stoves. We were wondering if you still felt it worth the high price tag of the Kimberly now that you’ve had it over a year?
    Also, love your posts!

  21. I love this stove, I came across it when looking for small wood stoves. I hope it is working well for you. I’m considering some kind of wood heat in my small house to cut the heating bills and to have a backup heat source.

  22. Hello, was wondering where you purchased the 3″ insulated pellet stove pipe? Is your pipe, double wall or insulated double wall? I know they make a 5″ class A pipe, and I was going to us a 3″ double wall pipe inside the 5′ class a, but I would like to get just the 3″insulated if I could. Thanks,Gabby

  23. Pingback: Process Your Own Firewood The Easy Way and Save Money

  24. Kimberly peoples was just wondering if you had found a sweet spot on the Kimberly I too have a Kimberly I burn well seasoned red oak white ash almost reached a burn time of 3 hours off a half log me too are looking for the sweet spot 6 to 8 hour burn time can’t seem to get her burn that long

  25. Hello, I recently purchased a kimberly for my tiny house too! I saw a video you and Zach made on it and I was wondering what exactly that cast iron piece was that you attached to the top of the kimberly to make it a better cooking surface? Was it just an old cast iron pan with the handle removed or is there a special name for that? Thank you!

  26. On your coldest nights, how long does the fire usually burn? How often do you have to stoke the fire and put more wood in it? Thanks!

    • The stove burns longest with compressed sawdust logs. We tested it and got an 8 hour burn (as in enough coals after 8 hours to catch another log). It’s considerably less long running with hardwood in my experience. Hope this helps@

  27. Hello I am thinking of buying a Kimberly stove and your name came up on a comment. Looks like you have had one for a while. Do you still love it?

    • Hi Lezlee,
      Don’t live in my tiny anymore, but made it through several winters with the Kimberly and would definitely recommend it. The tenants that live there now use it in the winter and it’s still doing great. Hope that helps!

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