The 4 things we all wish we knew at the start of our DIY journey

The 4 things we all wish we knew at the start of our DIY journey

While we may very well be great at the various concepts of interior design and renovations in general, sometimes we could look back and wish we knew certain things at the very outset of our DIY journey. We all have to start somewhere, so if you’re looking to pass some wise information on, here are a few things that can make all the difference.

Quality tools are worth the investment

Whether it’s something as little as wood screws or a screwdriver set, high-quality tools are definitely worth your time and money. High-quality tools and implements tend to have better ergonomics, are built better, and this means that they’re also more durable, which can save you money in the long run and reduce your frustrations.

Sometimes we can’t justify a major expense, but while they say a shoddy workman blames their tools, if there are huge problems in your DIY journey, it could very well be that the things you bought are way too cheap to be effective in the long run.

Proper planning will save time and money

Sometimes we have that approach where we think we should just start something. While this could be beneficial with a small project where you’re learning the ropes and figuring out what you can and cannot do, the reality is that if you’re attempting to renovate a home or undertake a major project, you’ve got to research the potential challenges and solutions beforehand.

Consider the various factors such as weather, drying times, availability, accurate costs and unexpected expenses, as well as create a detailed project plan including material lists, step-by-step procedures and timelines. As the saying goes – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Safety first

You should always use appropriate protective equipment, and while many of us don’t think we need to read the instructions, sometimes following all the manuals and safety guidelines can make a major difference.

When it comes to safety, keep your work area clean and organised, as this will prevent accidents, particularly with sharp tools around. Also, take the time to learn proper techniques for lifting and handling materials to reduce injury.

Start small and build up

Starting out should be dealing with simple projects that require fewer skills and tools, then gradually increase the complexity alongside our confidence. Each project is an opportunity to develop new skills, and we could certainly feel frustrated that we’re not developing as quickly as others, but we need to understand that quality work often takes time. Therefore, we should remember that precise or difficult tasks don’t benefit from rushing through. It’s okay to make mistakes, and while we should take breaks to avoid mistakes that come from fatigue, every mistake is a learning opportunity.

We need to be prepared to problem-solve and to adapt when things do go wrong. It could be very easy to be a perfectionist about it, but don’t let this hinder your progress. You have all the tools at your disposal as long as you remember to develop those fundamental skills. Stay updated on new tools, techniques and materials, but also remember that seeking insight can help people, new and old to DIY, approach their projects with greater knowledge, realistic expectations and a higher rate of success.


Taking on a fixer-upper – jobs to tackle first

Taking on a fixer-upper - jobs to tackle first

Buying a fixer-upper has multiple benefits. If you buy a house that isn’t in pristine condition, the asking price will probably be much lower, so there’s a golden opportunity to add value and put your stamp on your new home. There are downsides, but being methodical and organised can help you reduce risks and save money. In this guide, we’ve outlined some essential jobs to tackle first.

Wiring and electrics

Outdated wiring and electrical systems can be dangerous. If you’re taking on a project and the property needs rewiring or significant upgrades, it’s best to seek expert advice and address issues as a priority. Contact reputable local companies and get recommendations from people you trust and community social media groups. Get multiple quotes and compare prices. Make sure you understand the scale and type of work required, and ask for a full, written breakdown of costs. Always ensure that contractors have the relevant insurance, permits and licences. Many people like to get stuck in when it comes to DIY jobs, but anything that involves electrics or gas should be left to the professionals.

Roof repairs or replacement

The roof plays a critical role in protecting the property from the elements. If your new home has a damaged roof or there are signs of wear and tear or leaks, contact local roofing firms. It’s important to sort the roof out as quickly as possible to prevent further issues such as leaks and damp patches. It’s worth exploring the option of completely replacing the roof if it’s an old house as you’re likely to need frequent repairs in the coming years.

Windows and doors

Replacing old windows and doors has multiple benefits. New windows and doors are more energy-efficient than older examples, which will save you money on energy bills, and they can also look stylish and smart. Modern windows and doors offer enhanced security and privacy, and they can also boost curb appeal. As well as replacing old or damaged doors and windows, you may also want to consider adding extra windows to maximise natural light. Contact glass suppliers to find out more about features like roof lights, lanterns and skylights. Adding more light will make your rooms look bigger and brighter. It’s beneficial to compare quotes and consider different designs and styles before you decide what to do and which company to choose.

Layout changes

Older houses often have different layouts and floor plans to newer properties. If you’re modernising an old house, you may want to alter the layout to suit your lifestyle and your requirements. It’s common for new homes to have bigger kitchens and open-plan living areas, for example. More traditional properties usually have a larger number of smaller rooms. Knocking down walls can help you maximise usable space and design rooms that are better suited to your family. It’s better to draw up plans during the early stages of the renovation than to modify the layout later.

There are lots of advantages to buying a fixer-upper, but there’s often a lot of work involved. If you’re taking on a large-scale renovation project, focus on priority tasks. Examples include updating the electrics or rewiring the property, replacing windows and doors, repairing the roof and adjusting the layout of your living spaces.


Exterior home renovations near me

Exterior home renovations near me

As a homeowner, a lot of the time, attention and money that you can afford goes into your house. Home renovations become a common occurrence once you have your own home, and it may seem as though the work is never complete.

Unfortunately, if you operate like most other homeowners, then you are missing out on a crucial element of home renovations – the exterior.

The majority of work done on your home is to improve the interior conditions, creating bigger and better living spaces that you can enjoy with the family. But the exterior of your home is just as important and needs attention.

