Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter… on DIY

‘A quarter of couples who start a DIY project admit to an argument, like just one? That has to be an understatement’

A masked-up Roisin rediscovering her enthusiasm, if not skill, for painting and decorating

Sunday World

Families who paint together stay together — at least until the woodwork has dried.

Who needs therapy, counselling and relationship fine-tuning when you can decorate a room together and survive?

I recently stepped back into my big girl painting pants for a long overdue assault on our living room and learned a few valuable life lessons in the process. The most important one is that I can’t paint.

Fortunately, my husband’s a professional in that area, so the other valuable lesson is that in the presence of an expert, you do what you’re told and then make the tea.

I was the Brooklyn Beckham to his Heston Blumenthal (with occasional appearances by shouty Gordon Ramsay), desperate to make the complicated main course but really only talented enough to peel the spuds. When he handed me a two-inch brush with the message that I could do less damage with it, he was entirely accurate.

As a mean self-manicurist, the notion that it’s just a matter of scaling up from glossy nails to an entire room didn’t last long — after twenty seconds, the paint was on me, on the handle and on the floor, with occasional visits to where it should have been.

Attempts to wash out a gloss roller looked like I’d painted the kitchen sink. It turns out the roller, along with my T-shirt and rubber gloves, were disposable. I blamed management communication.

A recent survey by UK trade directory Checkatrade revealed that DIY disasters regularly cost the price of a week’s holidays to repair, over a third of households have an unfinished job, and 30pc of cases result in injury — on this occasion, it was only to my feelings.

A quarter of couples who start DIY together also admit to an argument, which must be a gross understatement.

According to US company Porch, the biggest sources of DIY discontent are jobs involving electricity and gas. If your other half is trying to cheap out on electric and gas repairs, it’s time to reconsider your life choices before they suggest an at-home appendectomy.

Every peek online about decorating comes with a story of a couple who’ve skilfully transformed a room using just an old bedsheet, some Blu Tack and a recycled school art project.

We went hardcore with a total ground-up overhaul not attempted since BC (before children) and starting with sanding the wooden floor back to its unvarnished glory. There were so many plumes of dust, it looked like we were electing a pope from behind masks which haven’t moved on much since World War II.

In my years of being the DIY lackey, I have never enquired if the walls and ceiling need to be brushed, with an actual floor brush.

After the dusting on a grand scale came the cleaning on a micro-scale, which was oddly satisfying — poking decades-worth of crud and dead spiders out from underneath the skirting board — Mrs Hinch eat your unsoiled heart out.

I didn’t even complain when the sugar soap was handed over with the instruction to wash everything that wasn’t walls. If the dog had stood still long enough, she’d have got a once over with the gloriously named product.

Back in the day, we’d have bickered our way through it. This time it was a case of gritted — and occasionally gritty — teeth, and it’s done.

There may be a few issues ahead during the management appraisal, but it’s lovely.

I’m just debating when to mention that the hall needs doing next.


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