Musings On the Power of Doing it Yourself

Hello There! What did YOU do this weekend? I spent Saturday getting incredible sore, and Sunday recuperating. The whole family went over to help my good friend Liz lay down hardwood floor in their big bonus room above the garage (~450 square feet). She’s blogged about the entire project here, here, here, and here. Obviously, this was/is a huge undertaking, something they’ve been working on for a couple of months (and talking about for a couple of years). When they got a quote for installation of the floor, it was quite a lot of money (yet the most reasonable offer they could expect from actual flooring installation folk). I offered the labor of hubby and I because, it really isn’t that hard to do, it just takes some know how, tools and LABOR! And labor we did! But, with 4 adults and 3 teenagers (her 2 sons and my older boy Liam, who by golly is a teenager), and an empty room completely prepped (including new paint on all the walls and window trim, something to be thankful for later on) the entire floor went down in one day! We used Bruce engineered hardwood flooring that has a lock click system (like Pergo, sorta), but Andrew says nailing it down with a pneumatic nailer like we did in my studio a year and a half ago would have taken the same amount of time.

do it yourself, hardwood floor installation, remodel

As Liz and I were going off to Lowe’s to buy felt paper (to underlay the flooring) because we didn’t think we had enough (of course, we just barely did – but if we hadn’t gone we would have been 1 foot short) I got so EXCITED! The power I feel from being able to make something more beautiful that MOST folks would never consider doing…is incredible. I started talking to Liz about all the past big home renovation projects we’ve tackled, and I realized how POWERFUL this makes me feel! I am affected by my surroundings, being surrounded by beauty and function makes me a better person. I have a champagne taste and a beer budget. I don’t have a lot of patience. But these aspects together ends up creating me: a person who sees what she wants and DOES IT HERSELF.

  • Am I incredibly sore?    Yes
  • Would I like to start installing flooring on the side for extra money?    No
  • Do I wish I could find the impetus to get in shape so this wasn’t such an incredible pain?   Yes
  • Am I a nutbar for thinking I can do these things?    Probably
  • Have I explained why I take on the projects I do?    I don’t know – that’s for you to tell me! 😉

As my little business has taken off, the time I have for planning and executing home dec/reno projects in my OWN house has dramatically decreased. This is sort of a chicken/egg deal. My husband has encouraged my expansion into Candied Fabrics a bit because it takes me away from bugging him to get on with the next home reno project I’d love to do. Which is awesome, cause we really have NO money to do it! Also awesome, that I’m beginning to have a wee bit of profit from my business that I CAN spend on home renovation, like this project completed last June.

And so, I’ve got the bug again, and I just had a consultation with the hubby…we’re gonna put bamboo floors into the boys bedroom and playroom. Really, the carpeting on the stairs and in our master bedroom needs replacing as well, but here’s the compromise. The stairs are gonna be a major pain in the a$$ because they are curved. I’d also love to have a slightly darker, more dramatic wood on the stairs and in our bedroom (cherry or teak? I can dream!) So those are going to have to wait another year. But the bamboo in the boys rooms will 1) make these tiny rooms larger because it’s so light (I was amazed at the difference when the bamboo went down in my studio) and 2) Make it easier to clean and 3) make it easier to build Legos (most important reason for Logan!).

Did I think I’d end up talking the hubby into this when I offered our help to Liz? No…in fact, just the opposite, I thought I was waving goodbye to any big project with Andrew this summer. He’s agreed because his knees held up during this weekend (he’s had knee trouble in the past) and the carpet is JUST so BLECCH! Even HE hates it!

Stay tuned!

6 Responses

  1. Thank you so much. Its hard to believe it happened that quickly and it looks so nice. Don’t forget to recycle the carpet!

  2. It’s such a good feeling to do something yourself, and do it well! The floor looks great, and your plans sound very exciting. I can’t wait for the day I have a home I can make to suit me perfectly. 🙂

  3. Dear Candy – I am Lizzie’s old friend who lives in Wales and I have been following the floor project with considerable interest. You and your family have been so generous in giving so much neighbourly help and I know much it is appreciated by Lizzie and Geraint. You and Lizzie seem to bring out the best in one another with creative thoughts. I wish you lived next door to me! Your photos are excellent and I am delighted to see the finished result. If we all helped one another a bit more the world would be a better place. I very much admire your creative work which is quite unique and hope you find the time to do lots more. Best wishes from FayinWales.