D.I.Y. Girl

014I’m kind of a D.I.Y. girl. I’m the one who will paint her own walls, install backsplashes, sand cabinets, frame pictures, hang curtains, select valances, hammer in chair rails. I draw the line at laying carpeting and tile, but I’ve created my own topiary over a wall fountain, sponge-painted my fireplace, and sanded and stained several cabinets and bookcases.

I do a lot of this with help, of course. Superman’s really not into it, but my dad is. (That’s probably where I get all this!). My dad has spent the last 13 years coming over here and helping us install ceiling bookcases, entire sprinkler systems, brick patios (Superman and my dad laid our entire patio), fixing water pipes, and installing hallway railings.

The thing is, most of this work was done … well, about 10 to 13  years ago! When we first moved in, we spent a whirlwind three years doing everything inside the house. I painted every single room. We installed lighting and hung pictures and measured out windows for curtains everywhere. We’ve redone a few rooms over the years — mostly the kids’ bedrooms — but for the most part, it looks about the same.

And now … well, now it’s looking a little “old.” And remember when I said that after I was sick, I felt like the “house was falling apart”? Well, I also just finished my novel around that time, and I slowly realized that the “house is falling apart” because I’m coming out of a three-year fog of writing every weekend! I realize how much I’ve neglected it. The walls look chipped and nicked and faded; the upstairs flooring looks atrocious. Needless to say, the house needs a facelift.

So last weekend (since I didn’t have the novel to work on anymore!) I revisited my old life of being a D.I.Y. girl. I had white paint color-matched (a challenge, I tell you — ecru? tortilla? sand? snow?) and trucked off from Lowes to start a few “updating” projects. I started with the stairway and hallway, which were looking really bad after years of boys’ hands trailing up the stairs toward baths and showers. I was back to my old routine of paint tape and paint stirrers and plastic drop-cloths and removing switchplates. I had dried paint all over my hands and arms. It felt good, though.

Years ago, our move into this home (and my subsequent whirlwind of home improvements) coincided with my gig at the newspaper writing feature stories for decorating publications. So I would watch HGTV all day, get loads of ideas, then translate all the trends into new articles, from stories about tin ceilings to articles about ottomans. I wrote dozens of home-improvement stories a quarter. It was really fun — I loved researching it all, and interviewing the experts. (Then deciding which things I wanted to try in my house.) I’m the one who has loads of decorating books on the shelves — I particularly love the Pottery Barn ones — along with several magazines about home improvement and gardening.

I almost feel now like I’m starting from scratch, but I have a long list already of things I need to tend to around the house now that the book is done. I need to replace screens, re-paint the hallway, fix some of the baseboards, replace the carpeting, replace the sink handles in the upstairs baths, etc. It’s a long, long list. But now that I’ve emerged from my novelist’s fog, I think I’m up for it. It’s fun to be a D.I.Y. girl again.

How about you? Do you do your own home improvements? Have you hit the “second round” (or the “10-year itch”) as I’m starting to? What’s the home-improvement project you’ve tackled that you’re most proud of?

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0 thoughts on “D.I.Y. Girl

  1. Much like your husband, I don’t necessarily have the DIY gene. If you need someone to watch 14 straight hours of college football on a Saturday, I’m your guy. But the DIY… not so much.

    That said, every now and then I get brave enough to try something. But, being the commitment-phobe I am, whatever project I take on isn’t permanent in nature. Shelving on the wall for extra storage? Nope, I use a Metro wire shelving unit instead because it’s portable, and more importantly, easily removed. I think my commitment phobia will always keep me from really getting into DIY projects.

    I’m not the least bit surprised that you, and millions of other women around the country are into DIY. It’s yet another creative outlet for you, and as your children grow it’s still a nesting activity for you. This is why places like Lowe’s and the Home Depot are trying to attract women to their stores.

  2. I am so jealous…I want a mentor so I can learn to do all those things. I am actively in the process of looking at homes to buy and so many of them need work. I don’t mind the work but I do mind not having the know-how~!

    Have fun with all your projects, Tool Gal Mizwrite.

  3. Sadly I am not of the same DIY mold as my wife. I do, however, enjoy her finished product.
    There is a disconnect I think in our house. To my wife, the weekends are for getting things done-God bless her! To me it’s time to relax from working all week; hence the paint chip and bad carpet, etc. I love her though and will do anything for her-just don’t ask me to DIY…

  4. Dave — You’re right on target (again, as usual!). I DO think I use it as a creative outlet, and it’s also a clear sense of “nesting.” Because whenever I do a project, I think “the kids are going to feel comfortable here” — it’s a weird thought, because my kids (obviously) don’t care if I paint the hallway white! But in the back of my mind, I have this sense of “comfort” — that even if they don’t consciously acknowledge it, they will feel “comfortable” in this house if it’s generally pulled together and organized. (And trust me, right now it’s NOT!) So nesting, yes it is. … You and Lowes and Home Depot are smart to zero in on that!

    Kat — Ooooh, looking for a home to buy? That’s exciting! Well, D.I.Y. can be a lot of fun, especially the decorating part. It does help to have a mentor for things you feel uncomfortable with (my dad was great for things that involved pick axes or drills!). But if you embark on some of this, let me know, and I’ll see if I can pull out some of my old resources for you!

    Chris — Well, you do help with things when you set your mind to them! 🙂 You did lay the entire patio with Dad, and built our planter all by yourself. I think I just have to give you plenty of advance notice!

  5. I too am a DIY girl! I absolutely LOVE to paint and have transformed every home I have lived in! I love the whole planning, shopping and final outcome of it all! We have been in our current home for 9 years now and I have painted and re-painted every room at least twice. I have even gutted and re-modeled a couple of them (I had help with that though). My husband is great at the “heaving lifting” and helping out, but like Chris, needs advance notice. He is usually more content on leaving things alone than I am. I love when he goes away for a long weekend snowmobiling or back to PA by himself…he always comes home to a “While You Were Out” episode!! I wish I was in CA, I’d come and help you 🙂

  6. Pingback: WHEN D.I.Y. GOES HORRIBLY WRONG … « Mizwrite’s Blog

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