This might be the post I look forward to most every year! If you haven’t been around here for a long time, it’s my Christmas tradition to share our DIY failures and things we learned over the course of the year. I never want anyone to have the impression that we live some fairytale life of having it all together or that everything we touch turns to DIY gold. Integrity, especially in an online world where everything is billed as “easy”, is important to us and you won’t find projects listed as tutorials unless we know 100% what works. But more than that, I hope that this inspires you that it’s ok to make mistakes and not to let them scare you. It really happens to even the best of us!
14 years Bad Luck…oh well
So, yeah, that happened.
Have you seen how expensive mirrors are?! Outrageous! We tried to reuse the old mirror by cutting it in two and framing. The frames I designed were so thin that I was terribly worried that they would fall. Here is where we went wrong – we decided to caulk the mirror to a piece of plywood as a backing. When moisture (steam from the shower) hit the frame, it swelled, causing the mirrors to crack.
Although we did replace them with these mirrors, we know what to do next time and how to redesign the framing so the mirrors have some room to breathe and not crack.
If I have learned anything from all of the DIY we have done, it’s that if something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore that gut feeling.
In choosing the stain for our deck, we picked up several sample cans to decide on the perfect shade. There was just one problem: They mixed up the stickers on the sample cans. They always put a little fingerprint on the top so you don’t mix them up, but I had a bad feeling when I compared the color on the top to the brochure color. Despite my feelings, the store clerk told me there was no mixup, and we purchased 6 gallons.
I got all prepped up to stain and a sinking feeling hit me as I started….It was SO ORANGE!
That’s when I discovered that my gut had been right all along. A whole day lost, and while the store did replace all 6 gallons, the time loss was a worse loss. The weather turned too cold, and now we have a half stained deck.
The best laid plans
This picture won’t make sense until you see the other side of that wall…
To be truthful, our bathroom renovation was a major success. I even had this crazy vision of a four foot tall shower niche with glass shelves. It is just about the hardest way I could ever think to install a niche, but I was adamant and I planned it out perfectly….well, almost perfectly. In measuring the depth of the wall, I did not take into account the cement board that needed to be put in. After the cement board was in, I realized the depth was 1/2 too little for the glass shelves. Uh-oh.
We ended up taking out the cement board and cutting out the drywall behind it to make room for the cement board. We haven’t gotten around to fixing that wall (it’s in a closet), but I know the niche is well sealed and I did get what I wanted so we’ll call that a win.
The Table That Moses Built
Back in June, hubby wanted time to do his dream project: An octagon poker table made completely of salvaged wood. “Only take 2 months”, he said. “It will be wonderful when the family comes at Christmas”, he said. Well, that darn table is still NOT DONE.
It’s by no means his fault, because the amount of quality work that has gone into it is impressive. The top is completely made of butcher block that he hand glued and clamped together. We ran into every problem imaginable -it took so long that the wood twisted and warped before we could get it installed. We had to build a giant jig to flatten the top. It weighs over 300lbs. The list goes on…
However, I must say that the base he built is pretty genius. The top easily lifts off after the bolts are removed, and it is very stable without being in the way. Still, 6 months for a table is pretty fail.
Using the Wrong Materials
While I understand that most of the projects we majorly messed up were complicated projects, the mistakes themselves were very simple. Take this table we built earlier this year. The design of it is a bit of a complicated build, but that had nothing to do with where we went wrong, because we were wrong before we even started building it. About 20% into this build, I discovered that the wood was a mixture of white oak (fine for outdoors) and red oak (very bad outdoors). Faced with a deadline, we moved ahead and simply prayed that the epoxy and spar sealer would protect it enough. A combination of traveling and torrential rains during May squashed my hopes like a flea.
Of all the mistakes, this one actually hurts because I loved that table. It was beautiful, but thankfully, this mistake only cost us time and heartache because the wood was all salvaged.
Every year, there are many many more wins than mistakes. And even the mistakes push us on to better projects. While I have been creative and a DIY type most of my life, if you had asked me five years ago if I could remodel a bathroom from the studs, I would have said “No way”. We all start somewhere and none of these “oopsies” sway us from continuing to improve our skills or making our house a home with renovation projects.
I hope you enjoyed our creative mistakes! Here’s to more projects in 2019!
Check Out Our Best Projects of 2018:
- The Kitchen Island We Built
- How To Spray Paint Outdoor Furniture
- Why We Chose Luxury Vinyl Tile for the Kitchen
- Boy’s Bedroom Makeover
- Turning Our Deck into an Outdoor Shed