FAQ: “How Does Matt Handle Your DIY Projects?”

I’m working on the fridge/range wall in the kitchen, and the progress has been kind of slow and boring (definitely not picture and blog post worthy, especially since it’s basically a repeat of everything I did on the wall of cabinets). I’ll show you the finished product, of course. But in the meantime, I thought I’d spend a post answering one of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers.

I’m actually asked the question in several different ways, but the basic question is about Matt and how he handles my DIY projects…

“How does Matt feel about your DIY projects?”

“Is Matt really okay when you start doing things like knocking down walls? My husband would freak out if I did that!”

“How does Matt feel about you painting the kitchen cabinets green?”

“Does Matt have any say at all in how you decorate the house?”

As an aside, for those of you who are new around here, Matt is my husband (which you probably already gathered).  The reason he doesn’t help me with projects around the house is because he has M.S., diagnosed two years after we got married, and he is in a wheelchair.  So while he would love to physically help me with the heavy lifting and such, he’s just not able to.  So I do about 95% of my projects by myself, and for the rest, I call in help from family members and (only when absolutely necessary) from professionals.

Anyway, I’ve gotten questions about Matt as pertains to my DIY projects on an infrequent basis over the years, but I’ve noticed that the questions have become more frequent ever since I started the kitchen remodel in the house, and especially since the day I knocked out the wall between the kitchen and the breakfast room and my brother and I installed the load bearing header.

And all throughout this kitchen remodel, I have people ask me pretty regularly about Matt and how me feels about my projects.

The bottom line is that Matt is okay with my DIY projects, he doesn’t freak out when I start big projects like knocking down walls, he’s perfectly okay with me using just about any color I want to use in the house, and he gives as little input as possible on the decorating and design of the house.

On My Projects In General

In general, Matt loves my projects, and he’s so proud of the things I do around the house.  He constantly tells me how amazed he is that I’m able to do the projects I do, and he’s amazed that I have the confidence to just jump in with both feet and try things that I’ve never done before.  On several occasions after I’ve finished a big project, he’s said, “I just don’t understand how you knew you could do that.  You’ve never done that before, right?”  He loves to brag about me to other people and show off the pictures of the things that I’ve done.  He’s my biggest cheerleader and my biggest fan.

Now that doesn’t mean that he likes everything I do.  He hated the original painted floor in the kitchen.

But then again, so did I, and so did many of you.  😀

When he doesn’t like something that I do, he’s never mean about it, and he never just comes right out and tells me he doesn’t like it.  I generally have to dig that information out of him.  He doesn’t want to stifle my creativity, and if it’s something that I like but he doesn’t like, he’s perfectly fine living with it just to make me happy.  Such an awesome guy.  🙂

On My Big Projects

I know that many of you were so shocked that Matt would allow me to knock out a wall and install a load bearing header when I’ve never done anything like that before.  And then many of you have been equally as shocked as you’ve seen me tear my kitchen apart, down to the studs, ceiling joists, and subfloor, all while my husband is seemingly totally okay with everything.  And he is okay with it, but here’s the deal…

Matt and I have been married almost 12 years (in September), and I’ve been doing DIY projects and decorating our home ever since we lived in our very first apartment right after we got married.  When we moved into our first house several months after we got married (a builder-grade house that we had built in Albany, Oregon), that house was like my playground.  I decorated, painted, did some tiling projects, and put down wood parquet flooring by myself in the bonus room above the garage, built a desk, did some landscaping projects, and helped build a privacy fence.  But overall, my projects then were pretty tame.  And basic.  But Matt told me from the very beginning that the house was mine to decorate as I wanted.

Over the years, I’ve grown in my DIY abilities as I’ve learned new skills, acquired new tools, and challenged myself to tackle projects with ever-increasing levels of difficulty.  (This kitchen remodel is obviously my biggest challenge to date.)  But Matt has been there every step of the way, and has watched me tackle these projects, and has seen the level of skill and planning and detail that I bring to my projects.

If, after moving into our very first house almost 12 years ago, I had approached Matt and said, “I think I want to knock down this wall and create a big opening here,” his answer would have been, “No.  Absolutely not!”  But now, after 12 years of watching me work and seeing the outcome of my efforts, he’s gained confidence in me as I’ve gained confidence in myself.

Now that doesn’t mean he’s just totally hands off and completely unconcerned.  When I told him that I wanted to knock down the wall in the kitchen and install a header myself instead of hiring it out, he was okay with it, but he asked a lot of questions.  What are the step-by-step details of the process, and what, if anything, could go wrong?  If something went wrong, what exactly would that look like?  Would the ceiling collapse?  How was I going to prevent that from happening?  Can a contractor come over and look at it just to be sure you’re doing it right?  If we do need to call in a contractor “just in case,” about how much would that cost?

