Hello, my name is Mia; Alla DIY Ally is my mother and I have been consulting with her recently in the process of moving into a new studio apartment in lower Manhattan. Although some of its aspects were very outdated, as a renter with a budget even smaller than my NYC closet space, remodeling was out of the question. With the help of Home Depot and DIY Ally inspiration I was able to make some affordable and impactful changes.
I am a fashion designer. As a little girl, I was often compared to my mother, being told that I “have my mother’s genes.” To which I would jokingly reply: “My mom’s jeans don’t fit me.” I think it is safe to say that I have grown into them. Growing up with an architectural DIYer fostered my creativity. One of my mom’s books DIY Like a Hummingbird addresses raising creative children, and I would like to think that I am proof that her methods work.
Promoting DIY Ally is not the point
I am not here to promote my mom’s books, although I have read them and do recommend that design enthusiasts of all ages do the same. What I am really here to discuss is my recent DIY Ally inspired project.
Prior to moving in, I made a trip to the empty studio apartment and made a list of things I wanted to change
I had to think of the big picture and really focus. At first, all I could see was the beige speckled linoleum flooring, which at the time appeared ghastly to my design-obsessed eye. I had to come to terms with the floor and focus on manageable changes.
Six things stuck to me the most:
- cheap, flashy gold-colored cabinet pulls
- an uninviting florescent light in the kitchen
- a rusty, minuscule shower head
- an oxidized, to the point of being black, shower curtain rod
- a faucet in the bathroom that reminded me of an airport
- light switches and electrical outlets that were tan… against bright white walls (why??)
I was able to tackle all of these concerns in one efficient Home Depot run
To be honest, I was never a fan of Home Depot as it always felt overwhelming, but since reading about DIY Ally positive experiences, I was not intimidated and ready to conquer. I started out with the cabinet pulls because those were just a matter of picking out the ones I thought were the cutest.
For the light fixtures I decided to go with a round LED flush mount because of its simple design and energy efficiency. Not having to change light bulbs? Yes please! The shower curtain rod was also a no-brainer, as there was only a single option for a permanent mount style.
Choosing a shower head presented more of a challenge. I wanted something simple and large, but I wasn’t finding it. Everything had all these different settings and colors, which just was not for me. After going up and down the aisle I found what I was looking for. In this department, I learned that I would have to spend a little bit more money. There is such a wide range in the price of showerheads. Since I was very set on my criteria (size and minimal) I decided to go with a single-setting $34.98 option in lieu of a more economical model.
The next order of business was the sink faucet. The existing faucet had a single knob to turn from hot to cold, but I wanted one that had a separate knob for each temperature. Here the friendly staff at Home Depot were really helpful because they could tell the size of faucet that I needed by looking at a photograph I showed them. Of course, the sizes are standard, but I probably would have bought one that was too large had I been left to my own devices.
The final item on my list brought me to the electric section. I was assisted by Lee. He was extraordinarily helpful. I wanted to switch out my flick light switches and circular outlets to flat rectangular switches and flat outlets respectively. Lee showed me all of the parts that I needed to purchase in order to make those changes. And he encouraged me to get the premium covers because they are virtually unbreakable and only cost a little bit more. The parts to switch out an entire studio apartment worth of outlets, switches, and covers cost somewhere around $10.
My experience was friendly, easy, affordable, and designer-ly satisfying. A few days later, I hired a handy man to come in and make all of the changes and adjustments. I am absolutely thrilled with the results. I cannot really explain why, but the new outlets and light switches make a world of difference. I kid you not, I no longer see the vinyl flooring because I am busy admiring the new outlets and switches!
So to conclude, whether you live in a studio apartment or a chateau, I highly recommend changing up small details for maximum impact. Make a list, check it twice, and take advantage of the ever so capable, more than willing to help associates at Home Depot. Also, even if she is not your mom, Alla is an amazing DIY Ally for projects big and small.