DIY VS Getting The Professionals In

Because so many of you have been asking me behind the scenes questions about doing up our home, and the pros and cons of diy versus getting the professionals in, I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to explaining what works for me.

Modern Country Living Room
This is post is not meant to be the Ten Commandments, not any kind of final authority, it’s just my thoughts on how I manage this process, renovating three properties (I’ve included some of those rooms in this post from here and here), as well as helping many, many clients with their own homes.

First and foremost, my top recommendation is that you have a weighing session. Feeling confused? Let me explain. 

 Modern Country Bedroom

Start the process by thinking carefully about your budget. This doesn’t have to be spreadsheet-accurate: no breakdown of figures necessary, but a rough estimate on how much you’d like to spend on a specific project, and then the same for your whole house.

 Modern Country Dining Room

Then you need to come to terms with the fact that you, unless you’re Bill Gates or Madonna (Is that really you? Reading my blog? Why, thank you!), have a limited budget. Not necessarily a small budget, but a budget that has a cap on it at some point, whether that’s tens or hundreds or thousands or gazillions!

 Modern Country kitchen

 Now that you know you’re budget restrictions (and, as I’ve said almost everyone has them so don’t feel bad!), you need to be honest with yourself about your ideal timescale for the renovations. This will vary a lot depending on the current state of your home.

 Modern Country Bedroom

There’s a big difference between cobbling together a home life in a property that’s barely habitable, versus living in a home that just isn’t exactly  to your tastes. The first needs quick attention before your emotional capabilities dry up, but the second depends entirely on you, your family and your patience levels.

 Modern Country shower room

Can you live with a house that has peeling wallpaper? an you live in a house that has odd stains in unexpected places? Can you live in a house that doesn’t reflect who you are?

And for how long?

And this is when your weighing process needs to come in.

Our  Modern Country family room

When your budget doesn’t match up to the speed with which you want your home to be complete then it’s time to flex those muscles and get your tools out.

Make this process as lovely as possible, if there’s going to be a lot of it, by buying tools that are going to be a pleasure to work with. Has anyone seen a sexier hammer than this one from Engelbert Strauss? Leather handle? Hello, sailor! Engelbert Strauss sell all manner of beautiful tools that I’m currently coveting; wooden-handled brushes that look so good they fall into the category of art!
Peddinghaus Master Hammer 5130 Leather

I think it’s worth saying though that work that I’d ALWAYS pay for someone to come in, even if it means slowing down the project until we save our pennies, includes:






My skills just don’t match theirs – plus there’s often legal restrictions on what you can and can’t do with some of these areas.

Our Modern Country Living Room

Work we’ve done ourselves (and been pleased with!!)

decorating (this takes practice but when you can get do it well it’s a huge money saver)

preparation work (sanding and filling – what a bore!)

garden work

sanding floors

varnishing floor

demolishing non-load bearing walls

removing paint

fiddly little jobs

Modern Country Living Room
Remember this gorgeousness from English Fireplaces? Still up there in my Holy Grail of fireplaces: amazing quality and such good value! In fact, I’m wondering about their Bolection with Cushion mantelpiece for when we get to tackle our epic bathroom transformation. See, I always have another project on the go in my head!

There! That’s my process…and I hope it helps you on your way to phoning the right trades person, OR that it keeps you motivated to give that little bit extra and aim to get your home finished that little bit faster.

Take Care Until Next Time


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