Endsleigh specialise in Home Contents Insurance for people in the UK

Problem > Solution


The problem:

We’re paying out the nose to heat twice as much house as we need. We bought a big house (~2,200 sq. ft.) because we know we want a family someday, and we don’t want to have to skip from house to house as our family grows. There was some strategy to the decision. But right now it’s just the two of us, and I sometimes feel like complaining about our heat bills is a bit like a Hummer driver whining about gas prices. (Though not exactly the same because we’re saving something beautiful instead of building a McMansion… right?)

Meanwhile, we’re running out of money for renovations. With the new, doubled utility bill and a load of debt on our Home Depot card, we’ve called a moratorium on home fix-it purchases until we can catch up.

The solution:

Get a roomate!

Ok, not exactly a roomate. But our house has been split into two apartments in the past, and this could easily be done again. There’s a small kitchen upstairs (we call it the “craft room”), and a seperate side entryway for a renter. We aren’t planning to open our house to some stranger off the street, though. My younger brother, Cody, is currently living in an apartment that’s even more ghastly to heat then our house. He could use a new apartment, and we could use a reliable renter who won’t mind us barging in every now and then to do some fix-it work. It’s a match made in heaven, no?

We talked it over with him last night, and I think it’s a go. So, the kitchen has taken a backseat. We’re now on a quest to make the upstairs cozy without getting too much further in debt. I spent the last week removing hideous, nicotine-stained vinyl wallpaper from the future kitchen. This was an incredibly tedious job, since any useful tool ended up making holes and scratches in the surface below it. The only “tool” that worked was hot, soapy water and my fingertips. After a full week of peeling paper, I developed some type of dry rot that caused my fingertips to crack and bleed! Excellent.

This weekend we skim coated those walls and then sanded/primed them, so it’s looking better in there:

It definitely needs a good coat of paint, though.

Teague got to work fixing a hallway wall where I had torn down the crumbling plaster. We also removed a (very ugly) hollow sliding door that had been installed at the top of the staircase. With the door gone, it’s possible that Cody could fit his massive projection-screen tv up the stairs ;)

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Graham had this to say on 11.14.05:

Try bag balm for the cracked finger tips (been there done that). It’s a bit messy but it works.

mindy had this to say on 11.14.05:

Thanks for the tip, Graham. I managed to find this at CVS, in the cutest tin. I’m sure it’ll have many uses this winter.

I also wanted to note – the hot pink square you see in the photo above is a post-it. That’s just my way of marking where I have to go back and sand again. Handy!

Leah had this to say on 11.14.05:

Yeah sure, Mindy. We all know the hot-pink post-it is really there because that’s what color you’re considering painting the walls…just admit it!

Patrick had this to say on 11.14.05:

Not sure if this was Freudian or not, but your title reads “Problem greater than Solution.” Or at least that would be the situation IF my brother came to live with me :-)

LisaB had this to say on 11.15.05:

Hi – were you removing wall paper from plaster? My mom is facing this on the new (older) house we just bought – it’s covered in the loudest wallpapers ever but she’s worried that the paper is holding up the plaster. Any tips/insight?

mindy had this to say on 11.15.05:

LisaB –

The walls upstairs have some type of “NuWall” or similar product on them, and that’s what was underneath the vinyl wallpaper.

I have removed wallpaper directly from plaster, I won’t lie – it ended up being a bigger project than we had planned on. After we got the wallpaper off, some of the plaster came with it underneath windowsills and in easily damaged areas. There was lots of patching. BUT, it was definitely worth it. Just use a gentle touch ;)


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