Today we are catching up with featured renovator Becky Marshall. Becky shares her renovation and home improvement adventures over on her blog Flipping the Flip.
I have been following Becky’s adventures for a while now, and apart from being jealous about how often she posts her blogs (something I suck at), I also admire her give it a go attitude.
Becky has tackled all kinds of projects herself such as kitchen modifications, painting projects, electrical modifications, shelving, pocket door installations and much, much more (some pic’s below). If you need some DIY inspiration I suggest checking out Becky’s blog.
I thought I would ask Becky a few questions about her renovation journey so that she can share her story with us.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your renovation project “Flipping the Flip”.
Long story short, my first career was theatre in Chicago for many many years as a prop master and scenic designer. Eventually I went back to graduate school and earned an M.F.A. in Interior Architecture. Recently I’ve been working in the television and film industry as a set designer which has included stints at Chicago Fire, Sirens, Jupiter Ascending, and most recently a pilot episode, The Exorcist.
Flipping the Flip came about as an upshot of my various careers making and designing things melding with the latest target of my attention, the house my husband and I bought from a flipper. That flipper, it turns out, made many a questionable choice and his workmanship left a lot to be desired. The stories of all the work I was doing began piling up in my head so I decided to start a blog with the hope that others could learn from my adventures.
How long have you been renovating your house, and was it always your plan to make the modifications to it?
We bought this house in June 2013 and the pace of working on it, the list of projects, has ramped up over time. We had always planned to remove some trim and repaint every room. Things mushroomed after we moved in and discovered all the things the house flipper had done, or didn’t do, or should have done. Some of his decorating choices and “fixes” were so bad no human should be subjected to them so it became my mission to undo, fix, and improve just about everything he had done.
What inspired you to get on the tools and have a go at tackling some of your own projects around the house?
I’ve always been a handy person, a designer type, and a power tool lover so it was a natural progression. It began with the repainting initially, getting up close and personal with the house, seeing all that was done or not done. As I was painting I’d think, well, I best fix that while I’m here. Things rapidly eroded from a “hey, wouldn’t it be nice if…,” to becoming a “I bet I could do that if I tried…” thing. Part of it stems from the desire to be self-sufficient, to learn things and be able to take care of them myself, and part of it comes from the desire to be budget-minded with such a lengthy list.
If you had to pick one thing in relation to your renovation that you are proud of what would that be?
Boy, that’s tough. As I move from project to project and I see things taking shape around the house, it’s hard to pick just one. I don’t mean to sound boastful; in a simple comparison of the house as-bought to how things are to date, the difference is definite and vast. If pressed though, my latest one, a pocket door to our master bathroom, is the biggest project I have ever undertaken and probably the one I’m most proud of lately.
Have you found any of your remodelling tasks stressful, if so how do you go about problem-solving some of these tasks?
Oh my gosh yes. Yes! I tend to un-smartly plow head-first into projects, so I need to first slow myself down. If it’s larger like painting our kitchen cabinets or installing wallpaper or the pocket door, I take time to plan and write out all the steps, how I want to accomplish each task, and how I want the end result to be before even lifting a finger. I find that helps keep the stress tamped as I’m then able to take the project one single step at a time, one small goal at a time thereby feeling less overwhelmed. In the case of the pocket door, I ended up taking several days to plan, prep, do math, write down every single step in order, even draw it out on the computer. That was my most stressful project to date and I found I needed to really parse it down to finest detail.
If there was one piece of advice that you could give someone about to start on their own DIY renovation journey what would that be?
Don’t be afraid. Ok, be a little afraid as that’s a healthy reminder to be careful and take your time but do not be afraid to try something. Be smart and know your limits but fear of trying something new is squashed by the rush of accomplishment. The worst that can happen is you make a mistake but I think mistakes are not mistakes; they are a golden opportunity to learn and try again.
Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us Becky, and we look forward to following along with the rest of your DIY renovation journey as it unfolds.
Are you hands on like Becky when it comes to getting things done? If so tell us about it in the comments section below, we would love to hear about it.
Thanks Guys, take care.