How Do I DIY?


So, we bought a house, you see. It’s really cute.  Lots of space, a yard with a garden, even a shed in the backyard. I really like it.

But I don’t know what to do with it.

Like the paint.  The previous owner liked very pale wall colors.  So pale that I sit there, staring intently at the walls trying to figure out if they’re actually pained a color or the pinkish hue is just a trick of the light. That’s not what I’m looking for in a paint job.  I’d like some more personality.  After upmteen years of renting, I have seen enough beige walls to feel strongly that I never want indeterminate wall colors around me again.  I want Bold! I want Daring! I want Color! What Color?  I don’t know.  Just some Color.  Of paint.  That I would get at a paint store, right?  And apply using rollers and those slanted pans? And that blue tape!  I need some of that! Wait?  Do I need drop clothes?  Or can I just spread newspaper on the floor? Oh hell.  This is really complicated and maybe I can live with super pale pink walls in my guest room after all.

No.  I am a grown woman with years and years of education, some of it actually in painting (I was a theatre major and got credit for painting sets. Yes, my college education was more fun than yours.). The only thing standing between me and walls that I actually like looking at is fear of home improvement. I mean, whats the worst that can happen with something as simple as painting? I get paint on the rug?  The rug in my guest room is fugly.  Paint might be an improvement. I should just go for this, right?

Right .  You’re right.  I can totally paint a room.  In fact, I WILL paint a room.  And when I do I’ll blog about it. And post pictures.  because now that I’ve confronted my fear and remembered that I actually did pretty well at scenery painting in college, I feel pretty confident that I can walk into Home Depot this weekend and walk out with a bucket full of happiness and maybe some handy flyers with instructions just in case I was drunk in college and don’t remember all the finer details of painting.

So we’re good on painting.  But what am I supposed to do about THIS?

That is my kitchen.  And yes, the wallpaper is plaid.  Green and red plaid. How do I get it off there?  Seriously.  I want it off so my kitchen walls stop looking like the Ghosts of Christmas Bleah. I actively dislike being in my kitchen because of this, which is tragic because it gets wonderful light all morning and into the early afternoon.  But the wallpaper is depressing, ugly and peeling a bit at the seams.  Which makes me want to yank on it HARD and see what happens. But I know enough to know that yanking won’t get it all down.  I asked a friend who knows about such things and she used words like “steamer” and “scorer”.  Do I get those in the same place at Home Depot that has the drop cloths and blue tape? This was not covered in college, even in the classes that covered painting.

Then there’s our upstairs shower which is the size of a phone booth and appears to be one of those prefab things that installs in one piece.  The Great Guy I Married commented on how little he liked it at our walk through the day we closed on this place and our realtor said it was easy to replace a shower like that.  Great!  But…um…how? Is it like Ikea furniture that can all be assembled and disassembled with an allen wrench? Or do I need a professional plumber?

And we’d like give up part of our front lawn and put in a driveway. Is there a driveway store?

How about refinishing hardwood floors? You know, the ones under my fugly guest room carpet? Does Home Depot have a flyer on that?

And we want a dishwahser but we were told we need a new electrical outlet and the guy we talked to can do that but he has to cut into the basement ceiling and that means more painting.  And spackle.

(leans head on desk)

You know what I need?  Not home improvement help.  I need homeowner improvement help. Because clearly? This is going to be a looonnnnggggg process.

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10 comments for “How Do I DIY?

  1. April 9, 2010 at 9:49 am

    If it makes you feel better, I have a guest bathroom that has pink tiles… all up the walls. And the toilet, shower, and sink are… GRAY. Yeah. I didn’t even know they made toilets in that hue. And we’ve lived there for two years now but neither me nor Husband knows what the hell to do with it. We did paint the walls above the tile green to give it a fun watermelon feel. Before that, they were … GRAY. Ugh. Being a homeowner is hard work.

  2. April 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Painting and spackling are easy. Wallpaper removal sucks, but if you don’t do it right with the steamer and scorer, you could kill the wall underneath. I don’t replace showers myself or do any electric. I’ll get electricuted or drown. There’s nice people for driveways. There’s even nice people that will dig up your yard, but they may not be the same nice people that do driveways.

    My entire house has cafe au lait colored walls. I’m so stinking tired of the color, but I really don’t want to paint until I get rid of a couple of kids and put the house up for sale, so that I can move into town and walk to cute little pubs for a beer.

  3. April 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

    And while we’re enjoying our beer, we can call contractors, give them jobs, and stimulate the economy. yay! Another reason for beer!

  4. April 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

    But you will be so happy watching the transformation!!! We did this with our old house and it looked amazing after we got done with it! Be sure to take lots of before and after pics!!!!

    Oh, and don’t score the walls too hard. #rookiemistake

  5. April 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I have no idea how to paint.

    It’s why we’ve never even tried it.

  6. April 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Yay for the theater major! If you can handle hell week, you can handle home improvements. Just take it one project at a time, and hire the professionals when you need them. Especially for electrical. Don’t ask me why I say this, just trust the knowledge earned through experience. Good luck!!

  7. thenextmartha
    April 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Get ready to learn all sorts of fun stuff. You might hear yourself saying “where is the wall? “only to find that it is on back of that wallpaper you just tore off. Paint? Do yourself a favor and go to Sherwin Willims and buy their whole paint deck of colors. Yes you can buy this and you’re welcome. Finally, no matter what DIY you read add 5 extra steps that are not included and 1 1/2 hours to whatever time they suggest it will get done in. Good luck and have fun.

  8. April 13, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    SO I am playing catch-up and a few days behind. The painting thing is easy-peasy…just do it. Pick a room that isn’t used much so that you can use it to learn the tricks that people can tell you, but they never quite work the first time you try it. As far as everything else? That is what Angies List is for. 🙂

  9. April 15, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Many thnks for writing such a fascinating post. All too often you see the same thing over and over so this makes a refreshing change.

  10. May 14, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I find myself coming to your blog more and more often to the point where my visits are almost daily now!

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