1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cardboard Window Treatments

Last night as I sat on the couch with my smoochies (thats code for "cats" at our house), I had a moment of inspiration.

The living room has three windows, one directly behind the sofa. I noticed as I curled up under two blankets and two cats, my shoulders still kept getting chilly. You know, as if they were being hit with an artic blast from behind.

Suddenly, I realized the WINDOW was to blame. Duh. Then I remembered the first winter of our marriage when we lived in a little shack with gas space heaters. The heaters were both in the living room (handy, huh?), and Alistair would misbehave at night, so we had to shut the bedroom door. Then we would just about freeze to death. Every time the wind blew, you could feel it coming through the windows.

Finally one night we got fed up, and because we were broke and it was the middle of the night, we used DUCT TAPE to attach flattened cardboard boxes over the windows. Then we tacked up blankets over that. Very chic.

Remembering this charming arrangement gave me the idea to get a set of heavy drapes for the winter. Why didn't I think of this before?

Today, I ordered velvet drapes in "Cappuccino" from Target. Hey, free shipping, and they're MUCH cheaper than the Pottery Barn versions, even the Pottery Barn via eBay versions. They're shorter than I wanted, but they'll do.

The living room is the place we spend the most time in the evenings, and I think covering up these three enormous windows will warm the room up considerably. Especially while we figure out what to do about insulating. Hey, if it blocks enough cold, we might be able to put off insulating until next year.

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amanda said...

Last January, our first year in an old house, it started getting really cold (like lows of 8-9F) we were having trouble keeping the house above 58F in the rooms with lots of windows. Like you, I went on a huge window-treatment buying spree, buying Roman shades or blinds for all of the rooms in the house (prior to that, we had no window treatments at all). This made a noticable difference in the drafty-ness (a word?) of the rooms. I also made some cute, cheap draft dodgers for the worst windows by stiching a layer of thin batting between two pieces of quilting cotton, all cut slightly longer than the crack I wanted to cover, then stitching along the long side and the bottom and turning inside out to make a long tube, sealed on one end. I filled 3/4-7/8 of the way to the top and then folded the top over and stitched it closed. This was much cheaper than the draft dodgers sold at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I could use any fabric I wanted to make them match the decor. I plan to make several more this year. We'll be interested to hear what you decide about insulation. Like you, our attic is totally uninsulated, and we're worried about heating costs. We'd like to finish off the attic one day, so we want to make sure our insulation choices don't cause us problems in the long run (i.e. damage wood, etc.). We'll stay tuned!

6:47 PM  
kk said...

In our TV room we have huge windows which have also been giving us the cold shoulder this month. Yesterday I ran out and bought velvet curtains from Bed, Bath and Beyond for the same reason. We are also going to put the plastic up over them because in Minnesota you have to get really serious about these things.

9:32 PM  
Chris said...

I bought some insulated curtains for our house also. I'm hoping it cuts down on the wind blowing through the room.

1:47 PM  
Lenise said...

Yeah, vinyl replacement windows are just not adequate. I made some curtains for my living room, though they're hardly velvet, or even lined. But they're toile, they were pretty cheap, and I got to make them the length I wanted. The only hard part was hemming the inside seams by hand. Anyway, I'm sure yours will insulate better!

7:36 PM  
Lenise said...

Hmm... and let us know how they contend with the cat fur! I guess if you're disciplined about such things, you could vaccuum them every week and they'd probably look fine. I, on the other hand, am only vaccuuming 'cuz a bunch of complete strangers may be looking at my house with a critical eye very soon. They'll have plenty to criticize!!

7:40 PM  
Anonymous said...

When I lived in a drafty 1930s brick house, during the winter I'd sleep in the smallest room in the house with a convection space heater (they don't make noise,have no exposed heating elements). The floor furnance just didn't do the trick, even though it was tiny house. Thankfully, winter in Texas only lasts a short month.

I'm sure your curtains will help.

– Texas T-bone

9:11 AM  
mindy said...


I've put curtains up all over the house - our windows are vinyl replacements. They're not terribly drafty, but I figure it certainly can't hurt!

I like the velvet ones, very swanky :)


10:57 AM  
Sloan House said...

What are the length of the drapes from Target? I don't see any dimensions on the website. I need some drapes for 84" long windows.


11:36 AM  

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