The VPR Blog

The Housing Benefit Trap


Leeds bins

Before I wade in here, let me set out my values. I believe the State has the responsibility to protect the vulnerable in society and to ensure that they are adequately housed. I also believe that all state benefits should be “smart”, crafted to minimise distorting markets if and when such distortions create socially negative externalities.

Much is said about housing benefit engendering dependency and complacency amongst the unemployed. Less is mentioned about how housing benefit creates the same dependency and complacency amongst landlords. Or about the negative consequences that landlords' benefit calculations can have on inner-city neighbourhoods.

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Restoring Picture Rails

One of the easiest and most effective restoration projects in high ceilinged rooms is to reinstate the picture rail.

 Picture rail 800x534Picture rail serves two purposes in high ceilinged rooms. Firstly, it provides an elegant if slightly fussy way of hanging pictures without drilling holes into plasterwork.

Secondly, it gives decorators a cut off line between the colour on the lower wall and that on the frieze. This can allow for a second or, if there is also a dado rail, third wall colour.

Personally I always paint the frieze in white so it becomes an extension of the cornice and ceiling. That way you get lots of light-reflective white at the top of the room thus allowing for more adventurous darker colours on the lower wall.

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Restoring Period Ceilings

restored period ceiling

It is too easy to underestimate the work involved in restoring period ceilings. Justin Vogler looks at some tricks of the restoration trade.  

They add a mint to heating bills, attract dust, take days to decorate and even make changing light bulbs a challenge. Yet it is the grandiose high ceilings, replete with graceful cornices and trim picture rails, that set period properties apart and give them their distinctive elegance and charm.

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Vintage Property Restoration: The Wallpaper Curse

It is easy to overlook but stripping old wallpaper can add thousands to restoration costs.

You’ve at last found the right house. It’s in a state but you’ve worked out costs for the new kitchen and bathroom, new carpets, rewiring repointing and painting throughout. You’ve even remembered to include a wedge for paving the drive and doing the garden. What can go wrong?

Hopefully nothing, but if you’re looking at one of the many period house that has several generations of vintage wallpaper and/or woodchip on the walls and (even worse) the ceilings, you might be in for an expensive shock.

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