Those are reasonable questions, and reasonable concerns.  But at this point, after 12 years of living with my DIYing, I really don’t think that he would ever say, “No.  Absolutely not!” to any project that I felt confident I could tackle myself.

On my color choices

Admittedly, there are many (most?) husbands who would never stand for green kitchen cabinets.

wall of cabinets finished 2

Or teal kitchen cabinets…

Matt has always been okay with my love of color, and he was introduced to that right out of the starting gate when I painted the interior of our first house with about 26 different colors.

Now, looking back, it was awful.  My taste was very unrefined at the time, and very much influenced by Trading Spaces.  Ugh.  But I certainly had fun with color, and Matt was right there alongside me helping me paint every room with any color I wanted.  From Day 1, he wanted me to have full reign over the colors and decor of the house, and I took full advantage of that!  😀

We do have one standing rule, and since he rarely asks me for anything when it comes to decorating, I gladly live by this rule.  He has asked that I never use an abundance of pink in the house.  Now if I wanted to do my office in nothing but pink, he would be okay with that.  But as far as the main areas of the house, or our bedroom, he’s asked that I avoid using it as a main color in those rooms.  If I wanted a vase of pink flowers in the living room, he’s okay with that.  But if I wanted to paint the walls pink, or hang pink curtains…not so much.  I’m happy to oblige.

On giving decorating input

As I’ve said, ever since our first apartment, and then our first house, Matt has always said that our home is mine to do with as I want when it comes to decorating.  For many years, he wanted as little to do with it as possible, and getting him to share an opinion was like pulling teeth.  He really didn’t care, and just wanted me to do what I wanted to do.

Now, he’ll give input if I ask him, and quite honestly he gets pretty excited when I think he has a good idea.  But even when he gives his input, he would never hold me to it, or force his idea on me.  He just gives his input and then leaves it to me to make my own decision.  He really likes my decorating, and has said that he even wants me to design and decorate his game room eventually.  He’ll give me general ideas of what he wants, and then he wants to see what I’ll do with those ideas.

The funny thing is that after 12 years of listening to me talk about decorating, he’s picked up on a lot of the lingo.  Just the other day, he was talking about some of my projects, and prattling on about “herringbone” this and “harlequin” that.  Then he stopped mid-sentence, turned and looked at me with this blank look on his face, and said, “Why do I know these things?!  Can I have my manhood back?”  😀

So the bottom line is that he views the house as mine to do with as I want.  He doesn’t ever try to stop me from doing a project, although on the big stuff he might ask lots of questions before I get started.  And he’ll give his input if I press him for it, but he would never hold me to it.

I’m very blessed.  🙂



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  1. Love the post!! My husband is the same way – trusts my decorating style – which has evolved – THANK GOODNESS!! But allows and even encourages me to bloom and explore and “own” my style. So very thankful you have a wonderful man behind you!!! Matt – thank you very much for allowing Kristi to be “her” and for sharing her with us!!! Behind every creative woman is a very sweet, understanding, awesome, patient, encouraging man:)

  2. You ARE blessed. And so am I. My husband feels pretty much like your Matt….the house is mine to decorate how I want. ‘Course, knocking down a wall MIGHT cause a heated discussion…but, in the end, he’ll cave. LOL

    You’re doing a spectacular job, Kristi! The cabs are beyond stunning….makes me wanna repaint mine….again. heh

  3. Blessed, indeed. Way to go, Matt!

    When my husband and I first married some 45 years ago, we agreed that the house would be mine and outside would be his. He too has supported me and assisted me in building my dreams. I’ve sometimes wondered what it would be like to be married to someone who had his own definite ideas about interior decor that would clash with mine. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me!

    Thanks for this post, Kristi. Now I feel that I know Matt better, and can appreciate him as you do! Matt, thanks for being such a great support for Kristi. We are ALL amazed and delighted to get to know her as we follow her “Adventures in Decorating”.

  4. Wow Kristie, Matt sounds like a pretty great guy! I am one of the many ones who asked about him.
    My husband is pretty much the same way. His pat answer (also after 12 years) is “do what you want babe, it always looks great” and he too brags on me when people comment about the house. He occasionally gives me his 2 cents and I can take it or leave it. He rarely joins me in a project unless I ask for his help. But I do decorating and small DIY projects…nothing on the scale such as you do! Equally blessed here. 🙂

    With all that you do I am so glad for you that you have Matt in your corner!

  5. You are definitely blessed. I, too, am a blessed woman. My husband also let’s me have complete reign over decor decisions in our house, however, with him being a safety man at work, he is super safety conscious, and there are some things he just won’t let me do by myself. I am fine with that! Love your work.

  6. Awesome!

    It sounds like you two have good communication! As readers we get to read about and see in pictures all you do, but readers probably question how your husband feels because it’s the “off camera” or “off blog” in this case.

