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How To Become A Handy Hubby {A tale from someone who has been there}

This post is written and authored by Art Gier otherwise known as “Handy Hubby’.
If you want to learn more about the author, you can scroll to the bottom of this post to see how his wife would describe him. When asked for a short personal description from Art himself, he mentioned something about being bald and sexy but other than that was not able to be reached directly for a response. So, as with keeping with our family friendly material, we had to speak on Mr Gier’s behalf.

If you still wish to learn more about today’s author, you can follow along with Art’s behind the scenes, unedited view of This Little Estate by following him on Instagram HERE.


When people see our renovation work, the
most common question I get asked is where I learned how to do renovate and
when do I find the time.

The truth is time flies, and there is never enough of it, BUT I can answer to HOW I learned to renovate.

Most of my knowledge and skills
come from a variety of places, but are completely attainable for others who are
interested in pursuing DIY on the daily.

For one, I make it a point to connect with
people in the trades. Having a father who was a contractor was great; but mustering
the nerve to ask for advice, and actually tackling a project with hands on experience, is where I really learned the most. Taking
on different projects also helped to build the things I’m confident in tackling.
The
absolute truth is that I also have a wife that is always looking at ways to
remodel/renew spaces which has given me the constant opportunity to do and
learn things.

I began the DIY lifestyle by just hanging simple shelves and
have graduated into gutting the last two of our homes and rebuilding them.

However with our very first home, we built a
brand new house. We had this crazy idea that we were getting everything that
we wanted with a new build because there would be little we would have to do. We dreamed of never lifting a finger when it came to projects. Being
newly married with a child on the way, we did not want many projects.  Any really! We knew that eventually we would
have to finish the bare boned basement and build a fence and deck but there
would be no immediate rush.  Or so we
thought.

However our house needed character and I got the urge to try my hand at DIY only a month after moving into our new home. I decided to start our first real home project while my
wife was in the hospital after delivering our first born. I had this “great” idea to
surprise her with a newly painted living room complete with crown moulding.

Really though, I had never
installed crown moulding before, but I still really wanted to make our new home feel
more cozy for us. So I left her in the hospital with our newborn and went out to
add another new member to our family: my first miter saw. Along with a few other tools, my father’s
compressor and a brad nail gun my DIY journey began.

Over time my absolute favorite part about
DIY/Reno’s are the tools! I remember buying that miter saw and thinking it was
the coolest thing in the world. After buying it, I walked out of the hardware
store thinking to myself that nothing could stop me with that thing. I got home though and realized that I didn’t even have a utility knife at this point to open the packaging of my new saw. So instead I used a butter knife out of the kitchen drawer to unwrap that 10” miter saw.

(I will get into tools needed for DIY at
another time)

 It
was all so exciting really, until I set the whole thing up and realized that I
knew nothing about sawing or measuring the trim. Ironically, I imagined my wife in the hospital with our new baby feeling the same
kind of overwhelmed feeling….I worried for a minute, but knew she could handle it. The thought of her and my brand new son made me
want to hurry up and surprise them both with my first DIY attempt.

 At
first the project seemed to be impossible, but once I got around to trying
things out, and messing up countless cuts, I realized that the majority of it
was easy after a lot of practice. With every project after the first one, I
realized that everything I was unsure about required trial and error. When trial
and error failed, I would get advice from the people I already knew, the ones who had
tackled a similar dilemma.

Ten years ago there wasn’t much info on the internet,
but I gathered as much as I could from there too. Another great source of
information for me, came from when I would run into people in hardware store
aisles. (Kids, dont try this at home.)

Now I find myself in the same aisles where I
had once learned tool and project advice, answering other’s questions. I am
more than eager to give any advice or knowledge to help people in the same way
others had offered advice to me.

  So today, with ten years of renovations behind
me, my biggest piece of advice is to ask questions and to constantly stay
curious. Once you have the knowledge it just takes a bit confidence to try your
hand at the task. Don’t be afraid of messing up and starting again as it is
part of the learning process!

As of today we are working on renovating
our third home and at this point I am very comfortable doing any type of trim
work and can confidently do it much faster than the day I started with that
crown moulding all that time ago.

In the end, my first attempt did not go as amazing
as I had planned. My wife came home with our new child to the smell of wet
paint and some partially finished crown moulding. There may or may not have
been a ton of dry wall dust all over the floors she had sparkled while cleaning
like a lunatic
“nesting”.

During that first project, I probably
purchased twice the amount of material that was needed because of mistakes I
ended up making, but I am glad I kept with it. Because as much as I will not
admit to my wife that I like doing all these reno’s with her, I actually do!

Warning:
Relationship/Life tip up ahead!

 Finishing a project with your partner is very
fulfilling and for that brief zen-like moment there is complete joy, while you
forget about all the moments you gave each other the “death” stare and said all
the mean words.

Lately we have been including our children
in the reno process even more than ever. They have grown up around tools and because
of that they aren’t afraid to try and to mess up and try again. We could all
learn a lot from kids I guess.

Now the kids fight over who gets to nail a
piece of shiplap to the wall or which one gets to help paint. If kids can see
the joys of building something and get the satisfaction of being able to say “I did that!”

Our 7 year old daughter periodically
reminds me, with the biggest smile on her face, that she nailed down the
hardwood on our main floor and our oldest son will gladly brag about the
shiplap he helped install in my wife’s salon. Getting the kids involved not
only gets them excited about doing “adult” stuff but it also provides great
bonding time while we get some work done. Also it completely helps to keep them
occupied when finding someone to watch the kids is unavailable.

Lastly, I would suggest (and wish I had done
this in the beginning!) is to take pictures of your progress as you move along
in your DIY/Reno work. These pictures do not have to be for social media use
but will benefit you for many reasons. They will be a nice reminder to you
about how far you are coming along and these pictures can also serve as a tool
if you do something the same or similar the next time as they can remind you
what you did wrong and how you could improve your methods.  Taking these pictures will also help you when
you go to the hardware store to pick up any needed material. With a quick
glance you may be remind you of anything else you may have forgotten to pick up. It would take a genius to calculate the
amount of time I have spent traveling back and forth to the hardware store just
because I forgot something. Let’s not even try to add up the wasted gas.
A
picture may also help you describe to someone what you are dealing with if you
have any questions about your project.  Because
as knowledgeable as most people are, they do not understand what a “round,
pointy thingamajig thing” is and saying that out loud at the hardware store is
not what you want to be doing.

 So
what are you waiting for? You may not have all the physical tools to reno a
whole house, but if you start small and build up your confidence and
collection, you’ll be making over spaces in no time. Just don’t attempt a whole
room overhaul as a gift for your newly postpartum wife and new child. Renos and
projects don’t like timelines and more than that, new mothers and sleeping babies like peace and
quiet and finished spaces, instead of the lovely hum of the miter saw.


About the author:

Art Gier is a die hard DIYer. When he isn’t gutting and rebuilding houses with his wife and three tornado children, you can find him hosting annual football pools and hockey pools and making excuses for why he needed to DIY a Kegerator for his friends. He isn’t afraid of heckling your favorite sport team any day of the week but is also known to be the eternal nice guy who would do anything for anyone. His favorite day is being left alone in the tool aisle at the hardware store but also levels out his testosterone loving hobbies by collecting comic books and secretly watching the Bachelor when his wife does. He has embraced his quiet project laden life on the outskirts of town but has an eternal love for house music because of his glory days when he was a professional dancer. Anyone remember Electric Circus? Yep, this guy is one with many talents but is also as humble as the home made apple pie his wife and kids teat him to when they really want to show him how much they appreciate his awesomeness.

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