From property overhauls to revarnishing tables and upcycling tricks: Meet the bloggers who show you how to do it all and save a fortune
- Meet the self-proclaimed ‘lady builder’ and star of Channel 5’s Half Built House, Sian Astley, 50, who is not afraid of tackling hefty home improvements
- Georgina Burnett’s website, The Home Genie, features video how-to guides on chalk painting, carpentry, sewing, upholstery and even laying floorboards
- IT worker and mum-of-three, Alice de Araujo’s blog, Simply The Nest, aims to encourage more women to get their hands dirty
- Medina Grillo’s blog, Grillo Designs, uses clear step-by-step pictures for projects including making a bench and wallpapering the kitchen floor
We aren’t all DIY experts. Some of us even shrink from putting together a bookcase from Ikea. But these days, with free advice at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not giving it a go.
From total home overhauls to re-varnishing tables, floor sanding and clever upcycling tricks, these bloggers will show you how to do it and save a fortune while you’re at it.
Ready for action: Alice de Araujo has a DIY blog simplythenest.com
Best for big jobs
Self-proclaimed ‘lady builder’ and star of Channel 5’s Half Built House and BBC1’s Getting The Builders In, Sian Astley, 50, is not afraid of tackling hefty home improvements.
Her blog, Moregeous (‘making stuff more gorgeous’) features everything from how to install underfloor heating to preventing black mould in the bathroom.
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‘Becoming good at DIY gives a real feeling of accomplishment,’ says Astley. ‘Drills, tools and building paraphernalia aren’t scary things.’
Following a series of interactive workshops in her own home, Astley is now working on a new BBC2 property series for 2019, involving virtual reality architecture, and will be appearing at The London Homebuilding & Renovating Show this weekend (September 21 to 23, ExCeL, London), moregeous.com
Best for upcycling
You may recognise Georgina Burnett from her day job as a BBC weather presenter and news reporter.
But her real passion is DIY. Burnett, 39, is a natural in front of the camera.
Her website, The Home Genie, features video how-to guides on chalk painting, carpentry, sewing, upholstery and even laying floorboards.
Dream team: Christine and Yan, the couple behind littlehouseonthecorner.com
Look out for guest appearances from her toddler, Bonnie, and cat, Dexter.
Burnett says: ‘My love of DIY goes back to early childhood when I was always making and painting things.
‘My mum jokes that my teenage rebellion was hiring a floor sander and secretly stripping the floorboards in my room when she was out.’
Burnett’s book The Street-wise Guide To Buying, Improving And Selling Your Home is out in April, 2019.
Best for DIY novices
IT worker and mum-of-three, Alice de Araujo appears on her blog, Simply The Nest, holding a power drill while wearing a net skirt.
Her aim is to encourage more women to get their hands dirty – and no project is too daunting.
‘My granddad was a carpenter – he taught my dad, who taught me,’ she says.
‘By the time I was ten, I knew how to handle a saw, a paintbrush and a screwdriver.’
The Eating Room, Osterley Park (see factbox below)
The blog details her love of upcycling old, unloved pieces of furniture, and contains thorough, easy-to-follow tips on renovation projects such as sanding, restoring and oiling original floorboards.
There’s even a blog on how to install an Ikea kitchen.
She says: ‘DIY is cheaper than hiring a professional, and it’s incredibly satisfying.’
Best for renters
The semi-permanent nature of renting can mean tenants are less likely to take on ambitious DIY projects.
STORY BEHIND THE EATING ROOM, OSTERLEY PARK
That’s grand: It’s the neo-classical Eating Room (dining room to you and I) at Osterley Park and House, a Georgian pile in West London.
Dramatic: The perfect backdrop, yes. It’s starring in ITV’s Vanity Fair which was partially filmed here.
Which character lives there? It’s the home of Lord Steyne, who is the patron of our leading lady Becky Sharp.
Who did it belong to in real life? The house was built in the 1570s by Sir Thomas Gresham and transformed for Sir Francis Child, a wealthy banker, by architect Robert Adam in the 1760s.
What are the decorations? Grapevines, wine ewers, ivy wreathed staves and other Bacchic emblems — all appropriate for an Eating Room.
Anything else? Art historian Horace Walpole described Osterley as the ‘palace of palaces’.
Can I visit? You can. Adult tickets are from £11.40, nationaltrust.org.uk
But Medina Grillo, part-time healthcare professional, part-time DIY enthusiast has some clever tricks up her sleeve.
Winner of last year’s Amara Award for best DIY and Home Improvement blog, Grillo Designs, uses clear step-by-step pictures for projects including making a bench and wallpapering the kitchen floor to cover up cheap lino.
‘I like to think that I have different ideas that aren’t too difficult for people to try,’ says 29-year-old Medina.
Best for realists
Husband and wife team Christine and Yan are not afraid of hard graft.
Their blog charts the successes, and failures, of renovating two homes, along with guides to large-scale DIY projects.
It’s a refreshing change from the many Instagram accounts offering ‘inspiration’ without acknowledging the hard work behind it.
Christine, in her mid-30s, says: ‘We both do the manual work.
‘The toughest project is sanding floors.
‘It’s not difficult, just physically hard work.
‘We also replaced our garage roof, which took an entire summer.’
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