Saturday, June 20, 2009

Doing It Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional...

aka "Hissing and Spitting 101."

You know, I've never been one to avoid doing things myself, but I'm more than happy to admit when I'm over my head.

I don't know much about blinds, other than my mom always used 3 Day Blinds. I did too, until they went out of business. I never had a problem with them.

I went around and around looking for a source for blinds. I was thrilled beyond measure to go to Lowe's on Thursday, and walk out with a set of real wood, oak-stained blinds, cut to measure. I was a bit nervous about the measuring part - if you've ever heard my trunk show, you know I have a serious measuring problem - but I thought that if we went 1/4" bigger, we'd be fine. As it turned out, I was right. sort of.

First off, I got home with the blinds and couldn't find the installation instructions. Trip #2 to Lowe's, to get a new copy. I eventually found the original, which was good, because the replacement was for a different kind of blinds.

But hey, I've installed blinds before. How hard can it be? Stop smirking.

Trip #3 to Lowes, to get a 1/16" drill bit, because Pete's seems to be missing...along with most of his drill bits, and his phillips head screwdriver, which I didn't discover until AFTER I drilled the holes. And found out that the screws included with the blinds were too long to screw into my window frame.

I'm tired of Lowe's, so let's take a trip to Orchard Supply. This is where I got the wrong-colored paint. I took that paint with me, to show them. She had several cans lined up, all with the same problem. One customer had ordered an aqua blue and received a distinctly green aqua paint. Something is messed up with their computerized paint machine. I'm sticking with the color I ended up with, but if I gain 15 pounds, I'm blaming them. I suddenly have a continual craving for coffee ice cream.

Anyway, back to OSH, where I bought screws and phillips head screwdrivers. (I bought one for myself, AND an extra set of drill bits, so that when I need them I will be able to find them. I going to hide them. No one will know...)

woohoo! I put the blinds up, they fit, they look ... not so great. And they don't fit either.

The window is narrower at the base than it is at the top, so although the top fit, the last 12" scraped the sides of the window opening. Not only that, but the side of the blind slats that show? On both sides they are splintered and ugly. The back is nice and smooth. Phooey on that!

This morning I packed them up again and marched back to Lowe's. (We're talking trip #5, to get these things hung.) I asked her to shave off 1/4" (she ended up cutting 1/4" from each side), and I asked her to cut them in the other direction, to avoid the splintering. no can do. It's a one-way machine. The fronts of the slats are still splintered. This afternoon, I will sand and stain the edges, to see if I can make it less noticeable. (I paid how much for this aggrevation?!!)

Here's another benefit of having the blinds cut a second time. I would never make such a knotty mess of the cords. It took me about 20 minutes to unravel this. arg.

Here's a picture of the current state of the cords - I braided them to keep them from tangling. I hate tangled cords! ;)

Did I mention that they can cut the width of the blinds, but adjusting the length is up to the buyer? It's true. I just spent the last two hours cutting off the bottom 12" of the blinds, following their step by step instructions. Unfortunately, I'm still one slat too many. Am I going to fix it? Are you kidding me?

Here's what my view is now like, from the sewing room.

Here's what it looks like inside. Since I have so much time on my hands, I'm going to repaint the sandbar white walls with semi-gloss. Does anyone else get the feeling that this studio creation is an exercise in futility? ;)

I need something to make me smile. How about a picture of my Joy Boy? This is Adam, taken last month. In his position, I would be freaking out, but he knows how to have a good time, no matter WHAT his circumstance!

As to the title of the post? Which is better? dyi or hiring someone? In my current state of mind, I'm totally understanding why people allow their homes to sink into disrepair. Neither option has been particularly enjoyable, although I have to say, having something/anything DONE does feel good...


Karin Miller said...

3 Day Blinds is still in business and remains the leading retail manufacturer of custom blinds, shades and shutters in the United States.

They operate 20 showrooms in major markets and employ over 200 full-time design consultants that provide free in-home design consultations that include measuring and a quote. 3 Day Blinds makes most of the products that they sell in a company-owned factory, and products are really custom-manufactured and delivered within 3 days!

Free in-home design consultations can be scheduled by calling 800-800-3329 or by going to their website

Suzanne Kistler said...

re: Karin Miller's comment:

Maybe so, but not in Visalia. The door was locked during business hours and a large "for lease" sign was in the window.

Karin Miller said...

Suzanne, It is true that the Visalia store closed, but 3 Day Blinds does have Design Consultants in your city.

Over the last year, 3 Day Blinds has put much more emphasis on the shop-at-home channel and have greatly increased the number of Design Consultants in the markets previously served by retail stores. They're finding that this is a better way to provide a good, full-service customer experience that includes design advice, measuring, fast manufacturing (in their own factory) and installation.