Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Getting to actually getting started on your DIY project.

Unless you're totally isolated from any type of mass media pushing DIY, design, or fantastic gardens, you probably have a list at least the length of your arm of things you would like to do........you would have to be living under a rock to not have something in mind. 

HGTV and DIY channels, Houzz and Pinterest websites... heck these alone could easily fill your "to do" list with ideas and possible plans.  Throw in monthly subscriptions to Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, Country Living, Urban Living, Ranch Living, Mountain Cabin Living, Beach Living, Lake Living, Barely Living, Walking Dead Living (hey.... Zoombies can have dreams), you can reach idea overload in a nanosecond. 

So where to begin.  First off I strongly suggest that you preform a "self evaluation" and a reality check.  If you have problems hanging a picture on the wall level, I'm betting that gutting the bathroom is a quantum leap.

I got a call late one night from the wife of a friend.........her first words were HELP!  It was a Sunday night, and Gina (have changed the names to protect the innocent) between tears and almost uncontrollable laughter described total chaos........David (again, have changed the names to protect the disillusioned) had this great idea to surprise Gina with a renovated bathroom while she was gone on a business seminar for the week. 

Now David is one of those guys who has great dreams and aspirations of being this "manly man" with the coordinated tool belt and work gloves, able to fix things and create home projects that will end up in one of those media outlets for sure.  Truth is, David took 6 hours to hang 3 photographs and then still didn't get them level like he wanted.

When I got there, his first words were "they made it look so easy on that show and did it in 2 days over the weekend, I had a whole week."  Gina left the bathroom to get another of what I gathered was one of many already consumed bracers. The least she could have done was offer me one.

Step No. 1 of Getting Started - Be realistic.  Home Improvement TV shows are staged. They aren't real, they're condensed vignettes of a whole host of activity and trades that aren't all that interesting to watch as they do the nitty gritty portions of the project.  Trust me, nobody wants to see Plumber Bob's butt crack on wide screen HD TV as he struggles to crack free a frozen supply line nut that ends up with the line breaking, him cussing and scrambling to get out of the steady stream of water soaking him that he thought had been cut off...........it doesn't make for good viewing except on America's Funnest Videos.  

The realities are those shows are staffed with a whole host of workers, from Designers who have worked weeks on the plans and ideas to the craftsman who have taken those plans and turned them into physical elements long before the cameras or host every arrived on the site.

Be realistic and honest about your skills, limitations, resources (materials, time, equipment, etc., etc..) and most important, your budget.  I always advise my friends or clients that when it comes to a renovation or remodeling project, that once you've figured your scope, schedule and budget........double it and that's going to be pretty close to what the big adventure ends up being.

Next posting, I'll discuss Step No. 2 of Getting Started - Forging the plan of success.

Oh BTW........Gina and David are still married, the bathroom was completed over the next week and the only thing it cost David was another week of vacation time and a life time worth of Gina not letting him forget it.........and he had to surrender his coordinated tool belt and gloves.  Turns out Gina is more coordinated, swings a mean hammer, looks better in the tool belt and David is getting pretty good at cooking.


  1. Poor Gina and David! I feel their pain. One year my mother went to visit her mother, and my father gutted the kitchen. Not one to spend a fortune on materials, he covered solid wood cabinets with plastic laminate and retiled the countertops with narsty yellow tile. I would have killed him!

    1. Spontaneity can be a good thing in some instances ...... intimacy, art, photography are just some of the areas that come to mind where a spontaneous idea can lead to some surprising results.....remodeling or renovation work is rarely found in that category. A good or successful project is the result of realistic goals, an honest assessment of the required skills and thorough planning.......bet your mother was surprised.