Gah! I am currently sitting on my bed with my iMac precariously balanced whilst trying to type up this post after painting myself in to my bedroom for the next eight hours. Oh, the joys of DIY! I don’t have anything pretty to share this week so I thought I would give you a glimpse into the chaos around here instead – makes for a nice change, no? Kitchen is almost done, just tiling and door handles to change. Sitting room is half painted and floor is half painted, too. Jules and Otto have gone to stay with his mum for a week so I can crack on with it all (floor painting and Otto do not mix, believe me!).
I wish I could afford to pay someone else to do all our home improvements but we are able to do it ourselves, we have the time, we have the flexibility and between us we have the know-how so somehow it seems like a huge luxury to pay someone else to do it for us. However, there are times when I’m covered in paint or the whole flat is filled with sawdust that I wish I was anywhere but here. Although, there are a few things that I have learnt along the way that make DIY so much easier and less chaotic that I will share with you, too.
Are you ready for the ugliest photos this blog has ever seen?
Tip 1: Don’t freak out!
When the new work tops arrived I burst into tears. In isolation and before they had been oiled I worried that the wood looked too pink and I was terrified that I’d wasted a huge amount of money on something I didn’t like. However, as soon as the worktops were installed and I could see them in context they are exactly what I wanted. It is far too easy to panic when you are doing home improvements that something isn’t right. However, until you have put the whole room together it is far too difficult to tell whether you have made a mistake so don’t freak out prematurely!
Tip 2: Prepare practical stuff
I knew that there would be a few days without a cooker, hob, sink, plumbing for the washing machine and dish washer. Therefore, I cooked some meals that could be frozen and then heated in the microwave so we didn’t go hungry. As well as that I did all the laundry before we began and got the bath set up for washing up (back breaking, I tell you!).
Tip 3: Don’t get carried away!
On the first weekend of our DIY endeavours we fitted the smaller of the two worktops. It all went pretty smoothly and without much disruption. However, after waiting until the next weekend to do the other side of the kitchen we both got a bit carried away and rushed into starting the work without preparing as much as we should have done. Jules was ready to get going and asked me to clear out the cupboards and instead of doing that job properly I rushed it and didn’t bother packing everything into boxes. Instead I just heaped it onto our table and onto the floor. Such a silly mistake – the second worktop required far more cutting and the amount of sawdust was out of control! Every single thing that I didn’t bother packing into boxes got covered and very quickly it all became pretty chaotic. Our over exuberance to get started on that second weekend actually slowed us down in the long run.
Tip 4: Plan time carefully
I think it’s best to work back from when you want the room you are working on to be complete. I knew that I wanted everything to be done by the start of March. Therefore, I made sure I ordered new furniture/materials with long lead times before Christmas. I also organised to sell old furniture by the weekend before I planned to paint (the point I am at now). That way it makes painting so much simpler, especially because I have decided to re-do the floors so getting rid of our old sofa and selling our teal loveseat made clearing the floor space so much easier.
Although there is still a fair bit of stuff packed into the office and bedroom!!!
Tip 5: Buy all the materials you will need in good time
I am lucky enough to be trying out one of the nine new Farrow & Ball colours in my sitting room (they launch on February 1st so keep your eyes peeled and try to guess which one I have chosen!). Only problem is I didn’t order quite enough – rookie error! There is nothing worse than having to interrupt DIY because you don’t have the materials you need. We have also had to do an 7.45pm dash to B&Q in a taxi before it closed to buy the correct jigsaw blades. Gah! Waste of time and waste of money so make sure you prepare properly and always get more than you think you’ll need.
I still have a couple of coats of paint left to do before Jules and Otto come back on Friday and then we will do the tiles in the kitchen this weekend. After that I may never do DIY again…until the next time, at least!