If you’ve poked around our other blog posts or Facebook page at all, you know that we love DIY. So when we found an amazing DIYer, Cristin Frank, with a great blog over at Eve of Reduction – covering everything from upcycling to crafting and frugal living – we knew she’d be fun to interview! Check out her responses to our questions below to get her take on some cool projects, along with some great tips and inspiration.
What is the most impactful DIY update you’ve completed in your home?
Last summer I took the plunge to reupholster 2 couches in our family room. The fabric was beat from 10 years of raising little boys, but the quality of the structure was really great. Honestly, I was really nervous about such an undertaking, so I started with recovering the pillows since I felt confident there. Once I could see the transformation taking place, I knew I was committed to seeing it through. I love having such unique couches, and I’m really proud of such a big job.
What was your biggest DIY “fail,” or least favorite project, if any? In comparison, do you have any major DIY successes that you’re especially proud of?
I bought a pair of leather chairs at an estate sale for $10 each. They were probably 40 years old and had been in the basement. I thought it was going to be an easy reupholster job, but when I got into it, the leather was all dry-rotted. It was extremely difficult to remove. I felt like I was contaminating my house with all the dust fibers coming out of it. What a mess! I had to abandon the project and cut my losses.
Many of your projects focus on upcycling, ranging from reupholstering furniture to repurposing curbside finds. How did you get into the world of serious DIY and begin tackling these kinds of things? Have you always had a knack for it?
Repurposing and upcycling furniture was something I did out of necessity when I got married and moved into my home. I talk about this in my book, “Living Simple, Free & Happy,” as it was a major part of my journey to becoming debt-free. When faced with a mortgage, student loans and a car payment, my husband and I were not about to go more in debt furnishing our home. So we took whatever we could get for free or cheap and made it into what we needed and wanted.
Do you have any tips for other home DIYers who might be intimidated to try things out themselves?
Start with something you don’t care about. It’s easy to garbage pick a chair or salvage something from a thrift store. Use these pieces to test out your jigsaw and painting techniques. Once you feel comfortable, move on to small items in your home.
Seeming like the type to upgrade something you already own rather than buy a new one, have you ever done a makeover on any of your appliances?
Not exactly. My boys and I restored a chrome bread box that was covered in rust spots. I have, however, seen stainless steel contact paper that can be used on appliances, which I thought was very attractive.
Have you ever attempted a DIY appliance repair? If so, what was it and how did it go?
About 6 months ago our hot water tank was not working and I was suffering through cold showers. In the meantime we had a plumber do some work in our home and he noticed our water wasn’t heating up, so he took a look and gave us an estimate for a new tank. Since our tank was only about 5 years old, my husband and I looked into repairing it. Through You Tube videos we were successful in doing so. Actually, the “repair” was just cleaning the heat sensor.
What is your favorite part about improving, fixing, and making things over on your own?
I love things that are unique and different, but I also love when people come over and notice the personal touches.
Do you have any other tips or ideas you’d like to share about being creative and DIYing at home to make the most out of your space and your wallet?
When a need arises, it helps to look around at what you already have. Chances are you have something that’s underutilized in one room that could be cleaned up and put to use in another. It’s fun to get creative with what you already have because it’s like getting new stuff with little cost. The process also gives you a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
That’s it for this round. We greatly appreciate Cristin’s time in doing this interview, so take a second to check out her profiles around the web, and keep an eye out for more DIY fun!
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