Homegirl readers: Here’s a chance to share your “creeping project” stories. Or: What’s your record number of trips to the hardware store for a single project?
My sister calls it “Project Creep.” I call it Project Runaway.” It’s fun, maddening and time-consuming. Every homeowner knows the game. It starts innocently, with a new set of pillows, perhaps, and then suddenly, you spend three weekends mixing concrete.
My little story opened with a shower curtain and ended with a mini bathroom makeover.
One afternoon I griped about the dated shower roller doors on the tub. They’re awkward, and the tracks are impossible to clean. Shower curtains seem fresher and brighter.
That comment was the key, unleashing the handyman who is my husband.
The shower doors came off and we coaxed away layers of caulk. A new shower curtain on a bar mounted to the ceramic tile looked stunning.
Oops. The curtain is too long for the space. Better hem it. Oops, I hemmed it too much.
Look at that toilet. It’s wasting water. Let’s get a more efficient one. Installation was a breeze. So was the new sink faucet that we really didn’t need but made the room oh-so -spiffy. Yikes. A leak. New shutoff valves. More trips to the neighborhood hardware store. No sweat.
We studied the light fixture. Picture it: A 48-inch strip with eight round bare bulbs glaring over a huge mirror. Very Hollywood dressing room. We hated it. But we were hemmed in by the footprint, and we found a similar, but barely more stylish, fixture to fit the same spot.
Swapping it out? No problem, right?
Wrong. The light fixture came off easily because it was improperly mounted, without a junction box, just nailed to the wall, wires fished through a large hole in the plaster.
Our momentum stopped, and the lights went dim. Big sigh.
My husband: “I think we should cancel those picnic plans tomorrow. This is going to be a lot more involved than I hoped.”
But on the bright side, we could remove the wallpaper from under the fixture, patch and repaint and pick a light we really love.
And so it went: three more trips to Menard’s. Three more trips to the neighborhood hardware. Several calls to a relative who offered ingenious ways to repair the hole, all while sighing deeply. We used the bathroom heat lamp/timer as a light fixture as we waited for the plaster to dry. We admired our “new” bathroom, choosing to ignore the scruffy oak vanity.
In the meantime, my husband ripped out the floorboards under the kitchen sink (“they smelled funny”) and wants to replace the toilet seat and hardware in our basement bath. Let the creep begin anew.
Holly Collier Willmarth, guest "Home Girl"