The home improvement projects our readers did in quarantine


2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

It began with organising a house workplace, then progressed to cleansing out the closets. Fairly quickly, we have been repainting that spare bed room and planting a backyard. By midsummer, we have been including a deck or renovating the kitchen. Lumber grew to become as treasured as alcohol wipes. This has been a 12 months for residence enhancements.

Final winter, we launched our Yearbook to salute new retailers and merchandise. In 2020, we’re dedicating it to readers’ renovation plans. We asked you to tell us what projects—giant or small, low-cost fixes or main investments—gave you pleasure within the midst of this chaotic 12 months. Listed below are a few of our favourite tales. Submissions have been condensed and edited for house and readability.

Price key
$ <$500
$$ $501–5,000
$$$ $5,zero01–20,000
$$$$ >$20,zero01

The Shed

My husband is a really artful individual, as our cluttered storage proves. Since I’d like to begin parking in there once more, I informed him that I’d assist construct a shed. I wasn’t the best helper due to the summer time warmth, to not point out I completely hate mosquitoes and any form of bugs. At some point, I used to be holding the ladder regular, however I used to be so busy fanning off bugs and wiping the burning sweat from my eyes that I let go. Lord, my husband misplaced his stability and fell off the ladder. I truthfully thought he had damaged his again the best way he simply lay there with out transferring. Thank God, he was simply shocked and had no damaged bones. Evidently, I haven’t been on ladder responsibility since that incident. We (as in my husband) are within the last levels of constructing the shed, and I’m counting down the times till I’ve my storage again!

—Patrice McQueen, Pittman Park [$$]

The Household Backyard

This previous winter, after breaking a contract on a home with an enormous yard in Druid Hills, we determined to decide to our present residence and create a yard that might work for our household, although our home is on a small, nonconforming lot in Reynoldstown. We had interviewed 5 panorama architects, however no one appeared to “get it.” So, we determined to go it alone—although my uncle, who has labored with distinguished panorama designers like [Dutch garden designer] Piet Oudolf, agreed to seek the advice of remotely from Chicago. We created a birch-and-boulder grove impressed by a Swedish forest (we’re residents of that nation) however utilizing native crops and a meadow impressed by Lurie Gardens in Chicago.

We planted greater than 1,000 native bushes, grasses, and wildflowers to draw wildlife; constructed a pergola and a masonry hearth; and erected a playhouse for our youngsters. We put in boulders for the children to climb on and tried to combine the “play” options seamlessly into the backyard. Since we each earn a living from home, and our young children had no childcare, we spent an hour or two every night time after they went to sleep digging, sawing, and nailing our little imaginative and prescient collectively. Though nerve-racking and intensely troublesome at instances, our undertaking proved to be the proper distraction from the more and more dire information we noticed every day. Out within the yard, with a shovel or a hammer in our palms and nothing however the music of cicadas and tree frogs, we have been capable of fully overlook in regards to the world outdoors, if just for a couple of hours. We now have the proper place for our youngsters to play, and the brand new plantings have already attracted wildlife in droves. I had by no means seen a monarch butterfly in my 12 years in Reynoldstown, and this 12 months, we watched greater than two dozen caterpillars turn out to be butterflies. We have now new species of birds visiting (together with hummingbirds!) and clouds of butterflies hovering over the Joe Pye weed.

—Paul Vranicar, Reynoldstown [$$$]

The Treehouse

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

We had a treehouse constructed for our youngsters’ seventh and 10th birthdays this summer time. We have now a small yard that’s principally concrete, as a result of it’s the place my husband and I park our automobiles. We didn’t have room for a swing set or trampoline, however we did have a huge magnolia tree. I’d been occupied with a treehouse for a few years, because it’s the one factor that may actually match, and with the children spending a lot time at residence throughout the pandemic, we determined to go for it. We have been intimidated by the planning/design course of, so we employed a neighborhood handyman (a furloughed neighborhood dad who had began a small-jobs mini-empire throughout the pandemic) and had it constructed over a few days in August. My youngsters would exit day-after-day after (digital) college to take a look at the progress and chat up or cheer on the employees. Now, they lastly have their very own little hideout, they usually like it.

