How to Survive Family DIY Projects

Let me just start off by saying, I would not have been able to do the One Room Challenge without Team Crowned Goat. It just wouldn’t have been possible with my crazy schedule. I knew it would take all of us bringing our very best gifts in order to pull this challenge off in six weeks.

For the past few years, we’ve worked together as a family to make 5 different houses feel like home completing a wide range of DIY projects along the way. It hasn’t always been easy but we’ve learned how to appreciate what each family member brings to the table and that has made completing projects so much easier. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you’re tackling DIY projects and home makeovers with your family…

Articulate your vision clearly – When I first approached everyone about working on the ORC my vision for the office makeover was industrial. I wanted reclaimed shelves with an iron base and graphite walls. After a long discussion about what I needed vs what I wanted I realized industrial style shelving wouldn’t meet my needs long term due to a high volume of revolving inventory. Here’s a look at my first vision board…


Be open to the ideas of others even if they’re different from your own – it took me a few days to get over not being able to have graphite walls. I don’t know why. I just wanted my office to look completely different from what I previously had no matter what. It wasn’t until I sat down with my design partner/mom I realized in order for the entire house to look cohesive I couldn’t have industrial in the office and cottage neutrals everywhere else. Here’s a look at the second vision board…


Respect each other and the gifts and talents they’re bringing to the project – this was a huge lesson in trust for me. It was really hard at times to trust that my dad would be able to give me the bookcases I needed but would also make them pretty like I wanted. It was tough living an hour away because I couldn’t be there every day to troubleshoot the issues that came up. It fell to my mom to push the design vision and make sure he kept referring to the inspiration pictures I sent him. Here’s a look at the original sketch of the bookshelves…


Be very careful about changing the plan midstream – I thought my bestie S and I would be able to make another cabinet like this one as an added storage solution but our schedules didn’t allow that as an option. Then I resigned to reusing the existing file cabinets and sent my dad the measurements based on those cabinets. Imagine his surprise when I called to tell him I found the perfect dresser and he now needed to make each bookcase 5 inches wider. Imagine my surprise when he told me he had already cut the wood and buying new wood to accommodate the measurement change would eat into my budget.


Consistently communicate your vision throughout the process – my mom and design partner in this endeavor is a very visual person. Even though I sent her multiple pictures, fabric swatches, mood boards and random accessory shots from antique stores it wasn’t until she was physically able to be in the space she understood what I wanted to convey with this office makeover. Understanding the personality types of the people you’re working with will help you speak their skill/design/style/creative language better so you can all be on the same page.


Be ok with walking away – there was a disagreement that may or may not have occurred at Lowe’s that could have been avoided if all parties would have been ok with walking away for a breather…just saying. Love and respect each other enough to know projects are stressful at times. DIY is not for the faint of heart. You get hungry, you’re tired, you’re frustrated and you may or may not say things that you can’t take back after the makeover has been completed. Just walk away and get a donut and laugh it off later.


Use apps to help keep everyone on track – throughout this process we’ve used the Wunderlist app to help each of us keep up with assigned to do lists as well as a Google calendar to help keep dates on track. These apps allowed us to share/add/subtract tasks as needed and dates so our projects weren’t overlapping each other. Both apps are free and user friendly.


Give each other grace and have fun – it doesn’t matter how goal oriented you are, how many perfectly laid out plans you have, or how many times you’ve updated your Wunderslist app…things go wrong. There will be hick ups like the Nor’easter that caused me to hand paint those almost 9 foot bookcases. The corbels I loved so much that wound up to be too small. The dresser that I painted 5 times before I finally got the look I was after. Realize when things go wrong, it’s just another opportunity for you to grow as a family and learn from each other. It won’t always be easy but extending grace to each other is worth it every single time.


I hope these tips have helped. It takes all skill levels and abilities to make projects like these work. Believe me, no one does this without a team of awesomeness behind them. See you guys back here tomorrow. It’s so hard to believe we’re already half way through this challenge. I’ll share the progress we’ve made in week 3!

Many blessings,


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One Comment

  1. CoCo – you have nailed the personalities of group projects on the head. It is sometimes a challenge with several people working on one vision. Throw in a deadline oriented vision and everything can get intense…at least at our house LOL. If any of your family is looking for something to do – we know a couple of ladies in Atlanta that could use some help haha. Cheers to a great day!

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