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Keeping Out the Cold

As many of you know, winter is not my favorite season. See this post for further clarification.  http://thedragonrun.com/desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures/  Since we moved in to this beautiful, old building we have tried to stay comfortable during the winter months without breaking the bank, and things have improved since that first frozen and expensive winter here! Rachel and Robert insulated the basement.

Insulating the crawl space.

Last year I put up window film on all of the windows. You know that stuff that you use with double stick tape and a hair dryer? While talking about winters in old houses with someone (sorry, I forget who ) mentioned interior storm windows, so we checked them out. A little pricey, but seemed like they would be worth a try. We ordered 4 panels, enough for 2 windows for about  $160.00. What we got amounted to aluminum window screen frame with window film (instead of screen), an H channel , and foam insulation around the outer edges. They went up easily, were effective, and were barely noticeable…but we have 23 double hung windows, some of which are quite a lot larger and therefore more expensive to cover. Robert and I looked at each and said, “Pffft, we can make these”. So we did and they are awesome! Robert cut the aluminum pieces and I put them together, applied the foam insulation on the outside edges, applied the double stick tape, put on the window film, and fired up the hairdryer! We had a bit of a rough start figuring out the measurements (who knew 104 year old windows aren’t the same size at the top as they are at the bottom?) and we couldn’t find the right H channels so a few windows have a spring rod in the center to hold them in place but overall they came out great definitely kept out the cold.

Insulation around edges.

Before the hair dryer.

After hair dryer.







On the window.






We used bronze frames so they are less noticeable.

Our first year here we also removed the wall between the store and the rest of the house and being able to see the stairway from the store is wonderful.

Heidi at opening of the wall

removing the wall separating the store from the stairs

The front of the store is pretty much all windows…single pane windows. The wind pummels the front of the store and blows straight up that beautiful stairway into the rest of the house. Even a fire blazing in the wood stove can’t stave off the cold. For the last couple of years we have hung up a very large painters tarp which slows the onslaught. Actually I’m not sure if it did or if it just made me feel better for at least trying to do something! Anyway, after our week of freezing and below freezing temps the “winter wall” plan was hatched. We needed something more airtight, fairly easy to take down and put back up, not hideous, and preferably see through. After a few hours standing in the middle of the store bouncing ideas back and forth this is what we came up with.

Winter Wall


Now, I realize it’s still a little hideous but I think with some paint and stain it will be okay…I hope. Even if it’s still a little hideous, that sucker is spending its winters here! What an amazing difference! Once the woodstove gets going it will heat the entire upstairs…well not our bedroom because it’s an ice cave but that’s what heated mattress pads are for. It almost makes me look forward to next winter just to see how much money we will save on propane and electricity…just kidding, I hate winter is still not my favorite season.

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