The past eight months have been pretty epic in our house. We’re by no means done with our giant DIY kitchen remodel, but we’re really starting to make some serious progress and can make a pinhole of light out at the end of the tunnel.
After widening the room and vaulting the ceiling, we’ve finally got drywall back on the walls and it’s officially been taped, sanded, and expertly (by a pro!) textured so that the walls look like they were put in that way originally. In fact, the drywall guy did such an amazing job that his texture work looks better than what was originally done 30+ years ago since you can’t make out a single seam after Mr PoP’s efforts filling and sanding the seams, and his efforts texturing the walls using a skip trowel method. In contrast, if you pay attention, you can see seams in the original walls that weren’t properly filled prior to the wall texture application.
Along the way, something a bit unintentional has happened.
We Tried to Minimize Our Impact
We knew the remodel would be a PITA for us, but we’ve tried really hard not to bother our neighbors during the remodel.
- When disposing of garbage, we try and carry it out the morning of pickup to minimize the eyesore (of items like decomposing cabinetry) even if we’d rather get it out of the house and the garage ASAP.
- We are cognizant that we don’t use power tools too late at night or too early in the morning. Everyone deserves their beauty sleep!
- We even brought wine over to our neighbors on the day we would be using demolition hammers to remove 500 sqft of tile from our house. A preventive measure for the possible headaches from the noise.
So really, we have tried to minimize the impact our extended remodel has had on the neighbors. But we accidentally infected some of them with DIY fever.
While not a clinical diagnosis in the DSM, DIY fever is an overwhelming urge to take on projects that would typically be hired out by the average American household. Contracted largely online, small scale DIY fever is often experienced by those perusing Pinterest or Etsy for hours on end, causing the afflicted to take on small, largely decorative or organizational projects. Large scale DIY fever is more often contracted at home improvement warehouses and can cause the afflicted to undertake major home improvement projects, despite not having any formal training in the construction trades. DIY fever can be a dangerous disease, causing the loss of time, money, patience, and (rarely) fingers to those afflicted.*
We’ve been concentrating so hard on pushing through our renovation project (pushing through is one of the best treatments during an outbreak of DIY fever) that we didn’t realize the affect we were having on some of our neighbors at the same time.
The Symptoms Around Us
On one side of our house, the neighbors (an older retired couple) just completed a major overhaul on their landscaping, doing quite a bit of the work themselves! Prior to this, the only DIY project they completed in our six years living next door was painting their seahorse mailbox a new color. But this spring they were out there day after day planting various flowers, palms, and shrubs, and digging a trench for the pipes to their new little water fountain. We were so impressed with not only their results, but also with how much they did themselves!
On the other side, our neighbors (who just moved in around Christmas) were initially inspired by our plans for our kitchen. Since their kitchen shared some of the same “features” that ours originally did (like being small with a dropped ceiling and recessed fluorescent lights – what was it with 1980’s kitchens!), we didn’t blame them for wanting to make some changes. And as they formulated their own plan for removing a wall and moving the location of their laundry (they’ll need to relocated the plumbing much like we did for that), they talked with contractors and even signed a letter of intent with one to have most of the work done for them. But DIY fever must be airborne or something because before we knew it, their plans for having a contractor do most of the work had gone out the window and this weekend we heard the sweet music of hammers** coming from their house. The plans have changed and though they don’t think they’ll be building their own cabinetry, they are proceeding in the project much in the way we did, with plans to do most of it themselves and hire out on the items where they feel they need more expertise.
A small part of me feels a little bad for spreading DIY fever to our neighbors because I know how much hard work and physical labor DIY-ing a big home improvement project (whether a “small” one like re-landscaping the lawn or a big one like the kitchen) is. And I hope they don’t end up saying our names amongst a string of four letter words as they push through some of the more difficult parts that they have yet to tackle. “Those mother-****-****-****-PoPs and their **** ****** ***** kitchen!” (DIY fever is not worth losing friends or good neighbor-relationships over!)
But a bigger part of me feels really proud that we helped inspire our neighbors to tackle new projects on their own and I’m excited to see their finished product – hopefully it won’t take them quite as long as it’s taken us.***
* In case it’s not totally obvious, I made this paragraph up and to the best of my knowledge there is absolutely no medical diagnosis (formal or otherwise) associated with attempting DIY projects.
** Now that we’re done tearing out walls and ceilings, listening to others wield hammers is actually pretty nice. Strange, but it’s oddly relaxing to listen to others knowing they are working insanely hard.
*** The neighbors aren’t modifying their trusses, just removing the drop ceiling, so that will shave a couple of months at least off of their work loan compared to ours. Same for the cabinetry and countertops – those will probably take me a few months at least to complete, but they’re currently planning a trip to IKEA (the horrors) for theirs.
Have you ever caught or spread DIY fever?