HGTV started as a good idea. The hosts, often a female and her male counterpart, would walk viewers through the process of replacing bathroom tile, installing a stone façade to a fireplace, or converting an electric stove to gas. They would go from demo to completed project in one hour.
This inspired those of us who weren’t fluent in construction-speak. We would finally get those textured walls, granite countertops, and wood floors. Only this time, we could do it ourselves! No more waiting for subcontractors to show up. No more ridiculously high construction costs. It felt like a burning bra moment. Or at the very least a “take your bra off at the end of the day” moment.
So, it started. The aisles of local hardware stores were filled with weekend warriors of every shape, size, and age. It was a sight to see. The determination and positivity were contagious.
Need a new toilet? Aisle 10.
Sand and finish hardwood floors? Aisle 22
New cabinets? Aisle 24-30
Drywall? Are you kidding? Get an expert for this one.
The associates were on hand to offer advice and sometimes — like the time I planned to install a tile backsplash — discouragement. “Maybe start smaller,” she said. “How about taking one of our complimentary classes?” I could probably teach that class. I’d been watching HGTV as long as it took me to get my undergrad. I was practically an expert.
Then I learned the way in which I prefer to learn most life lessons … the hard way.
First, I bought a discontinued tile pattern because it was on sale. So, I saved the money on installation AND supplies. Brilliant, right? No. No, it wasn’t.
Second, doesn’t matter.
To make a long story short, I ran out of tile because I miscut so many. I miscut so many because I’d never used a tile saw before. Since the tile I used was discontinued, I couldn’t find any. I looked everywhere.
I had a backsplash that was three-quarters of the way finished.
After all that showboating. Buying the tile, grout, tools, renting a saw, I failed. I had to do the one thing those little twits on HGTV never have to do — call in the experts.
My expert showed up on time, surveyed the mess I’d made, and promised to have it all replaced with a new (not discontinued) tile by the weekend. That was just 48 hours away. I didn’t believe him at first. 90 minutes later, I walked into the kitchen where my backsplash, along with the drywall it was attached to, was gone. It took 90 minutes to demo what took me 10 days and 90 hours to build. As promised, 48 hours later, my new backsplash was complete. It looked perfect. It looked professional. It looked like I had nothing to do with the installation … the way God intended. My money-saving weekend project eventually cost me more than twice what it should have. Thanks a lot, Joanna Gaines!
Just like fat-free cookies made many of us think we’d finally found the secret to weight loss, HGTV makes us believe we are professional contractors and designers. In the end, though, the cookies just made us fat.
Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Becky Andrews and Angel Kane. This column is Becky’s.