Tackling a home DIY project in Nashville

My insights and tips for your Nashville home remodeling project

I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV lately…enough to lure me into thinking that a DIY home remodeling project could be fun. And, judging from the crowds at local DIY stores, we’re not the only Nashville homeowners who currently are taking advantage of rising property values (and equity) to update the interiors of an aging house.

This post offers my insights and tips for your Nashville home remodeling project.

1. Demolition doesn’t happen quickly. This is the biggest myth perpetuated by DIY home remodeling shows. In a 30 minute show, the demolition scene may take up to 3 minutes, during which the homeowners talk about how much fun they’re having. In reality, the wanton destruction caused by swinging a sledgehammer is cut short when said sledgehammer encounters metal lathe behind a solid layer of tile and mortar. And if you’re opening up walls, you’re bound to encounter plumbing, electrical and duct work that will cause you to re-think your project.

If your project is small, and you have access to a pickup truck, you may opt to take your debris off yourself, instead of installing a dumpster in your driveway. The collection site at Omohundro Drive is open Tuesday through Saturday – for $6, you can dispose of a pick-up truck load of assorted stuff ($12 if your pickup load is piled high). Be aware that, if you are disposing of wallboard and similar debris, this must be bagged. So you’ll want to get a good number of large plastic garbage cans, and line them before you start filling them.

With the money you save by hauling off your own debris, why not treat yourself to lunch? There are several good options for casual dining within a mile of the Collection Center. The Grill at Boswell’s Harley Davidson on Fessler’s Lane is your best Saturday option – while Country Café on Murfreesboro Rd. gets my vote for weekdays (hot chicken day is Tuesday).

2. There will be project creep. Our current project is an expansion and remodel of the master bath. In order to accomplish the expansion, we took over a closet. In the ceiling of the closet was an access panel to our attic. So we have to move the attic access to another place. And while we are up in the attic, we’re going to add some recessed lights to our den, and reinforce any potential attic access points that have been used by outdoor critters. And, while we are up there, we should add insulation. We’ve just added at least $500 and one weekend of work to our project without doing anything at all to the master bath.

3. A little research can save you money. I’m convinced that one of the reasons we now have bathrooms with pink and aqua tile is that there was no Pinterest when our homes were being built. When you’re planning a project, it’s really helpful to see examples of things that appeal to you – before you start shopping. Otherwise, you’re likely to do as I did several houses ago – blow your entire remodeling budget on an expensive Kohler tub, and be forced to scrimp on other aspects of your remodel.

Websites like Houzz, Wayfair, Home Decorators Collection and the like are also great places to order fixtures and get them delivered to your home. Most big purchases ship free, and for a fee as little as $50, you can get large bulky items delivered right into the room that you’re remodeling. (The timing of such a delivery can be tricky, however, when you’re dealing with items that need to be connected to plumbing that needs to be prepared ahead of time.)

When it comes to flooring (and, for bathrooms, tile), I prefer to shop locally – and have been very pleased with the inventory and prices at Discount Floors. You’ll also want to plan a trip to Kenny & Company’s Plumbing and Lighting Showroom, though, just to check out their beautiful tile and fixture displays. And, before you make that big purchase, it’s worth checking to see what’s available at Southeastern Salvage – they sometimes have outstanding bargains on unusual items.

Another place to find a great bargain is the Habitat for Humanity construction ReStore, located on Division St. in the Gulch. We’re planning a barn door-type slider for our bathroom door, and it made all kinds of sense to buy the hardware on line, but pick up a $25 door at ReStore. (We also donated our good old midcentury-style bathroom sink to Habitat for Humanity – which felt much better than throwing it into a landfill.)

4. Plan for injuries. Just as there are opportunities to cut, scrape, strain, break or shock yourself while remodeling – remember that there are also opportunities to injure your normally happy relationship with your significant other. The physical and mental energy involved in a remodeling job can be immense – if your relationship isn’t on a sound footing, a project like this can have some very unhappy results. In that case, you probably should find a competent contractor who can take over your project for you. But if you proceed, here are some suggestions for protecting your physical – and emotional – well being.

Physical Needs

Emotional Needs

Leather work gloves A “Construction Free” clean area
Eye safety goggles Cuticle cream
Sturdy work shoes A night out
Hydrogen peroxide Permission to make mistakes
Bandages The ability to compromise
The right tools for the job A sense of humor
Water Wine

5. Set a deadline. Some of our most successful remodeling projects have been those with the tightest deadlines – like the time we remodeled our entire kitchen in just 6 weeks so that we could prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Admittedly, it may be good for your sanity to have a back-up plan, but it really does help keep your momentum going when you have a deadline looming. And, if the deadline involves other people actually seeing your remodeled space, the deadline can also make you pay attention to the last-minute items such as a thorough cleaning and stylish staging.

I know that I haven’t convinced any of my readers that DIY remodeling is fun (I personally don’t think it is fun, either – even if it is gratifying). So thanks for indulging me in this departure from my normal agenda. I’ll be back with more suggestions on ways to have fun in and around Nashville before you know it!


Author: Margaret

Sounds Like Fun - Nashville is a labor of love - my love for Music City, Middle Tennessee, and experiencing the best that our area has to offer. In recent years, I've developed an informal following among my friends and professional colleagues. People ask me what I've got planned for an upcoming weekend – or seek advice about good activities for showing visiting friends or relatives around the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area. Even though there are other sites with event calendars, I think followers of my blog can expect some extra insight into goings-on that would suit ‘most anyone seeking to experience the diversity of fun and interesting things to do around town. I'm always on the look-out for good places to walk my dog. Maggie is a 10-year-old mixed breed shelter dog who still becomes comically ecstatic when she sees me pick up a leash. She's my inspiration to start a page featuring great dog walks around Nashville.

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