But all too often it’s too late to save the situation – not the house itself, unless it has completely collapsed, but the relationship of the homeowners who misguidedly chose to DIY.
For privacy reasons, we can’t share the stories of these specific DIYers. Instead, we scoured the internet for tales of DIY disasters that might serve as salutary warnings for those considering making such a grave mistake. We feel it is our public duty to share these tales, at once shocking and heartbreaking, yet often pretty funny, with the unsuspecting among you before it’s too late for you.
Christina Applegate and Martyn LeNoble
If you were male and a teenager between 1987 and 1997, you will almost certainly remember Christina Applegate, who played the trampy blond Kelly Bundy in the American sitcom Married With Children.
Christina is pictured here in the Bundy’s less-than-chic kitchen. Unfortunately, eighteen years on from when Married With Children ended, the kitchen in Christina’s own home didn’t look too different to the Bundy’s, as you can see from the photo below.
Although Christina had owned the home and hated the kitchen for twenty years, she felt that renovating it would be too much of an undertaking for her to tackle on her own. Then when her soon-to-be husband, punk rocker Martyn LeNoble, came along, their ideas differed on how the renovation should look and who should complete it.
“Every time I would come through here, I just felt angry,” Christina says of the kitchen, which she describes as being “god awful” and the “ugliest kitchen I’ve ever seen”.
But the disagreements and procrastination may have gone on forever if it hadn’t been for a trigger event – a flood that destroyed the kitchen floor and some of the kitchen cabinets.
Christina and Martyn had no alternative but to get a kitchen designer and contractor to rebuild the kitchen from the ground up.
“I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted the kitchen to feel like and look like,” she says, “but executing that is obviously not my forte. So it was nice to have someone to do the work for me.”
Christina says she loves to cook in the new open and bright space, and even feels that the flood that motivated the renovation was ‘lucky’.
Dan Crane and his wife
The freelance writer and musician and his wife bought this fixer-upper in Los Angeles in 2011 under unusual circumstances. But then, the couple had met under unusual circumstances.
In his mid-thirties he’d set up a business arranging air guitar competitions across North America. If you’ve never heard of an air guitar, it’s an imaginary guitar ‘played’ by teenagers in the sanctuary of their bedrooms and, occasionally, on stage where they are judged by the most realistic and theatrical impressions of rock gods. Dan even wrote a book about his experiences called To Air Is Human.
It was while he was touring that he met the air guitar groupie – we never knew there was such a thing – who was later to become his wife.
A tarot card reader warned the couple not to buy this house, but they went ahead anyway. They knew there was a lot of work and pressure ahead of them but what they weren’t prepared for were, as Dan put it later, “the irreparable cracks in the foundation of our relationship”.
Only when his wife had left him did it occur to Dan that he should get a professional renovator in to complete the house. It was the renovator’s idea to turn what had been the front entrance hall (pictured at left above) into a charming and airy dining room with full-height ceilings and 180-degree windows, creating a feature for the house on both the inside and outside.
“The renovation experience ultimately turned out to be both immensely fulfilling and deeply therapeutic for me,” says Dan now. “But I certainly learned the hard way about trying to do-it-yourself.”
Dan and Diana
There’s a plethora of TV shows from around the world about DIY gone wrong – DIY Disasters, Renovation Rescue, Fixer Upper – but the classic title has to be I Wrecked My House from Canada, starring comedian Steve Patterson.
During his time as the show’s host, Steve says he has seen some things – some scary, crazy things. His job, though, is not only to laugh them off, but to put his team of expert renovators to work creating incredible transformations.
Take the example of Dan and Diana, pictured above. They may be smiling for the cameras, but their attempted renovation did very nearly wreck their house. Luckily they’re both yoga instructors, because as you can see, they’ll need all the stretch and flexibility they can muster to get to their front door – somehow they forgot to include stairs in the material list for their attempted front deck renovation.
Inside it doesn’t get any better. Dan's enthusiasm got the best of him, leaving the living room and kitchen a mess of exposed beams, faulty wiring and a ceiling that we would describe in New Zealand as a ‘bodgie job’.
But thanks to Steve’s professionals, the couple’s home now looks completely different. The new floor, steampunk art and bold crown molding has turned what was an eyesore into an elegant home.
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You don’t want to be one of the DIY types who put their relationships and homes at risk. At Pzazz Building, we make planning, designing and completing your home renovation easy, stress-free and risk-free.
Contact us now for a free initial consultation with your local Pzazz Building expert.