A DIY victory

The cover of a woodwork magazine.

I was once the cover star on a magazine you could actually buy in the shops. It was a woodwork title that I was the deputy editor of at the time and, this week, I reprised my role of DIY poster boy as we unleashed hell on our kitchen. Since we welcomed Dylan and Xander, our house has been the scene of complete and utter carnage. Over the last few days, the level of mess has escalated as we’re trying to finish all the half-done jobs around the place so we can sell it and move somewhere bigger for the boys to destroy and slowly fill with more clutter.

Of course, we don’t want to spend a fortune on it as we’re not planning on being here to admire our handiwork and congratulate ourselves for too long and there’s always the chance that new people would change it all anyway, so we’ve been doing it on a very limited budget, but I’m pleased to report it’s starting to look pretty good and neutral to boot! The hallway – which had remained half-painted for over a year in a colour that didn’t work – and the bathroom are both complete and, I hope, attractive to potential buyers.

The feather in the cap, though, has to be the kitchen which we have somehow managed to do ridiculously cheaply without it looking so. We didn’t want to fork out for a new one as they can cost thousands, so we’ve repurposed some bespoke units my parents bought for their house in 1993. They may be 20 years old – the cupboards, not my parents – but they’re a major improvement on the flimsy ones that had been here for a decade less. The challenge, of course, was fitting them as our kitchen is decidedly smaller than theirs. After a quick dash to our local HSS to hire some cutting tools and a phone call to recruit the services of my Uncle Tom – who only needs tea by means of fuel – we had the tools and the knowhow to give it a go.

When the dust finally settled – and after several last-ditch rugby tackles to stop Xander venturing into his favourite room – we had shoehorned most of the units into our kitchen and fitted the new surface we had bought to go with them. They were already looking good. There just remained the bits of decor revealed by the old units to tackle – so all four walls then. Unfortunately, the previous owners must have welded the wallpaper in place; scraping just wasn’t doing it so another dash to the friendly folk at HSS beckoned to hire a steam-powered wallpaper stripper. It worked a treat and the horrible sludgy brown paper is now where it belongs. In landfill.

All I have to do now is paint the kitchen – with a tin of leftover, inoffensively-coloured stuff, naturally – and the job will be done. All for a few hundred quid – the majority of which went on the new surface and some tiles – rather than a few thousand and with Dylan and Xander trying to ‘lend a hand’ in their own inimitable style.

It just goes to show that reusing things, hiring equipment instead of buying it and ‘borrowing’ the services of handy family members can make such a difference. And, yes, I’ve used that magazine image on the blog before – recycling, it would seem, is the way forward!

What was your last DIY victory?

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.


  1. Tom Briggs

    I think that counts, Kath! There have been plenty that I’ve put up that have had, let’s say, ‘character’!

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