—Jennifer Marquez, Ormewood Park [$$]

The Cottage Revamp

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

In summer time 2018, I actually wished a wall planter from Ikea that was out of inventory, and my husband, Jeff, informed me he might construct it. This was information to me as a result of he had by no means constructed something in his life, now we have no work house, and our solely instruments have been hand-me-downs from my dad. However a couple of (properly, many) journeys to House Depot later, I had the wall planter of my desires, and we have been hooked. Final winter, we constructed a fake hearth to cover a TV in the lounge, “leveling up” our sport (tiling was concerned). So, when the pandemic hit, we knew we would have liked to get to House Depot and get ourselves a protracted undertaking to maintain us busy. We love our 1921 home within the O4W, and we attempt to honor its age and origin with each change we make. In March and April we changed each little bit of baseboard, door trim, and crown molding with conventional, federalist-style woodwork. Then got here the large undertaking: the bar. As in all O4W houses, the entrance of our home was a porch. Throughout one quarantine day, Jeff stated, “I’ll wager there’s brick below the drywall within the entrance of the home.” Off got here the drywall and, to our shock, we found a window! The window grew to become the guts of the bar design. I began sketching an L-shaped bar with built-in shelving (the previous window). We’re nonetheless a pair weeks out from ending however then, it’s on to the following undertaking! We’re having a lot enjoyable instructing ourselves woodworking and bettering our previous residence alongside the best way. We are able to’t wait till it’s protected to have individuals over once more and serve them drinks at our new bar and sit in our lounge across the hearth!

—Anna Cullen, Outdated Fourth Ward [$$]

The $400 Lavatory Renovation

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

At age 26, I purchased my first home (thrilling!), but it surely was and nonetheless is an older residence/fixer higher. I completely love my home, but it surely’s no secret that it’s going to take slightly work with the intention to attain its full potential. Whereas I do know it’s going to take money and time to get some issues mounted and up to date, one factor I’m not keen to attend on is an honest rest room. After strolling previous my ugly and outdated rest room day-after-day, I lastly determined sufficient was sufficient. I took issues into my very own palms and did a DIY rest room renovation with a $400 price range. Fortunately, I used to be capable of finding tile on sale at Lowe’s, so I tiled my very own rest room ground with a easy, but fairly, white honeycomb tile. I resurfaced the rusted bathtub with a Rust-oleum resurfacing equipment and repainted the tile partitions. There’s a liquidation retailer in my neighborhood that sells deeply discounted furnishings and residential home equipment, the place I used to be capable of finding an attractive new self-importance sink and self-importance gentle for below $150. After slightly onerous work and assist from my dad, I now have a considerably new rest room! I truly had plenty of enjoyable tiling my very own rest room ground. (All my mates need me to point out them the best way to do it now.) Each time I stroll previous, it brings me prompt pleasure to see how vivid and clear it seems in comparison with the way it was after I first purchased my residence.

—Bianca White, East Level [$]

The Stenciled Porch

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

We painted and stenciled a star tile sample on our porch, then lined the porch in crops to create a tropical oasis. It was a undertaking I’d at all times wished to do, and, with so many free weekends, we lastly have been capable of do it. Now, we sit on the market each night time.

—Courtney Dubus, East Lake [$]

The New Staircase

I’ve by no means preferred the staircase on this 17-year-old home. It’s distracting and appears misplaced. Having the time at house is why we determined to provide it a facelift. We painted the stained wooden handrails and newell posts black to match present iron balusters, added wainscoting to the supporting wall, then painted each the paneling and stair risers white. Lastly, we put a darkish stain on the prevailing wood stair treads. It was a dramatic and simple replace!

