In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering...

This blog exists to encourage all those who have ever wanted--and needed!--a tiny getaway close to home. A workshop, playhouse, garden shed, sanctuary, mini-greenhouse, studio, home office; whatever it is you need, it IS doable, with some sacrifice, imagination, and compromise.

It helps if you're handy, too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Looking toward winter...insulation and other issues

Yep, insulation DOES help, even the relatively thin sheet foam stuff.  Unfortunately, not when it comes off and lands on the ground.  We've lost even more since I posted about it before (you can see more info in my OOOPS-es tab)  We need a skinny handyman!

Definitely something needs to be done before winter.  If I put my hand on the section of floor that still has insulation, it warms to skin temperature in seconds.  On the section where the insulation has fallen off?  Maybe eventually it would warm.  I don't have that much patience!  It stayed chilly.  So did my feet, yesterday, and I was out there for HOURS.

Eventually, I'd like to have something that FILLED the space between the floor joists, but for now just having the insulation we put up in the first place would help...

When we lived on our farm, back in the 70s, we piled bales of straw or hay around our foundation.  Looks weird, but it DOES help.

One layer of plywood between me and the North Pole isn't enough.  The floor's going to be very cold this winter.  (Even here in the house, at the computer, I usually put a heating pad under my feet...just a crawl space here, and this is the NW corner of the house.  Cold...)  So...looking for a good heating pad, or even a heated doggie bed, for under my feet at the desk.

I'll be dragging my antique soapstone footwarmer out there!

And I WILL want the lovely rug that Joseph brought from Virginia in the winter, if we can get rid of the mildew's thick and padded and should help.  Lysol has some new sprays that aren't as ghastly institutional-smelling for mildew and we plan to try baking soda, too...

I moved my retro thermometer into the shed--this morning it was 40 degrees outside and 40 degrees inside, though it felt colder--buildings seem to hold the night's chill. (Finally let the furnace come on in the house last night!)

This little guy's not going to be up to the task, even though the walls and ceiling are insulated.  It managed to raise the temp 10 degrees in an hour and a half, at full blast.  (I used it all day yesterday and my feet were still cold...)

My buddy the blacksmith, Dennis Miles at Double Edge Forge, says they have two Lasko ceramic heaters...and they do a great job in his old farmhouse.  Definitely looking at that option, since they can be had with a timer as well as a thermostat.  We plan to use some sort of timer to turn on the heat about an hour before I'll be going out there, but a more efficient heater sounds like a good plan, too.

We have recycled single-pane windows, and the French door will be a heat loser, too...we plan to make removable storm windows for the two windows, and I'll use some sort of curtain over the one by the desk.  Years ago I made quilted roman shades in my LR that helped a lot...probably try something like that.  (It gets below zero here, from time to time.)

Weatherstripping around the doors will help, too...seems like a lot to do, but I like that sort of work.

Eventually, I hope to build a passive solar collector for the south side of the shed--I'd like it to be movable, so I can use it in winter, but not in summer's heat.  The shed has no windows on that side because the view was nothing but cars and houses and I wanted some privacy--as WELL as a place for the big bookcases, the desk and all, of course.  Perfect place for a simple heat could even vent into the AC's vent hole.

Wouldn't you know I just ditched an old Mother Earth News article about building just that.  Recycling is good and I desperately need to simplify my life (been big into Discardia lately!) but...well, I used to write for them a few decades ago, I'm sure I can find something...

Here's another blogger's small-house thoughts on insulation...good stuff--to which he added, HERE.

Meanwhile, we've been making a LOT of upcoming posts!


  1. You could get a small electric fireplace. We bought one last year for our master bedroom and it works great. I know one could easily heat your shed. They have a very realistic flame and would add a little charm to your shed as well. Here is a link to the one we purchased.

  2. Thanks, Mike, that IS a charmer. Friends of ours have an electric "woodstove," too--nice. We actually have a tiny woodstove, but not sure yet if it's going in, and how. I'm kind of wishing I'd had a baseboard heater like we used in the cabin put in when we were doing the wiring, now...

  3. Hi,
    I have been reading your blog and I am enjoying it a great deal. I was so pleased to discover it and 'recognize' you as being my favorite writer and artist in the old issues of Country Living Magazine. I even have to this day the article you made about your cabin in the woods with all the beautiful pictures of the inside. I have always kept the pages of your article because it made me dream. I found it very beautiful and enjoyed your paintings a lot. You have great talent.
    I would like to suggest you to get an oil-filled radiator heater. The oil is in there permanently and it works with electricity. It is extremely safe, economical, it is also attractive. They come on wheels and best of all they are completely silent and have an incorporated thermostats.
    Here is one link that might give you a better idea:
    I am French and I hope my writing in English was suitable.

  4. I am learning all kinds of things following this blog of yours. ;) You'll have to figure something out for winter. So disappointing that the insulation fell down under the flooring. :( I think you've had some great suggestions here for heaters. You still need an alarm with sound, too! Some kind of siren to make vandals mess their pants!! ;)

  5. Hi and thanks for the link (and the kind words!), Louise My cousin had an oil-filled heater years ago and we weren't terribly impressed with it, wonder if they've improved them since then. I'll have to check them out! I seem to need a blower...and you're writing is just fine, I'm glad you wrote!

  6. Hi Rita! We're trying out a timer on the little heater today...I'm anxious to see how it feels out there, and if it actually came on!

    I LOVE the idea of an alarm with sound!! YEAH. I've been reading Shedworks (fun book!) and I was surprised at how many people had alarms, serious locks, keypads and all...

    We can fix the falling insulation problem, we just need to DO it, or find someone to get under there for us...

  7. Kate: did some research on mold/mildew, it's a more complex problem than I thought. Unless you kill the organisms they keep proliferating and can infect even wood! Borax kills it, baking soda might get rid of the odor, but not the fungus/mold spores. Said to tamp into fibers after a good hard vacuuming, let it sit for a day or two, vacuum front and back of rug.
    Hope this helps.

  8. Thanks, Joan, I DID know the darn stuff comes back; we've fought it here ever since the '93 flood. Rubbing alcohol helps, too...but I guess not on a rug. (That works on leather, etc.) I'll try borax...

  9. I wonder why all that insulation fell off. What a pain. Too bad you couldn't jack up the whole shed to redo it but with the wiring and everything that won't work. I wonder what a layer of carpet foam would do under a room size rug.

  10. Hi Timaree...apparently the adhesive needs to be applied and the Styrofoam pressed into place, LEFT FOR A MINUTE, removed to off-gas, then replaced. Otherwise it eats into the Styrofoam. and eventually the bond fails. Fooey! When all else fails, READ THE DIRECTIONS. :-)

    We need to get under there and do it right this time...but it's a very small space and it's hard to work up the wannadoit.

    J. can add the needed plug-ins, he's very handy...just need time to do that, too!

  11. I LOVE your blog, all the pretty wooden details and your watercolors! Thanks so much for putting it out there!



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