Monday, March 22, 2010

Must-know advice for do-it-yourselfers

Now that we're less than a week away from having a working basement bathroom, I wanted to share what we've learned. I hope these tips will help.

1. Be aware of the additional costs (in both money and effort) of the little add-on projects.

In our case, it was the wainscoting. I wanted to echo the beautiful powder room wainscoting in our basement bath. It turns out that the powder room wainscoting was not stock, but built up from many different pieces. Just cutting and installing a simplified version took many evenings. Painting all of its three-dimensional edges and curves took four hours per coat.

This simple change added at least three weeks to our project. The wood alone cost over $200, a sizeable chunk of our $1,000 budget.

2. Invest in good tools.

Yes, there are some drips on the final wall I painted. Exhaustion will do that. But I can't imagine how much worse it would have looked without my wonderful Corona brushes with Chinex bristles. They held and applied paint smoothly, and made my job much easier. Fantastic!

3. This actually might be the most important. Throw a party in your old space. Yes, I know. You're ashamed of it. That's why you're renovating it. But if no one has seen the before, no one can appreciate the after. And if you're doing it yourself, surely you want to show off your handiwork. Just a little bit.

In our case, the basement bathroom was so hideous that really, you had to see it to appreciate how much it had changed. I really, really should have had an "Adios, Basement Bathroom" party. Nothing says festive like margaritas in the bathroom!

4. Appreciate the domino effect.

We left our old shower alone. We thought with a thorough cleaning and a new showerhead, it would be fine. Now surrounded by bright new paint and tile, the old shower looks beyond tired. I thought the acrylic surround was white, but it turns out that it's an odd shade of biscuit. Your older pieces will look even older in your newly renovated space.

5. Beware of that last five percent.

I said we're less than a week from a functioning bathroom. But we still have little projects to finish up. Finding and installing a marble threshold. Putting beadboard on and painting the existing wall cabinet. I'm fairly certain that these little projects will linger incomplete well into 2011. It will nag at the corners of my mind and slowly drive me insane.

At least I'll have a renovated bathroom with lovely custom wainscoting to enjoy in my insanity. Happy do-it-yourselfing!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for commenting. I love reading your thoughts and responses.