    So glad he is supportive of your DIYing, that’s a blessing!

  7. You’re very lucky to have such a easy going guy, and I am too. You know what they say, happy wife/happy life. We’ve been married 38 years and we once restored a 125 year old home. We now live in a newer home, but anything I want to do is good with him. Even pink, my bedroom is mostly pink and I have a totally pastel kitchen in which he does most of the cooking. He trust me and loves showing off our home and getting complements.

  8. So cool to read about your supportive husband Kristi! It says a lot about a person and a relationship when a spouse is so open, encouraging and trusting of their partner in making such big decisions in a home. My husband supports and brags about my DIYing too, but, my projects are nothing compared to yours! Love the kitchen and backsplash by the way! -Melody

  9. I recently ripped up the carpet (and tack strips) on our back staircase and to my surprise my husband was not happy-even though I had warned him for weeks that I was going to do it. Our kids are older now and I feel that I can finally do some of the things I waited to do out of fear of being continually interrupted. But like you said I think the problem is that he has no confidence in me because I have always been the helper not the leader. I guess it will take time and maybe he’ll have to relinquish some of his control freak ways.

    I love the green cabinets-my favorite color! There is something very classic about dark green as opposed to a lighter more playful (and trendier) green.

    A side note: I realize this is not a health blog so I will keep it short. I have had MS for 6 years and have been doing really well. I started a gluten free/paleo style diet immediately (no gluten, low dairy, low sugar) and a year in started on LDN which kicked my improvement up a notch. I realize everybody’s journey is different with MS and we all react differently. If you haven’ seen it Terry Wahls TEDX video is inspiring (and her book). I can’t say enough about LDN (low dose naltrexone) either. I hope this isn’t offensive, especially if you already know all this, I think those of us with MS need to communicate as openly as possible with each other because you never know what may end up helping.

    1. We actually are very familiar with Dr. Terry Wahls. We followed her diet right before I was convinced by someone that she’s a fraud which is not correct. Now Kristi is way too busy to go back to doing that diet, but I am searching for ways for us to go back to it. The only thing I disagree with her on is legumes. I am very pro lentils and blackbeans. I was getting so much better when I had blackbeans with every meal, and yes I am including breakfast.

      1. Matt,
        Great to hear from you. I also wanted to make sure you know about the work of Dr. John McDougall (of Santa Rosa, Ca) and Roy Swank (of the Oregon Health & Sciences Institute) who advocated a plant based diet to arrest or slow auto-immune diseases. Dr. Swank, who passed away a few years ago at 93, was an MS specialist and I think McDougall’s foundation kicked off a MS study last year.

  10. What a lovely post! I have read, many times, in your posts that Matt is comfortable with your design choices and is happy to listen to you when you need to talk about your ideas and projects. But this post give a broader view of your relationship with him. I believe yours is a marriage that will last! You have respect for one another and that is the base for any good relationship. My dear husband is very much like Matt. He will let me natter on about whatever is on my mind and he is always ready to give me input when I ask. But he is amazing in that he doesn’t just “Give his two cents worth”. We have been married 30 years and his only request is NO PINK ROOMS! LOL He did change that when we had our little girl (Who is now 24) LOL. Thank you for sharing a little piece of you life outside just DIY. Oh, and I love your idea for the drawers. I knew you would come up with the perfect plan. Now, go hug your wonderful husband!

  11. Kristi: I sensed that Matt was pretty much on board with your remodeling and decoration ideas while you were sensitive to his needs. Although you did not need to do so, I think this blog post was exactly what many of your followers needed. It is nice to see this other side to you and to know you a bit more personally.

    When you began this kitchen remodel, I recall you stating some of Matt’s needs (e.g., door width for his wheelchair), and I knew then how much you love him and respect him. As far as knocking walls down and using non-traditional color choices (from other’s perspectives, not mine), I figured that you were the professional in the remodeling business and that was why you received no opposition from Matt.

    Thank you for confirming what I had already sensed. Seeing this side of you, and him, makes me feel that my choice in following your blog is a good decision. 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

  12. Absolutely loved this post! And color me green with jealousy because husband isn’t quite so easy going! He thinks once something is painted it never, ever needs to be painted again 😉

  13. I not only found today’s post interesting, (I had always wondered about your other half) but I also found it warming, as I too, am blessed with a man who is “in my corner” and I know how good that feels.

    BTW, I have been and will probably always be in awe of your taste, talent and skills! I look forward to seeing your home get even better in the future 🙂

  14. I love the trust that you and Matt have built. My husband trust me to make design decisions, but he does give me some odd looks sometimes. The one thing I have to fight him on is painting a “natural” finish. I just think most folks that are asking this question is picturing what would happen if they started that process in their house!

    By the way, I love your tenacity and bravery. I am an architect, and knowing what can go wrong paralyzes me sometimes! You rock!