As this is uncharted territory for a lot of homeowners, you may not even know where to start or who to turn to when it comes to exterior renovations.

What are exterior renovations?

Much like with your home’s interior, there are many areas you can work on to improve the appearance and functionality of the exterior.

One of the most important elements of a home’s exterior is the roof, as this is a significant element to the overall structural integrity of your home. Without the proper care or installation, your roof can cause a lot of issues both inside and outside of the home.

The roof is a key element to the overall structure of the home and the stability of the property as a whole. It keeps a solid structure that supports the rest of the property.

Functionality does not have to come at the cost of style, though, and many homeowners want to improve their home’s exterior with roof renovations. Based on your property and the kind of style you want for your home, there are various roofing options for you to consider that can improve things.

There are several other forms of exterior renovations that you could consider; for instance, an extension, decking, replacement windows and skylights, but the roof is often the first place to start.

Local exterior renovation services in Portland

Whether your roof is damaged or simply old-fashioned, it is time to call in the exterior renovation experts to make changes.

Due to how fundamental the roof is for the overall structural integrity and style of your property, you want to ensure you’re in good hands for renovations.

As a Portland resident, you have access to one of the best exterior renovation companies in the state that provides expert roofing services.

Allen Exterior is a leading roofing and renovation company based in Portland that has been serving the surrounding counties for over a decade. There’s a range of services available from this company, including roof renovations, to improve your home and provide a better exterior appearance.

Don’t fall into the trap that a lot of homeowners do by neglecting the exterior of your home, and instead call in the professionals from this local company to take care of everything on your behalf.

You can learn more about this company’s services and request a quote at


Heritage meets modern – Merging vintage charm with contemporary comforts in home renovations

Heritage meets modern - Merging vintage charm with contemporary comforts in home renovations

Older properties often possess a unique allure with their historical architecture, vintage detailing and stories of the past. However, for all their charm, they might not always offer the comforts and conveniences of contemporary living. Bridging this gap between old-world charm and modern-day luxury is the key to a successful heritage home renovation.

Respect the original architecture: Preserve core features

Original cornices, ceiling roses, woodwork and stained-glass windows are elements that give a heritage home its distinctive character. Try to restore rather than replace them.

Update where necessary

It’s essential to strike a balance. For instance, while sash windows are beautiful, they may not be the most energy efficient. Consider double-glazing to keep the look but enhance functionality.

Modernise the utilities

  • Wiring and plumbing: Older homes often come with dated electrical and plumbing systems. Updating these are not just about comfort, but safety as well. Remember, always work with professionals, especially in homes that may have historical protections.
  • Insulation and heating: Enhance energy efficiency by insulating roofs, walls and floors. Modern underfloor heating can be an excellent addition, providing comfort without the need for bulky radiators.

Blend old and new in interiors

Balancing vintage aesthetics with contemporary design in interiors requires a careful selection of elements that resonate with both eras. A harmonious blend celebrates the property’s history while ensuring the space remains functional and stylish.

Modern fixtures with vintage flair:

  • Echoing shapes and styles: Opt for contemporary fixtures that have design elements reminiscent of the past. For instance, a modern kitchen tap may feature curves and finishes that mimic Victorian elegance.
  • Reinterpretations: The beauty of modern design lies in its flexibility. A modern roll top bath, for example, could be made with contemporary materials like acrylic but maintain its classic shape. Similarly, pendant lights with an industrial twist can provide modern efficiency while evoking a bygone era.
  • Materials and finishes: Consider using materials and finishes that age gracefully over time, like brass or patina-rich copper. These can offer the best of both worlds by ageing with a vintage charm but being newly installed.

Extend with sympathy

When extending a heritage property, the challenge lies in preserving its historical character while introducing additional space that caters to modern lifestyles. It’s about making the new sections feel like a seamless and respectful continuation of the old, rather than a jarring contrast.

Consistent materials:

  • Source authenticity: Whenever possible, opt for reclaimed or vintage materials. Reclaimed bricks, for instance, not only match the original construction in colour and texture but also carry a patina that new bricks might lack.
  • Matching finishes: If you can’t find original or reclaimed materials, it’s essential to mimic the finishes. That could mean finding roof tiles that have a similar shape, size and weathered look or choosing plaster techniques that emulate older styles.
  • Woodwork and joinery: Extensions often involve adding new doors or windows. Ensure that any woodwork mirrors the design, grain and even ageing process of the existing ones. Techniques like distressing can be employed to make new wooden features blend seamlessly.

Modern touches:

  • Interior design: While the exterior of the extension should harmonise with the original structure, the interiors can be an exciting space to play with contemporary design. This not only caters to modern comforts but also creates an evident, yet respectful, delineation between epochs.
  • Technological integrations: Consider introducing modern amenities like underfloor heating, smart home systems or energy efficient glazing in the extension. These elements, while hidden or subtle, can greatly enhance the living experience without detracting from the historical ambience.

Don’t forget the garden

  • Historical landscaping: Research how gardens were designed during the home’s era. Implementing some of these historical landscaping techniques can enhance the property’s vintage appeal.
  • Modern comforts: While the landscaping can echo the past, modern comforts like outdoor heating, lighting and contemporary patio furniture can make the space more usable year-round.

Finally, always remember the importance of building merchants in the renovation journey. They often have a deep understanding of the area’s architecture and can offer invaluable insights and materials that resonate with your heritage property’s era.

Balancing the past and present in a renovation can be challenging, but the results – a home that exudes historical charm while offering all the conveniences of the 21st century – are well worth the effort.