Recently, I decided to tackle the remodel of my master bath—by myself!

Not that unusual for some folks, but for me this was a bit of a departure as I’m a big believer in paying professionals to do what they do well.

It’s not that I think it’s wrong for people to do work on their own homes, but as an advisor, I regularly advise against it.


As I show houses to a buyer client, I will inevitably spot the work done by the homeowner versus the work done by a professional.

“Looks like the homeowner did this work”, I’d say. Immediately the buyer would be uneasy with the home, thinking to themselves, “ I wonder where else they’ve cut corners?”

The most important component with whether a buyer writes a contract for a house is “confidence”. Without confidence that your house is solid, the sale doesn’t happen.

With all of that in mind, I’d like to share my story and some of the lessons learned by “doing it yourself”.

Ignoring my own advice I tackled this fairly significant project. One that would require removing a light fixture, medicine cabinet, six foot vanity and marble top, a six foot wide by 4 foot tall mirror and replacing them with 3 new lights, two mirrors, and higher quality vanity and top. Of course I’d have to run new electrical wiring which meant cutting out drywall, re-patching, sanding and painting. Not to mention replacing some baseboard and casement trim.

Once you decide to tackle a project like this, the first step is demolition.

One of the big lessons I’ve learned on working on my investment properties is when demolition begins, don’t make a mess. The shows on HGTV like to show people with sledge hammers and safety glasses as they destroy cabinets, and interior walls. Pretty dramatic for television, but a horrible practice as the mess you make can become added work, or worse, a safety hazard.

As I carefully and thoughtfully disassembled the current fixtures, I realized something profound—the work was telling me what to do next.

Not doing this type of work everyday, I realized that in order to remove the mirror and the light fixtures more efficiently I would first need to remove the vanity and marble top underneath.

In order to remove the vanity and marble top, I needed to disconnect the plumbing. Then I needed to use a razor knife to cut away the caulk that was holding the marble top in place.

Each step revealed itself, I really didn’t need to overthink this project.

Maybe this is a metaphor for life.

Maybe I don’t need to map out every detail

Maybe I don’t need to worry about how it will all come together.

Maybe I just need to begin.

Maybe the work reveals itself.

As the project continued another important lesson was revealed—most of life cannot be accomplished alone.

I needed three strong humans to help me. One person to help me get the vanity and top off of my pickup truck. (Thank you Scott Adams) One more to help me get the vanity from my garage to the upstairs bath. (Thank you Michael Adams) And one more to get the top upstairs and into place. (Thank you Jamison Doyal)

Moral of the story: Get started, let the work lead you, but projects, like life, are not meant to do alone.