Saturday, October 9, 2010
While anything that adds to the comfort and energy efficiency of my house is beautiful, there really are different kinds of beauty. There's the kind that's functional and adds immeasurably to one's life (Ah! What a beautiful piece of machinery!), and then, there's the kind that's pleasing to the eye (What a beautiful sunset!).
Sometimes, it's both.
One of our biggest goals for the past few years has been to increase the efficiency of our household. Bringing the numbers down has become our favorite game. We're constantly challenging ourselves and each other to see how low we can go - and it's with everything: kilowatts used, miles driven, water usage, discretionary spending.
Sometimes, though, the needs conflict. For instance, to lower our overall water usage, we had to invest in rainbarrels, which increased our discretionary spending for that month.
Of course, when it comes to bringing the numbers down, I'd rather increase our discretionary spending for a one-time expenditure and have it result in a smaller monthly payment, because if our goal is to, eventually, achieve some sort of self-sufficiency (which means quitting outside jobs), we need to reduce our monthly bills.
Remodeling Big Little Sister's room has been on the to do list for several years, but has been tabled over and over again by those little things that crop up. We've known about some issues in that room for a long time. We had an energy audit a few years ago. Really, what we had was not an "energy audit" as much as it was a guy with an infrared camera telling us where there was heat loss in our house, and one of the areas that showed a significant loss was in the walls in Big Little Sister's room.
We've been talking for a long time about what we want to do. I want to take advantage of the lack of insulation in the walls and build a cold closet in there, but that would take away from the small space that she already has, and so we won't be doing that. I also plan to pull up the carpeting (not just from that room, but from that room *first*) and replace it with something that can be maintained with a broom and a mop.
We don't have the cash to pull up the carpet and replace it AND insulate all of the walls, and since our heat is already free, the bigger savings, over time, will be to replace the carpet (so that we won't need to use electricity vacuuming and shampooing the rug).
But we want the room to be comfortable.
And so I devised a different solution than tearing out all of the walls and adding insulation.
There was a time when beautiful tapestries were the *only* insulation, and it's a shame that they fell out of favor, because ... isn't it gorgeous?
This tapestry is actually a blanket that my uncle purchased for me when I was ten. It's too small for me to use as a blanket on my own bed, and my girls have down comforters which they prefer. It just seemed a shame to keep it tucked away in a closet. Big Little Sister liked the idea of the tapestry on the wall in her room, and I think it looks awesome with the paint color she chose.
When we get the carpet removed and the floors refinished, this room will look amazing, and the tapestry will help keep it warmer.
What I'm most proud of, though, is that I didn't have to buy something to find a solution. It was right there under my nose all of the time, and I love when I'm able to fix a problem using what we already have.