—Meg Reggie, Sandy Springs [$]

The Closet Workplace

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

I turned the closet in my second visitor room into an workplace house in order that I might cease working at my eating desk. The closet is seven ft broad, so it supplied loads of house for a butcher block desktop and two cabinets. I added a daring wallpaper for a pop of colour. If I go away it messy—no drawback! I simply shut the doorways. The very best a part of my new workplace is that my pug, Emmy Lou, likes to snuggle below the desk subsequent to my ft whereas I work.

—Laura Moody, East Atlanta [$$]

The Loft

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

I moved to Edgewood from Beaufort, South Carolina, in April. I offered 99 p.c of the furnishings together with my residence and acquired a loft about half the dimensions of my home. Since I purchased and offered within the midst of a pandemic, the transfer was fairly difficult. I moved to Atlanta as a result of my son and his household stay in Decatur, and I’ve at all times wished to expertise the city life-style once more. (I grew up in NYC.) Discovering a loft in an previous warehouse constructing in Edgewood actually impressed me to furnish my new digs with an eclectic industrial, trendy fashion. I wasn’t capable of go to shops like I had hoped, however procuring on-line turned out to be plenty of enjoyable. My three cats and canine and I are very comfortable in our new place and are patiently hoping we will go to eating places and outside occasions very quickly. What provides me probably the most pleasure about my new loft are the big home windows that usher in a lot gentle and my very small, intimate patio.

—Sharon Reilly, Edgewood [$$$]

The Lion Room

2020 DIY Projects

Illustration by Babeth Lafon

I really like cats and noticed this lion signal on the aspect of a neighborhood vintage retailer and knew that I wished to show it into artwork for our home. It was a lot greater than I spotted, so it sat within the storage for months whereas I labored on a sport plan for the best way to dangle it and the place. In 2019, we moved to Roswell from Milwaukee. The home we purchased was painted beige all through, so many quarantine weekends have been used to color the partitions. The “Lion Room” brings me pleasure each time that I go it as a result of it’s one of many first areas in our Georgia home that felt like residence.

—Natasha Tomasik, Roswell [$]

The Bungalow

We bought the adjoining “in want of affection” 1951 bungalow from its authentic homeowners. After giving up hope they’d ever let it go, we pounced once we came upon their son and his rising household now not wished to name it residence. Their solely request was that we promise to not tear it down. Evidently, we have been thrilled to protect slightly a part of Peachtree Heights East historical past. Our hope is that my dad and mom will relocate from Southern California to Atlanta within the subsequent few years. Till that day arrives, nonetheless, we plan to hire out the home and permit others to benefit from the lovely Duck Pond neighborhood we proudly name residence. We “popped the highest” and are including a staircase, two bedrooms, two loos, a sitting room, and a laundry closet, all whereas honoring the unique homeowners’ request to maintain the character of the house intact. Patrick Davey of Davey Development, who additionally accomplished development on our present residence, is overseeing the undertaking. COVID-19 has managed to throw a couple of monkey wrenches into the undertaking. Sourcing and buying supplies have been difficult as a consequence of manufacturing slowdowns, and since so many individuals have determined to undertake home-improvement initiatives. Craftspeople, painters, masons, and different gifted professionals are being snapped up faster than a bottle of hand sanitizer. This has precipitated our undertaking timeline to increase past our authentic projection. All in all, nonetheless, we’re having fun with the method and are very excited to see our cute little bungalow come to life.

—Melissa Lowry, Peachtree Heights East [$$$$]

The Function Wall

We’ve carried out so many home-improvement initiatives. First was our characteristic wall. We solely seen how naked the wall was after taking an image of the household taking part in a board sport. I frantically looked for concepts on Pinterest. My husband and I purchased all of the wooden, did all of the reducing and set up, after which had it professionally painted by Gary from Blessed Transformations, who lives in our neighborhood. Putting in the wooden solely took one weekend.

—Renee Straker, Acworth [$]





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