Cutting corners in DIY

painter's trays and rollers on a drop cloth

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I need a hobby. Now that I don’t have the children’s sporting events to fill my time with concession stand snacks and conversation, I’ve found myself somewhat at a loss for things to do.


Sure, I dabble in yoga and enjoy book club (aka wine-drinking club). Nonetheless, I find myself with extra time on my hands, and that leads me to end up with paint on them. In the last 12 months, I have undertaken the revamp of no less than six rooms in our home. I don’t do any hard-core construction. On my own, I’m strictly about surface improvement.

Having waged war on wall-to-wall carpet, I’ve been slowly pulling it up throughout our home. I also like to off-load excess furniture or move existing items all throughout the house. We don’t so much buy new things as we move the old things all around the house.

I have one antique wooden carpenter’s box that has been in every room except the bathroom (it doesn’t fit. I tried). My specialty is low budget make-unders where I remove excess furniture to make spaces seem bigger.

Moving furniture

When we worked on BoyWonder’s attic lair during his trip to Australia, we removed no less than six large pieces of furniture. GirlWonder’s Handsome Boyfriend was a wonderful help during this time. I’m sure he had no idea when he fell for our daughter that “heavy lifting” would be a requirement of dating her.

He dutifully dragged furniture down from the attic to the barn (that’s four flights of stairs if you’re counting. Two of them curved). What can I say? She’s a very pretty girl. Now, just a few months later, we are working on our den and guest room.

So now, we asked Handsome Boyfriend to take a massive leather chair from the first-floor foyer and put it up in the attic. Bless his heart, he never pointed out that we had spent all that time a few weeks ago emptying the room. He knows that silence is golden. He never says no because he loves our daughter. The ability to parlay that into working for me has come in very handy indeed.

Thus, the boys (grown men both, but permit me my foibles), pulled, shoved, pivoted and finally removed the feet from the base to get a very large chair to fit through the not-very-large doorway and up a curved stairway.

After much huffing and puffing, the chair did end up in the attic, but it was a battle. Frankly, I think they would have pushed it right through a wall before they would have admitted defeat.

As the boys said, firmly, “that chair goes with the house now.”

Translation: it is never coming back down.

Paintthe partially-painted floor of a room in Kym Seabolt's house

I’ve been painting walls, floors, ceilings and more for over two decades. In all that time, I have really not gotten the least bit better at it. For me, it’s about will, not skill. The spirit is willing, but the patience is very weak. I don’t tape off much to trim. I just rely on a semi-steady hand. I don’t drop-cloth the floor. Who has time for that? I just try (and usually fail) to be neat.

I have never painted and not ended up with paint in my ponytail. Or, more succinctly, my ponytail in the paint. I recently wrote that I had discovered that my 1998 self had left the entire center of the attic floor (hidden by the carpet) unfinished. I was kind of peeved at 1998 Kym. Well, as it turns out, 2019 Kym is no better.

The guest room has a glossy grey floor with an unfinished circle in the center under a rug. There was a bed in the way. I painted around it. Still, I try to do a decent job. I even read up on the 27 steps involved to properly paint a floor, according to the internet.

Then, I used maybe six of those steps. Full disclosure: I actually used four but that just seems like a cry for help. Strip carpet. Vacuum floor. Scrub Floor. Paint. I could add “allow to dry” to grab another step, but watching paint dry seems a negligible accomplishment at best.

Despite cutting corners and working too fast, the entire project came together nicely, if I do say so myself.


I read a lot of decorating blogs. They often have catchy names such as “The Decorated Cottage,” “House of Style,” “The Creative Gardener” and so on.

I already have a site called because I am, after all, creative like that.

Nonetheless, I’ve decided that if I ever had a decorating site my blog name would be “The Sloppy Painter.” It’s best to just lead with the obvious.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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