23 June 2017

DO IT ... with a little help from the experts!


Thinking of embarking on some major redecoration plan, or just need a lock fitted on the loo door before Auntie comes to stay?

Us modern girls can happily turn our hand to a bit of DIY, and (if we've been watching enough home-improvement telly) have some idea on how to do the basics - in theory that is. But, it seems, however well laid your plans are, there is usually a nasty little stumbling block somewhere along the line. What starts out looking dead simple can quickly turn into a huge undertaking requiring plenty of shouting at your partner, highly fractious and bored children, plus several return trips to the DIY superstore.

Most women I know, and indeed most men, are not afraid of a bit of hard work. Getting stuck in, (nice and mucky, hot and sweaty) and seeing things change, can be great fun and very rewarding, but those frustrating moments where you just can't get on with the job - because you haven't got the right tools/skills/strength - can put you off completely. It might be great fun stripping off that horrible wallpaper, but what do you do when big lumps of wall come off with it? Choosing new light fittings can be a real shopping pleasure, but who is going to fit them? And yes, flat-packed furniture looks fab on display in the store, but will yours have wonky drawers after you have tried following the 'simple' 25-page home-assembly instructions?

The sensible thing to do is plan ahead and work out what exactly you want to achieve, and how much of it you can do on your own without extra or expert help. If you are on a tight budget, then separate your list into all the work you can do, and all the work you can't. For example, if you are redecorating and want to paint behind a radiator, you may need someone to take it off, then come back a few days later to replace it. With a bit more cash to spend, you can of course get away without doing any work yourself at all.

I must say I very am lucky, my husband is a big fan of boys' toys - drills, jigsaws, multimeters, spirit levels - he's got the lot and he knows how to use them. But is he here at two o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, when I really need him and his big toolbox? Sadly not. That's when I need to get a man in.

But not just any man, or, indeed, any woman. If someone is coming into your home to do some works, especially the potentially dangerous stuff such as gas and electrics, you need to know they are qualified, experienced, competent, trustworthy and, most importantly, insured. It would also be a nice extra if they can give you practical advice, ideas on the potential your home has for improvement - whether it be major structural changes or just where to put a power point - and that they are aware of the latest trends in design.

Fortunately for us, gone are the days of choosing blind from the Yellow Pages, not knowing if the carpenter/painter/plumber you pick will be the one who appeared in last night's episode of 'Homes from Hell' - that's if they turn up at all. One of the latest wonders in the age of home improvement are the multi-skill maintenance companies who can provide all the necessary trade-persons from just one company. They vet their workers, check personal and professional references, ensure that they have the correct insurance and are registered with professional bodies (such as Corgi for gas plumbers). These companies offer all sorts of skilled trade from carpentry, plumbers and painters through to electricians. Having the added security of knowing that the work is backed by a reputable company who will look after you, is what we have been waiting for. Natalie Cowell, the owner of men 2 mend understands exactly what is needed; The reason that we are so successful is that we work as a team with our customers, recognizing their fears and supporting their vision. We also understand that people enjoy their own DIY, but there are certain stages where they will need help."

So why not take the kids out for the day and return home to find all those pesky jobs finished? Instead of being put off by the jobs that you can't manage, start enjoying getting on with the ones you can, and leave the rest to the experts!

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