Getting home repairs done —the motivating power of a best friend.

Do you have a list of little annoyances (that’s not a euphemism for my children) for each room in your house? Those pesky blemishes you should get to, but for one reason or another can’t muster up the energy to take them on. They are the dreaded, minor home repairs, a renovation equivalent to darning socks. Ugh! One little job after another goes unnoticed until you just want to knock a wall down to distract you from the collective mess of un-caulked seals, peeled paint and dents in drywall. Ok, that might be over the top, but the truth is no matter how hard you try, you can’t fix a chronically leaky faucet by installing a new light fixture. I should know.

Planning Ahead: Using fabric from accent chairs as colour inspiration.
Planning Ahead: Using fabric from accent chairs as colour inspiration I would like to give the living room a fresh coat of paint. Too many other repairs are begging for my attention. This job will need to wait. 

This week I stumbled upon an excellent “get’ er done” solution to my dilemma, which I hope could work for others. In a moment of introspection, while bemoaning my penchant for procrastination, my very good friend popped by to get an update on the Powder Room. As we later sat in my living room the piles of paint chips splayed across the coffee table caught her attention. She inquired, and I described how I was looking to warm up the space and connect the wall colour to the furniture we had recently re-upholstered. As we talked she could sense I was getting a little uneasy. I explained I couldn’t think paint when there were so many other “little annoyances” that I knew I should tackle first.

Family Room Before: An unfortunate incident with painter’s tape resulted in this ugly mess around the entire perimeter to of the ceiling.
Family Room After: Walls and Crown Moulding after repairs. So much more Zen-like without the peeling paint!

In short I told her all the dirty secrets of my house. The woes, worries and frustrations about looming lists of not quite finished projects. I confessed it just didn’t feel right talking about a new task without first settling my debts with the old ones. Yes, it was crazy talk, but it felt so good to discuss my guilt openly.

Kitchen Before: The seal along the kitchen sink is cracked allowing water to penetrate to the cabinet below and cause unsightly mould deposits. I plan to remove the old caulk, adjust the sink back a few millimetres for a tighter fit, then add a new bead of silicone.
Kitchen: The Sink not only looks better with a new silicone bead, it is water-tight.
Kitchen After: The Sink not only looks better with a new silicone bead, but it is water-tight.

After some serious listening, my good friend said: “Okay, it’s time you take me on a tour of these unfinished projects.” I obliged, and as we walked around the main floor of my home something almost inexplicable happened. It was like I drew strength from her. Viewing the tasks with fresh eyes somehow made them less intimidating. I realized I was spending more energy complaining about not having them done than it would take to complete them. As I showed her each job l felt empowered to take on the world, never mind that leaky faucet!

Kitchen Before: The exposed soffits (hiding the upstairs plumbing) in the upper cabinets are in need of a camouflage treatment
Kitchen: Modifications to the upper cabinets blend with the addition of face plates to cover the soffits.
Kitchen After:  With the addition of simple face plates, cut from melamine coated 1/8″  hardboard, the modifications I made to these standard IKEA cabinets now look as if they have always belonged.

Never once did my friend criticize or ask anything of me, but by the time we finished the tour I had made a verbal pact with her that I would complete a half dozen specific jobs before school started in the next two weeks. And here’s the kicker. As she left she looked me square in the eye and said, “… and you won’t hesitate to call me when it comes time to paint that living room, RIGHT?!”

Powder Room Before: The trim section behind the Washstand still needs to be secured, caulked, and painted.
Powder Room After: The trim is now secured with finishing nails. Large gaps between trim pieces have been filled with paintable latex caulk. Nail holes filled with Polly-filla for easy sanding. Next a coat of white paint will give it a fresh clean finish.

Moral of the story, one: Don’t take your BFF for granted. They don’t have to pick up a hammer or paintbrush, but they can help you talk it out and hold you accountable to ensure you get things done. And if you offer sushi, she’ll likely come over an help you paint too.

Family Room Before: A tired console table in need of a fresh coat of paint. (After photo coming soon!)

Moral of the story, two: Take care of business. Enthusiastically eliminate items on your To Do List. Getting even the simplest and especially the most annoying of little tasks done will leave you feeling empowered to tackle the next big thing.



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