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Staying Warm

Updated: Feb 11

(Originally published in the Napa Valley Register)


I recently ran into an old client who said, “I’ve been thinking about you every day!” I didn’t know what was coming next. Referring to this cold weather, he said that every morning as he steps onto his bathroom floor, he is reminded of my suggestion to install a warm floor system during his remodel. I understand that to some, this may seem like a frivolous luxury. But this client’s house was located in a fog belt, facing east with the back treacherously close to a hillside that blocked the afternoon sun. And, his 1970s bathroom was over an open carport in a poorly insulated house. In other words, his interior environment was chilly virtually year round - which is why I had campaigned for the warm floor.


So, you may be expecting me to describe how grateful he is every morning as his feet are met with warmth and comfort, programmed to the perfect temperature. Sadly, this is not the case. Instead, they are met with cold regret. I should have campaigned harder.


When undergoing a remodel, there are constant choices and adjustments to be made. In nice weather, when many of these projects are done, anticipating cold mornings is not foremost on one’s mind. It’s easy to forego this option to save a little money. On average, these systems cost about $16 a square foot and about $200 for the programmable rheostat. Relative to the project, this may or may not be a huge investment.


There are a few different manufacturers on the market. I prefer the dual-wire systems made in the U.S. I also like to order two sensors (roughly $15) using one as a backup. If there is ever an electrical fault in the future, you can switch sensors instead of demolishing your floor. I can’t say that the monthly energy cost to run the system is pennies, but it is extremely inexpensive. I’ve also heard from other clients that when their feet are warm, they tend to run their central heaters less often. Given my client’s story, it might be worth giving this some consideration should the opportunity arise.


Another way to help you stay warm is with double-pane windows. I’m sure you already know this but the type of window covering you choose can also affect your interior temperature. When it comes to soft treatments like fabric shades and draperies, using thermal lining is a good choice. A thermal lining, by the way, is different than a black out lining which is thick and stiff. Thermal lining helps to keep the heat in during winter months and heat out during summer months. But still, not all fabrics are conducive to this type of lining since sheerness, drape, and body are all affected.


Speaking of fabric, flannel bed sheets are nice but fleece sheets are even better! I don’t understand the thermal dynamics, but for some reason, fleece does not overly heat your skin. I’ve even used them during Napa summers because I like their soft texture so much.


Speaking of fabric, flannel bed sheets are nice but fleece sheets are even better! I don’t understand the thermal dynamics, but for some reason, fleece does not overly heat your skin. I’ve even used them during Napa summers because I like their soft texture so much.


Here’s another simple tip: On a chilly day, stand in front of your exterior doors. If cold air is coming in, replace the weather strips.


My favorite way of keeping my lap warm is with a cat. Admittedly, pets are not design elements but they can definitely enhance a home. If you’re an animal lover and if you can (really, really can) care for a pet, think about adopting a furry friend.


Straying even further afield from home design, my last tip is one that can warm your heart. This is an especially nice time of year to help out a non-profit organization. One of my favorites in town is Community Action of Napa Valley (CANV). You can see all the wonderful work they do by visiting their website at www.canv.org.


Happy and healthy holidays to you – and stay warm!

#patticowger #plcinteriors #napavalley #napaca #interiordesigner #workingwithadesigner #furniture #remodeling #designbuild #demystifyingdesign #warmth #heater #insulation #warmfloors #bathroom #remodel #carport @schluter #tile #doublepanewindows #thermal #thermallining #winter #flannel #fleecesheets #lapcat #weatherstripping @canv #nonprofit @naparegister

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