Here is a list of thing we would have done differently, had we known better. This list could also be titled, "I have never done this before. What do you expect?"
- Don't buy the cheapest tools or materials. There is a reason that foam paintbrush is 99 cents. It's because you will have to throw it away after you use it. If you are doing it yourself, you're hiring VERY unskilled labor. So do yourself a favor and spend an extra $4 on the caulk gun.
- For God's sake, put down a drop cloth. Cleaning up a project is worse than doing a project. It takes 5 minutes and saves you hours of scrubbing or scrapping. See also- taping the edges.
- The guys at the hardware store have a lot of opinions and know quite a bit. In that order. Take their suggestions with a grain of salt. Then blame them when the project goes awry. Which it will.
- Keep your receipts. You will return a good 20% of what you buy, which adds up. Your husband will not believe this. But it's true. Or at least a comforting idea.
- If you have a non-traditional idea and three contractors laugh at you or look at you like you're high, find a fourth contractor. Your idea is worth it.
- The scrap yard and recycling center are the greatest places on Earth. But what you save in materials you will almost certainly spend trying to make the cool thing that you bought actually fit where you want it to in your building. That's OK. Just know that from the beginning.
- Listening to the entire Tribe Called Quest discography, from "Bonita Applebaum" to "The Love Movement," is the only way to survive a day of tiling.
- The most important decision you will make throughout this entire project is selecting your DIY partner. Pick someone who works differently than you, has different ideas, and different talents. Pick someone who, despite these differences, respects your perspective and sometimes lets you have your way. If possible, marry this person. The rest will figure itself out.