Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


June 8, 2014

Home projects in the summer

— — As every adult knows, summertime isn’t just three months of paradise once you buy a house. It is home improvement time, which is why the kitchen in our house is in shambles. We are updated the cabinets, the floor, the walls and a few other odds and ends. Well, the husband is doing the work; I am the assistant who gets to pick out the colors and then compliment the husband’s handy work. It is a win-win situation for the both of us. I did offer my painting services, but I am not so sure management is considering them.


Home improvement is big in the U.S. According the U.S. Census, homeowners spent $359 billion dollars during 2009-2001 on improvements. A complete breakdown includes $2,500 for bedrooms, $2,432 for bathrooms, $5,000 on kitchens and $3,000 on recreational rooms. More than 3.7 million Americans remodeled their kitchens and 18.8 million replaced floors, paneling and ceilings. Wow. Americans are making a lot of trips to the hardware stores. Now, my husband and I are one of those couples, spending our evenings and weekends picking out paint and tile.


Because of our new project, HGTV has become one of my favorite shows. I love watching people flip houses, argue over the color of the walls and try to find their dream home. It is easy to see  home improvement trends come to life on the small screen. Big bathrooms, bright kitchen and open concept floor designs are popular right now. My favorite show is “Property Brothers.” The first episode aired in 2011, but I just discovered the show two weeks ago. For those not familiar with the show, twin brothers help couples renovate a neglected home turning it into a dream home. The house is completely redone within four to six weeks. Unfortunately, nothing on the show applies to our real life home improvement projects. The timeline, materials and skill set is out of our reach. It is still fun to watch though and imaged what our little house could look like if “Property Brothers” worked their magic. I bet every viewer thinks the same thing about his or her house. Another reason why I find those shows unrealistic is the women walk through these houses in heels and boots, stepping over holes in the floor and the contractor’s equipment and materials. Oh, the magic of television.


Our kitchen is not functional right now. One must step around a step ladder, tools and cabinets. I can’t cook dinner, which isn’t such a bad thing. But coffee is a must. I figure I can always put the coffee maker in another room. Home improvement becomes a way of life for weeks, even months. Take-out dinner, a lot of caffeine, easy lunches and snacks become the normal routine. A home-cooked dinner is the celebration meal when all the tools are packed up and the kitchen is back together. In the middle or beginning of the project, it seems like you will never finish. My worse fear? That summer will turn into autumn before the last finishing touch.

I am not sure what to expect, as newlyweds, when it comes to home improvement. Right now, there is a sense of adventure and teamwork. (If you count my work as an assistant and color coordinator.) As a general rule, we seem to like different things  — from food to home decor. In the TV shows, it always works out in the end. Everyone comes out smiling and crying happy tears, right? If our home projects don’t turn us into an HGTV show, we will at least acquire patience, long-suffering, kindness, willingness and selfishness.  

Jamie Null is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at or on Twitter @BDTParsell.


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