Do-it-yourself is slowly becoming a key design mantra. Ruth Dsouza Prabhu attributes this trend to rising disposable incomes and the willingness to experiment.
Husband-wife duo Roshitha Naik, a design professional and Ramana Venkat, faculty at a well-known design and technology school recently moved home and decided that they would work on doing up their home themselves.
“Our requirements were unique and we were not able to find something that was of quality and suited our budget. That’s why we decided to take it up as a challenge and make our own furniture and do up our interiors,” says Roshitha. At present, they have completed a work table, long enough for the both of them to use simultaneously. They have also worked on a bed as well as the cabinets in their kitchen. In the pipeline are a sofa set and some smaller pieces of furniture.
“The process was rather simple – we went online and looked through a range of tutorials on designing and being able to make the best of the materials we had. We sourced packaging wood from Shivajinagar – this is mainly planks of wood that create boxes for shipping of large machinery from foreign countries. Though not ideal for furniture, it depends more on how you design and work with it to get the best out of it. It is, however, recycleable wood and so we were also doing our bit to the environment. For both the table and the bed, it took around two weeks of planning and designing and the actual making took three days for each piece,” explains Ramana. The couple go on to say that they first started working on the cabinets, then moved onto designing the bed and then the table, and that with each project they learnt a few more tricks on sanding the wood, reinforcing it for support and getting more out of it.
Tools of the trade
The investment was the most on the tools, says Roshitha, but since these are useful for a lifetime, the approximately Rs 20,000 did not really hurt. The wood for these three projects added up to around Rs 8,000. Overall, they find it totally worth the money since they have something unique and well within a budget.
Do-it-yourself or DIY is slowly becoming a mantra for several people these days. “With global exposure, many Indians are taking to the trend of completing scores of jobs effortlessly and without depending on anyone. So, yes, while the association of tools may primarily be linked to fixing and installing things in the house, these tools have earned a new meaning for themselves, in the hobby space,” says Vijay Pandey, vice-president of a power tools and accessories manufacturing company.
Moving on to the current trend in the Indian market, Vijay continues, awareness about DIY tools has increased among the public. We are also seeing a lot of middle class, youngsters and couples willing to experiment. Many more tools are finding their way into the homes of today’s discerning consumers. Increasing disposable incomes pave the way for lifestyle-conscious and hassle-free living and therefore the need for such tools.
Though DIY may sound pretty easy, it does take a few basic skills as far as aesthetics and dealing with various materials is concerned. So starting small would be a good idea. Juhi Santani, interior designer, elaborates on the skills required. “You could do with a good visualisation skill. You should picture in your mind what you want your project to look like at the end of it. If you can sketch, it would be a bonus. Constructing, stitching fabric, or basic woodworking would be good skills to have. however, it is alright to take help for part of your project. Market survey is important; know where you get stuff, hardware to put your goods together, accessories to brighten up your DIY project, etc. An eye for perfect edges, finishing and detailing are vital. Your project may be simple, but a good execution can take it to the next level.
Get ready for your first DIY
Here is a ready reckoner on preparing for your first DIY. Juhi suggests that you start small: repainting, re-upholstering, re-finishing and the like. As you take on bigger projects, it would be a good idea to research a bit, and discuss with other DIY-ers as to what possible problems one can face. Also get a partner-in-crime if you can, else a critique who gives you feedback on your handiwork. Also invest in good quality tools and be patient with yourself. It takes time to pick up a new skill, but the effort is worth the pleasure a completed project brings.