The secret of how I overcame my DIY anxiety

Until last year, I absolutely hated even the idea of doing any kind of home maintenance or improvement task, like putting up shelves, getting a leaky roof replaced, or planning an extension. That might seem bizarre to you; so many people seem to love that stuff – buying all the right kit, filling up Pinterest boards, getting at least 3 quotes from tradespeople, sharing before & afters with friends. Not me. Something as basic as drilling a hole in the wall caused me genuine pain – and I know how irrational that sounds.

Then I moved into this house and my reaction to having so much to do was predictably severe. I’m embarrassed just to talk about how badly I coped with it all. I’ve realised that I had to learn how to be a happy homeowner. And it basically comes down to one secret. 

I’m writing this in our finished kitchen. My wife, Sophie, unloads plates from the shiny dishwasher (a Which? Best Buy) that sits snugly under the quartz worktop. My son, Rory, is playing with his cars on the newly sanded hardwood floorboards. Behind him is a wall so smooth and cleanly painted that sometimes when I walk past it I like to brush my finger against it. But it’s not always been like this.

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