For Jamie Lundstrom, dealing with do-it-yourself projects provided the indispensable release from a stressful career in the medical field, where she worked for 14 years.
"I did not think I was a creative person," he admits, referring to those initial efforts after hours. "But I spent my time in the evenings and on the weekends making plans at home and I always felt good after painting a piece of furniture or sewing pillows".
Lundstrom argues that practical activities required a level of creativity that he was not experiencing in his work.
"When you work on a computer all day, it's nice to be able to work with your hands on a project," he says.
As she moves away from the idea of calling herself an artist, she says that do-it-yourself activities reminded her how much she liked to paint and refinish teenage furniture. It was an interest that he collected from his parents at a young age.
"Both my parents are do-it-yourself and they only did stuff because they had to, there's never been a thought of calling someone to fix something," he says. "I saw my father and my grandfather settling and building almost everything in our house and on our hobby farm and my father was also a welder, he made these extravagant play structures for our goats, my mother and sister are sturdy and my mother once owned a children's clothing boutique and even my birth mother (I was adopted) is an artist.
"Growing up in all this has naturally influenced me in wanting to do it myself".
So, with the do-it-yourself practically in the blood, it is not surprising that Lundstrom eventually turned his interest into a career. Now, the Vancouver-based creator runs his own website, So Much Better with Age. The site, which highlights ideas and furniture projects, was the launch pad for Lundstrom to collaborate with companies and appear on TV.
And now he has also written a book.
Entitled vintage French furniture: easy and elegant do-it-yourself projects for any home, the book sees Lundstrom presenting 70 ideas and exercises for projects, each inspired by the classic French design, an aesthetic that is ascribed with the majority of his design projects.
"I call my vintage French style," he says. "It's a combination of my love for French and European furniture and decor, and my love for vintage things, the French know how to do well any style, be it fashion or home decor I love their architecture and decorated details, it's amazing how much thought and technique went to decorate a single room. "
Lundstrom states that the French design style appeals to his love of all things of old, while allowing it to incorporate that vintage atmosphere into decidedly more modern spaces.
"I love incorporating something French, like a curved piece of furniture and a chandelier, into a modern space and also adding a touch of something old or rustic," he says. "It makes the space unique with lots of plot."
Through the do-it-yourself, he says that people can differentiate their living spaces from similar places, perfect for images, which are often shared on social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest as "home decor" options.
"Nowadays people can copy a room they see in a magazine and go and buy everything they see," he says. "There is nothing wrong with that, but you do not get something that is truly unique and individual, when you add pieces that take time to gather (or create), you will see that your home will become unique to you."
But differentiating your home from the Pinterest board set is not always easy to do. Especially if you have a limited budget. And that's one of the reasons Lundstrom says that people trying to repaint should at least consider DIY as an option.
"Finding French or vintage objects can be difficult – they can be hard to find and, if you find them, they can be very expensive," he says. "Doing your own DIY projects is a great alternative for a fraction of the price".
The pro of DIY claims to be happy to share her passion for creating creations with her children – and her growing audience eager to learn new skills.
"DIY skills are fashionable now because not everyone knows how to do these things and I feel that people want to go back to basics as a way to reconnect to their world and get disconnected from their technology," he says. "I've heard many women say they can not or do not know how to use the instruments … And I also feel that people say I'm not smart.
"I think everyone is smart, you might not be a chef, but you know how to cook some things, right? It's no different with do-it-yourself learning some basic skills will do a lot."
So, which piece of the 70 projects is Lundstrom most proud of having created?
"I think it should be the Trumeau mirror," he says of the drawing he made with the help of his boyfriend, Aaron. "It is a typically French home furnishing product and combines many different do-it-yourself skills.
"We invented the dimensions, how to make the crown header and I used some techniques that I had never done before, but I always wanted to do, I made a design on the front using the drywall mud in a bag of It's an idea I've had for years but I was too afraid to show people such an odd idea, but I had to follow my advice and try it. "
Although the results are not exactly "perfect" in his own words, the mirror is still a favorite for the designer.
"It's not perfect, but I think that's why I love him so much," he says. "I took a risk and is unique."
3 suggestions for the success of the project
While dealing with a do-it-yourself project may seem like an easy and convenient way to create a new and unique piece for your home – for many of us, the project turns into an epic failure. From sticky surfaces to insufficient inventory (and practically everything else), successfully completing a do-it-yourself project when you're not an experienced professional may seem impossible.
This is why we asked Jamie Lundstrom, author of furniture books and creator of the So Much Better with Age blog, to present her three best tips to create – and complete – a do-it-yourself project.
Here's what he had to say:
Preparation is everything
"It's the most boring part, so people like to run through the preparation work, but it's really what will make or break a project, for example, if a piece of furniture is not primed or polished correctly, then every step forward will not be resolved. ".
You will fail, but do not give up
"I made 70 projects for my book, but when I invented all the ideas in a few days for my publisher, I said that some of these projects could turn into something completely different.
"Sometimes a project was a complete failure, but when I looked at it the next day I thought, wow, this would have been good as such and so.This is the best part to create your projects.
"I had a complete failure that I spent hours and I threw him to the ground crying later, but I forced myself to think of a different way of doing it.There is a lot of problem solving with DIY and be creative.It's easy to give up and say, "It looks like crap," but if you continue to practice, solve the problem of DIY. "
"Most of the time I have completed a project with items I already have at home I could have some advanced things and think," Hmm, what can I do with this? "Before I know it, I have devised some ideas.
"In my blog or in my book, when I share this project, I will list everything I use, but if I go out and buy everything on that list, it could end up costing you a lot. Look around your house and see what things you can upcycle and improvise with different objects.