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being my own client, architect on demand, advice without strings

On the one hand, I love being my own client. On the other, the experience of building for myself (my family’s own use) is quite unnerving. I live for it, but as soon as I embark on the actual construction of a project, I get anxious. It happens every single time.

The dream is becoming a reality. Yet, it’s the “moment” that takes weeks, even months. I’m nervous about the outcome. Of course it’s counter-productive, but living in the now in the middle of a project is easier said than done. I can’t help, but feel apprehensive. Instead of focusing on the present, I am stressed out about the future. So many details might not come out quite the way I envisioned.

To combat the sense of dread, I am constantly reminding myself that it’s self-defeating. I try to be mindful and devise multiple ways to calm the nerves.

Not to be completely overwhelmed, I stay ahead of every trade and plan for subsequent steps. Obviously, everything does start with a plan. A floor plan. And a list of daily goals.

Being my own client and calling the shots can actually be fun! I can utilize The Home Depot for the plumbing solutions that fit my budget, IKEA for gadgets, and Menorah Wholesale for specialty electric supplies. I can shop at Porcelanosa to get the best deal on the tile.

The exciting part of it is that my mental image is being materialized. No one else knows of all the intricate details that will come together at the end. Of course, it’s nerve-wracking. OK. Let me stay on track.

Being my own client is a challenge I take seriously

Back to the plan. At the very beginning, I list the steps and all the trades that have to show up in a well-choreographed sequence. Every subsequent one depends on the previous.


Build new bathroom with toilet, shower, sink, and sauna

  • Demolish existing
  • Dig a trench
  • Continue with sewer & gas line
  • New framing
  • Rough plumbing
  • Rough electrical
  • Concrete prep
  • Steel structure / toilet enclosure
  • Tile Installation / install channel for built-in glass
  • Drywall
  • Painting
  • Sauna Installation
  • Shower glass
  • Doors (including the sliding)
  • Install wood in the steel frame of the toilet enclosure
  • Finish plumbing
  • Finish electrical

Build new storage wall

Install wood floor in the Garden Room

Install mini-kitchen + Pantry

Finish built-ins in the Garden Room


being my own client

Besides bringing all of the sub-contractors one after another, I have to order/buy all the fixtures, hardware, and appliances. There comes another list and schedule. Researching things on the Internet is extremely helpful. For instance, a corner shower curtain rod by ShowerAuthority was a great find. I ordered a 60 inch fully assembled mini-kitchen from Compact Appliance. Never saw it in person. It’s being delivered from Texas.

The list goes on. Staying ahead of ordering times and delivery dates is key.

Being my own client gives me an opportunity to experiment. I love that. But I have to brace myself, as the process is such that from something pristine in my mind’s eye, it has to turn into a huge mess associated with construction before it emerges as something close enough to what I’ve been anticipating. Every day brings me closer. Patience.


  • Mia Kazovsky
    January 4, 2017

    The work that you have done as your own client really shows how seriously you take your job! Your personal projects are an extraordinary showcase of your work.

    • Alla DIY Ally
      January 6, 2017

      I love getting your comments, dochen’ka!!! You are always so generous with your praise. Thank you, Mia!

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