Need Money? Invent Something!
If you can come up with a product or service that you believe millions of homeowners absolutely must have, couldn’t this make you rich? For example:
- A nearby neighbor and his wife heard a terrible crash in the wee hours of the morning. They sat bolt upright in bed. They found their house guest, nude, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs. She was taken to the hospital with a broken pelvis and three cracked ribs. She had been sleepwalking.
- A 90-year-old cousin got disoriented in the night and fell down the stairs. He was lucky to come out unscathed.
- A dear friend of ours in Center City has an old townhouse with a couple of steep, narrow, winding stairs. She fell down the stairs and got banged up.
- Another elderly woman I know (in her 80s) was in Texas when she fell down a flight of stairs on the way to her granddaughter's wedding rehearsal dinner. Broke her pelvis in three places and was in hospital for two weeks.
In 1993, we bought a fixer-upper Philadelphia rowhouse built in 1817. We immediately hired my stepbrother—crackerjack architect and college professor David Elwell—to bring it into the coming century. In our opinion, his design was dazzling. We adore it—especially the garden room bathed in full sunlight all day throughout the winter.
Bathrooms are not en suite, but rather just outside the two bedrooms with steps down to reach them. Walk out of the bedroom on either floor, and just to the right is an unguarded opening to a steep, twisty staircase.
For 20 years, I was obsessed by the thought these stairs were a huge hazard.
Every time we had overnight guests, I would point out the danger of the steps and the staircase and warn them to be careful. A night-light is always left on in the bathroom, as was a light in the upstairs den, so they would not get confused in the dark.