Thursday, January 27, 2011

7 Essential Skills You Need for a DIY Remodel

1. A champagne budget, and beer tastes.
If you have loads of money and you're good at making inexpensive materials look like a million bucks, then you will go far in your home remodel. If, like me, you can make a $4000 granite countertop look like it was installed by blind one-armed monkeys, you probably should just rent.
2. An eye for thrift store stuff that can be repainted/covered/re-engineered to look like something far more expensive.
I bought an old folding screen and intended to cover it with Marimekko fabric and place it in the living room. After moldering on the carport for three years, that folding screen went out with the trash.
3. The ability to negotiate for a better deal.
I have the reverse of this, where you pay far more than something is worth just because you're too embarrassed to haggle and look like a cheapskate.
4. Basic carpentry, painting and power tool skills.
I once cut myself with a hammer. If something needs to be plugged in, I will either trip over the cord or stick a finger in the socket. But I can paint like a mother.
5. Patience.
As if. 
6. A willingness to go with the flow and take setbacks in stride.
I painted our new steel doors a couple of weeks ago. Problem is, I painted them high gloss to match the trim. Never do this. In fact, I knew not to do this but it's like my brain had taken a nap for the three hours while this was going on. So there I was, just mechanically painting and thinking about old Seinfeld episodes and musing over which character I liked best when really they're all equally unlikable, then suddenly I realized what I was doing and my brain screamed, "What the hell with the high gloss paint, you idiot?" Then I started crying and pretty much just did that for the next hour. Then I spent two days scraping the paint off the doors and repainting them with oil primer and flat paint in the wall color. The doors look fab, but I have developed a twitch whenever I look at them.
7. The ability to know when enough is enough, and just call the damn contractor already.


  1. Oh I miss you.
    Call the contractor. :D

  2. I can't remember where I was idly wandering when I came across this, but it made me laugh out loud. So, thanks.