Mr. and Mrs. DIY

Even though we love to DIY (or would that be DIO*?) around here, we haven’t done much to our house for about four years. There are a couple of good reasons for that: budget and burnout.

The burnout happened because we were going gangbusters on home improvements for a few years and then, after being forced to have our foundation repaired because our house was literally cracking up**, we repaired the giant cracks in the walls, repainted half the house, installed crown mouldings and baseboards in the living room and dining room, had our brand-new family room carpeting (which we put in right shortly before we got the foundation repair diagnosis) re-installed after the mudjacking and then cried Uncle. All of our spare time (and money) was being spent in DIY mode and not in STWK (Spending Time With Kids) mode.

We told the kids we were taking some time off from the house so we could pay more attention to them and then a few years flew by.

We have let things go. The pull-strings on one of the honeycomb blinds in our dining room broke after years of use and one overzealous pull (about four years ago). The mailbox grew old and rusty. The lights on the outside of the garage and the front porch suddenly look hopelessly 1980’s. The garden… (well, you know how we remedied that problem.) The master bathroom, which has always been my most-hated (only-hated, really) part of this house, still has the same salmon-and-white tiles and salmon-and-white swirled marble countertop (and salmon-colored walls: icky) that were installed when the house was built in 1969 and I’ve been wanting to gut it for years. In fact, we were going to gut it about eight years ago and then the foundation happened.

As of late? We’re getting DIY-itchy again. Jim installed a new, rust-free mailbox. We purchased exterior lights. This week I actually bought a set of curtains for the dining room so we can get rid of the one set of broken honeycomb blinds and–hopefully–use the good set on the kitchen window since those are broken too.

The bathroom? It’s getting more urgent. We often have to jiggle the faucet in the shower to get it to shut off completely and since we’ll need to get a plumber in here to fix that problem, we decided that it’s time to get to gutting.

Oh, did I mention that, other than the tub and the related plumbing there, we’re doing the rest of the bathroom ourselves? We’ll be replacing the icky linoleum floors with slate tiles, we’ll be painting over the salmon walls (I’m lobbying for a lovely green-gray), we’ll install the new stuff: shower doors, vanity cabinets, countertop, mirrors, a medicine cabinet, lighting, and window mouldings. As a whole, the project makes me nauseous because of all the possible ways it could go wrong, but when I look at the parts I know we’ve got this. We have a strong history of working together on the DIYs around here, and sometime in the next couple of months that salmon will–thankfully–be a part of my distant memory. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to repress it so far that I’ll never think about it again.

On second thought, I’ve never been one to count on luck alone. Maybe I need a Plan B.

*Do it ourselves.
**The foreman on the job, to me: “Congratulations! You will never have a home repair more expensive than repairing your foundation! Ever!” (Not covered by homeowner’s insurance, by the way.)


  • Heather

    I thought your house was so awesome & comfortable & welcoming when I was there last summer. Hopefully I can see it once this is all complete! I’d love to know all the changes first hand! Congrats- that’s a huge step and I’m excited for you guys!

  • kim/reluctant renovator

    Our big reno was to much for us to take on, but we decided to take on the house’s 2 original bathroom on our own. Result: 2 bathrooms are taking as long as the professionally managed and much more complex reno. In the end, might even take longer.
    Good luck. Where are the before pics??

  • Ally Bean

    We are always in a constant state of DIY here. We live where there are still new homes being built so to fall behind what is current is the kiss of death when it comes time to sell. Not that we’re planning on selling right now, but past experience has taught me to keep up or lose your value entirely.

  • Colleen

    Sickeningly, this post had me excited. I haven’t owned a home in a few years now, and its been several since moving out of our “fix everything upper”. I must have forgotten the sweat and tears that *can* come along with DIY. 🙂 Can’t wait to see your before and after pics of that bathroom!