How not to design a cabin for winter

The front of the Secret Lair peaks at 14′, which in addition to making for a mighty peculiar-looking structure in a 12×16 cabin can also make heating the thing in the morning a gradual matter. There were reasons for doing it, of course: It permitted a 6×12 sleeping loft, and also encourages venting through the loft windows during the hot months. But it’s a disadvantage in winter and shouldn’t be done for laughs. When I first wired the place I did rig a ceiling box and wall switch for a ceiling fan, as well as space over the Lair’s vestpocket bathroom for the blades. But I went quite a long time without one not so much because of cost but because the electrical system wasn’t initially up to running one even on sunny days. Providentially I inherited a big fan with a cracked housing from a neighbor who was scrapping it at roughly the same time I got my current scrounged but much expanded battery bank. So running the fan before sunrise is no longer a ridiculous thing to do, and the years-long problem of the Lair’s absurdly high ceiling is now largely compensated for.


It was overcast all night so never got cold at all – but I was still able to bump up the indoor temperature 20o in an hour. That used to take much longer on the rare mornings I accomplished it at all. I tend to be scrooge-like about fuel, since at some subjective point it’s easier to just put on a sweater.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How not to design a cabin for winter

  1. M.Silvius says:

    As you only use your loft as storage these days, wouldn’t a trapdoor over your loft access keep the heat downstairs where you wanted it? I am thinking a piece of two inch thick foam insulation there would do the trick and is easy to shove aside when you need to go up there. In winter a cold loft might just provide convenient in house refrigeration for perishables and beer as well.

  2. Joel says:

    The whole railing side of the loft is open as well.

  3. John H Brooks says:

    A false ceiling? Or a field fix tarp and paracord arrangement and triple wall stovepipe arrangement to trap initial hot air? Just for winter.

  4. M.Silvius says:

    Ah OK , somehow I had missed that image. Would it be difficult to create a ceiling and partition the loft off?

  5. Joel says:

    Not impossible, but still probably more trouble than it’s worth. The ceiling tapers to eight feet on the south side, so even with all that height it’s not a huge amount of cubic footage.

To the stake with the heretic!