Prior to starting on the cabbage, my most ambitious DIY projects have all been in the realm of sewing. I’m not a great sewer, but I do enjoy it, for much the same reasons I’ve enjoyed construction. There’s something incredibly satisfying about transforming raw materials into something new and useful.
It makes sense, then, that a maxim I first heard in a costuming forum several years ago holds just as true in the building world. It’s only possible for a given project to have two of the falling three qualities: fast, good, or cheap. Wikipedia calls this the project management triangle, which I just learned when Googling it a second ago. I call it . . .
The hard truth about DIY is that you have to make compromises based on your priorities.
The pre-constructed shed we bought to convert into our cabbage was fast and good, but a whole lot more expensive than building from the ground up. We prioritized speed in that instance.
In other areas, we’ve emphasized the cheap section of the Venn diagram. The linoleum we’re putting into the bathroom is cheap and fast, for instance. We figure we can always tear it out and replace it when we have more money. For now, we’re sacrificing good for speed and frugality. On the other hand, the clawfoot tub we’re putting on top of that linoleum weighs in on the cheap and good section of the diagram. The sturdy, cast-iron tub is just the right size for an adult to soak in, and we got it for a good deal on Craigslist.
And as we’re in the final countdown to our move-in date, it’s easy to get impatient. We want to be moved in yesterday — and I’m sure my parents feel the same way! I keep reminding myself, though, that the sacrifices we’ve made in speed have been either to save money (having Steve and Bryan help us out in their spare time, instead of hiring contractors) or to get a quality product (Drew’s patience mudding and sanding the drywall, maybe, or my own humble tiling efforts). There has been a lot of compromise in this project, but that’s just the nature of DIY.