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Archive for July, 2013

I’m a DIY failure

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Please let this blog post serve as an official WARNING. HGTV, DIY and all the other home decorating channels flooding our cable and satellite feeds are setting us up to fail. They are probably a scam thought up by contractors to send people running into their capable arms, willing to pay anything to fix self-inflicted DIY disasters. (For anyone not totally down with the lingo, DIY is Do It Yourself…and it’s a crock of shit.)
Case in point: after way too many hours spent watching these shows where homeowners, with a little guidance from a peppy host and a hottie carpenter, completely renovate their homes while grandma takes the kids to dinner, I decided that with $100 at the hardware store and some good old fashioned hard work, I could transform my kids’ bathroom from a drab, ugly space into something fresh and new. In my mind, it was going to quickly and easily go from being the wart at the end of the hall to a shining beacon of light summoning all to come on down and have a quick pee.
So, just to set the stage – the previous bathroom was a lot of an exceptionally ugly tile that is somewhere between khaki and olive green (which I am stuck with because I know I’m not up to re-tiling). The cabinets were painted a drab off-white. The walls were painted a different, but equally drab shade of cream.
My improvement vision started with a navy and white striped shower curtain. I decided that navy blue cabinets would make the tile into something retro and hip, not just yet another outdated decorating failure from the ’60s. I ran it by Hubby #1.
me: “I’m thinking of painting the cabinets in the kids’ bathroom navy blue.”
Hubby #1: “No. We’ve spent a fortune on the family room.”
Oh, wait…did I forget to mention that we’re about two months and a nausea-inducing amount of money into a total renovation of our family room?
me: “No, no, no…I’m going to do it! I’m done a lot of research and I know exactly what I’m doing.”
Hubby #1 (with the memory of an elephant), “Like the laundry room cupboards at the old house?”
me: “I didn’t know what I was doing then, but I do now.”
Hubby #1, “Fine…but cabinets only.”
I’m on my way! And, let’s be honest, when I send HGTV my before and after pictures, they’re probably going to give me my own show, so this $100 at the hardware store and good old fashioned hard work is a small investment into what is probably the start of a Kirsten Sawyer DIY empire.
Day #1: I’m excited and I wake up early. I get to work meticulously prepping the room with pink painters tape (probably specifically designed for girl suckers like me who think they know what they’re doing). Things start off smoothly, but once the cabinets are primed, the walls look even dingier than before.
I think we all know what that means…the walls need to be painted!
Back to the hardware store!
As soon as I start “cutting in” the top of the first wall I realize what an incredibly bad idea it is to paint the walls. I flash back to our first condo where we spent every cent to buy the place and then had to paint it ourselves. It was pure misery that ended with a shitty looking condo. It was too late though. Sadly, DIY bathroom projects don’t have a much needed Undo command.
Night #1: I have to admit to Hubby #1 that I started painting the walls…and it’s not going well.
Day #2: The “navy” paint for the cupboards is more like a darkish blue than actual navy. It isn’t my vision and it doesn’t match the inspiring shower curtain.
Night #2: I have to admit to Hubby #1 that the cupboards aren’t actually navy. He points out that the walls I thought I was done with actually have pretty poor coverage in a lot of areas.
Day #3: The blue (not navy) cupboards are still quite sticky. How long does it take paint to dry? I decide to remove the painters tape from the tile seam at the top of the cabinet and the entire top of blue paint peels off like the face mask I should have been spending my time doing. I repaint the top of the cabinets.
Night #3: Hubby #1 points out that I have painted half the ceiling in “semi-gloss” paint and half in “eggshell” paint.
Day #4: The cabinets are less sticky. Less sticky enough I decide to put on the fabulous diamond shaped drawer knobs I found that match the diamond shape texture in the ugly tile. The screws that the knobs came with are too short for my cupboards.
Back to the hardware store!
For some reason, three of the replacement screws are slightly longer than the others. Too long for my knobs. I manage to find two washer type objects around the house to make them work. There is one drawer that is still knobless. I am embarrassed to go back to the hardware store, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this.
Day #5: I hang up the inspiring shower curtain that doesn’t match the cabinets but decide that I don’t care. I like the shower curtain! I move the kids’ junk back into the room, but arrange it on a cute white and navy metal tray. Except for the missing knob, I’m pretty happy with the room. And now with the bathroom looking nice, the hallway looks a little dingy.
It turns out DIY projects are a little like childbirth. When you’re in the throes of it, it’s the worst thing ever and between curse words you vow to never be tricked again, but once all is said and done, you’re open to giving it another go. I’ve been through childbirth three times…
I guess that means it’s back to the hardware store!