I love old houses. I love the architecture, the history, the style; but you know what I don’t love? How ill equipped they are for super cold weather.

The original portion of our home was built in the early 30s and the bathroom/bedrooms were added on in the 40s. I love my character home so much but it does come with it’s challenges.

We are on day five of -20 to -30 C and our poor old house is not happy.

The original wood burning fireplace was taken out at some point in its life and our furnace is very old, weak, and loud. I’m so scared it’s going to give out on us.

Our foyer/laundry room is not attached to the heat and the pipes froze and the dog door has frozen shut (literally there is ice on the inside of the dog door).

the dog door after some serious deicing on Ryan’s part

Old houses don’t have garages. I wanted to plug in my car but old houses also don’t have outdoor electrical outlets.

Old houses have beautiful windows with crown moulding and one pane glass windows that allow a lot of cold in.

Old houses have real hard wood flooring which is so beautiful, but icy cold when you have a weak furnace.

But when all is said and done- I love my old house so much. We just had to make a few cold weather adjustments. I mean really, Southern Alberta doesn’t usually experience weather this cold for a sustained amount of time.

I thought I would share some tips on how we are staying warm at home.

Insulate your old windows

We have some old single pane windows that had ice forming on them- on the inside! The inside curtains will blow when the wind is heavy enough. It doesn’t look great, but we used insulation sheets to block the cold out of these windows. Luckily, these are side windows so only one neighbour sees them. I don’t think I could do this to the front facing windows.

Merry Christmas! Yes that window is insulated

Bring in Space Heaters

Our old furnace is working away but we had to bring in some reinforcements. We have an electric space heater to help heat the living area and we borrowed another to put in the foyer to unfreeze those washer pipes. The beauty with these is you can move them to whichever room you are in.

Simmer Soups

The best way to warm up that kitchen is to get cooking. I LOVE a hot stew on a cold day and the process of simmering it on the stove warms up my kitchen, making it an inviting place to be.

Bust out the blankets

After reading an article about the Norwegian concept of koselig (cozy) last year, I bought several warm and fuzzy throws. I fashion myself a blanket/gown using a belt which keeps me warm and keeps the blanket in place.

Heat Holder Socks!

Warm, fuzzy socks are essential to keep your feet off the cold hardwood floors and I am obsessed with my Heat Holders socks! They are uber thick socks that are 7x warmer than regular cotton socks. I find these are the only socks that actually make my feet HOT in these frigid temps. I have two pairs which I am alternating, but I need seven pairs- one for every day of the week.

Candles and lamps 

Besides the warm, cozy lighting candles and lamps provide, they also give off a little extra heat. My scented candles fill the room with delicious scents and make my house feel so pleasant (even when it feels like a fridge).


The couch and a thick, warm blanket feel really good but add in another person with their body heat and it’s awesome! Use the cold weather and your cold house as an excuse to snuggle up, the dogs love it!


I love red wine. I love it even more snuggled up with a blanket warming me from the inside out. Looking out the window at the snowy landscape while sipping wine is so relaxing!


People get really negative when cold weather kicks in. Ryan has been jump starting his work van every morning, my car barely kicks over and we’ve been waking up pretty cold; sounds like a great thing to complain about right? Nah. I think it’s funny! I laugh at the fact that we’re “living like pioneers” and I point out how cold the original builders of this home must have been without all the extras that we are using.

So if this cold weather has you feeling sad, turn that frown upside down. Do these tricks and just enjoy! Be grateful we live in heated homes with heated cars to get around and know that this is what living in the Great White North is all about!

toque and fleece indoors paired with heat holder socks, blanket and wine for the win!

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