The Magical Money-Saving Sweater
Check out this 20(?) year old chenille sweater of Neil’s. Bits of yarn dangle on all sides. The original color is indiscernible beneath layers of automotive fluids. I’m forbidden from washing it, as is clearly would not survive the process. Most wives would probably sneak this abomination into the garbage, but this sweater saves us tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s staying.
Fortunately Neil has never worn chenille in normal life, but donning this transforms him into superhero alter-ego, DIY Guy. When he walks downstairs wearing that sweater, I know the magic is about to happen.
In this sweater, Neil did a complete kitchen remodel in our first home. He did a head gasket on a 1990 Dodge Shadow. He reframed and sided our house when carpenter ants ate it. And he replaced the timing belt on our van. I could go on…
More recently, the magic sweater helped refresh and upgrade our new kitchen. After much back and forth about whether and when to remodel the kitchen, we decided to upgrade some functionality, but to leave the bigger project of total remodel for later. With no one leaving the house for work or school, and everyone eating at a minimum of every third hour, tearing out the kitchen seems
Neil installed a range hood, including running a vent through the soffits. Quotations from this project include: “The worst soffits I’ve ever seen,” “These soffits are never coming out,” and other statements perhaps not entirely appropriate for a Christian blog.
A new, much bigger sink has solved my dishes woes. A single, 10 inch bowl, it is 4 inches deeper than our old one. We can now eat more than one meal before the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes. This does not mean I’ve stopped buying paper plates 300 at a time. Sorry, Earth. I swear I’ll stop when they go back to school!
One of my top two wish list items for a new house was a pantry. Alas, this 4 bedroom, 2000 square foot house was built without one. I fail to fathom why. But we agreed from the start that Neil could put one in somewhere. After consulting a designer and a remodeler, we decided the best option is to put pantry shelves in our hall closet, which is right next to the kitchen.
Neil’s brother (said remodeler) generously gave us a pantry shelf he was not using, and Neil built it into the closet, installing an outlet and hiding the microwave in there as well. I’m very happy with the extra food storage space and the location.
Gone is the faint pink and not-faint mauve paint in the kitchen and family room, replaced by “accessible” beige, which is more of a greige. I’m lost when it comes to paint colors, but a couple neighbors shared samples and expertise and it looks great with the cabinets, wood trim, and fireplace, none of which are we ready to change.
We also kissed these 90s-fabulous knobs good-bye:
While the kitchen still has some 90s vibes, it’s much improved, and for much less money, effort, and hassle than a full remodel. I’m perfectly content with it. Okay, it would be nice if the floor wasn’t barf colored. We actually almost missed a spot when cleaning barf off it just last week. (Yes, my kid somehow caught a barf bug even with all our precautions.) But really, the kitchen is great. Spacious, functional, and no longer pink!
The next project for DIY Guy and his magic sweater is insulating and finishing the basement. It’s just too cold down there. Even with a magic sweater.
What DIY magic happened in your home in the past year?