This is the spiral staircase edition of DIY from Hell, and it begins with foolish optimism and ends in near divorce.
Let’s start with some background. Here it is. Or, here it was.
When I moved in with my husband, this is what remained of what I’m sure was once a glorious spiral staircase. This one made scary noises. The bottom step was held up by a book, and then by nothing. We added the mustache duct tape after a near fatal experience with our clumsy dog.
It was time to replace the spiral staircase. Riding high from our previous successes in painting and caulking and electrical work, we made a crucial error. We thought: Why not do it ourselves?
It is not enough just to live. It is not enough to be surrounded by four walls and a roof that only leaks a little at the seams and to fall asleep safe with the knowledge that it will take an especially strong boot to kick in the front door and take the Xbox that was worth something three years ago. It’s not enough to have cabinets that hold dishes accumulated over two decades of poor taste. Never mind that those cabinets work. Never mind that someone carefully selected them and assembled them and admired how they glowed there beneath the fluorescent light.
They needed to go. The Internet said so.
I moved in with my boyfriend recently and decided — in a move so uncharacteristic that I retch as I admit this — that I was one of those sledgehammer-wielding HGTV DIY ladies. I could measure things! I could paint! I could replace electric socket covers! I could paint!
I became an interior design expert in days. Which is how I came to decide that the kitchen cabinets just weren’t working. After we’d painted ceilings and walls and bought new lighting and replaced old blinds and said the word “treatments” while referring to windows, I took a look at our tiny kitchen and its butterscotch cabinets and shook my head. No. Something had to be done here.