  15. I knew you lived in Oregon, but, did not realize it was in Albany. That is where I graduated high school. It is also another coincidence that you live in Waco just like I do! I love reading your blog and seeing the progress you are making on your home.

    1. What a small world we live in. I hated Oregon because of the rain/cold, but LOVE Waco with all of its sun.

  16. Kristi you are truly one very talented and blessed lady. I often wondered how Matt felt about all you do. I wish my husband was even a little bit more open to change. Mine often tells me our place doesn’t have to look like better homes and gardens. I have so many things I long to do and am simply not aloud to. I get praised on the changes I do make but its all little stuff. It gets so depressing when your creative outlet is squished at ever turn. I get to live vicariously through you. So thank you to you and Matt for all that you do and sharing it with the rest of us.

  17. Such a well written post and a real insight into what is clearly a great relationship with you and Matt. How lucky we would all be to have such a supportive person, like Matt, in our lives. One that cheers you on and is your champion in every way. I can see it would give you the confidence to tackle such huge projects like you do. You are truly a lucky girl to have found him and he you. I wish both of you the very best now and for the future.

  18. Behind every successful designing woman is a supportive and appreciative man, at least when that designing woman is married. Sounds like you have a peach of a husband! I have one too. In our 34 years together I have been designing and re-designing countless times with total support from my hubby. Oh sure, back in the earlier days I might get a “are you crazy?” Comment on one of my ideas but, now, after many ideas have come to fruition he loves them and doesn’t question me. He always tells me I have created a beautiful home and comforting home. Matt sounds the same, which is great. Your bold color choice for the kitchen – which is so stunning and beautiful – May not have become a reality were it not for your supportive husband. You guys sound like a good match! I can’t wait to see your gorgeous kitchen finished!

  19. Awesome tribute to Matt…he is one in a million! Give him a hug for all of us wannabe’s and you go girl on your next project…that is the sink wall I gather.

  20. You two sound like a great couple. Sweet devotion! The pink wall story made me laugh because I painted the entire interior of my husband’s and my first house in Denver. I love pink and purple but I use them more sparingly now! 🙂

  21. You truly are blessed with a wonderful husband! I’m glad you and he can talk about your decorating decisions and that he asks great questions as we all need that. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for his Game Room. I’m sure it’ll be spectacular! In the meantime, I’m loving your living room and kitchen remodels and check this blog every day to see what’s new.

  22. Bravo to Matt!

    His statement wondering why he knew some things like parquet made me think of my husband. I’m a seamstress, a very serious seamstress. My husband has heard me talk about this or that enough that he usually knows what I’m talking about. I can even ask him for help, like mark a dress hem, and he’s done it enough he knows how to do it!

    I think something like that just comes with the marriage when you spend enough time together.

  23. You are very blessed. Matt and my husband are on the same page, right down to the pink thing! Funny, I can’t tolerate pink myself. However, a supportive spouse is key to a successful adventure in this one and only life we receive!
    Carry on. ;-))

  24. Kudos to you both for your communication skills and the relationship of love & trust that you’ve built! I’m with Matt on the “pink” stuff! If Matt ever wants to chime in with a post of his own, I’d enjoy reading!

    1. I have written a post, but Kristi has not posted it on her blog. I} need to update it and see if she’ll post it soon.

  25. Gotta love them don’t you. My husband leaves the decorating up to me. Before we were married (almost 43 years ago), he told me he wanted a white living room with an orange stripe and leather and chrome furniture. I told him to marry someone else because I couldn’t live with that. Our homes have been country and now a little country french. Every so often he tells me he wants a dinosaur or alligator in the living room and I just look at him and he laughs. I guess we are doing okay.

  26. Oh my, Kristi, you are a lucky gal. Also a Very talented gal. Matt wouldn’t happen to have an older brother? I’m not married 🙂

    only kidding…….

  27. This is great! I was wondering about Matt too but I didn’t know how to ask. He must be a very patient man to have lasted without the kitchen sink for so long. You are a blessed woman!

    1. It has not been that bad. I get to eat Mexican food every meal, so not much complaining at least not from me. 😉

  28. You have a wonderful and supportive guy there, Kristi. I’ve really enoyed following his amazing progress with his health on his Facebook page, Deflate the Mate. He is inspiring.

  29. Loved that Matt questioned why he knew this stuff! We learn strange things from our spouses.

    Trading Spaces?!? I hated the premise for that show! Why let someone else decide what you should have in your house? You’ve come a long way, Kristi!

  30. Awwww, I have goosebumps! Yes, you are blessed, he is an awesome man. And he gives awesome gifts (your kitchen pendant.)

  31. Matt sounds like a total sweetheart, but then again, he’d have to be a pretty darned cool guy if he managed to hook an amazing girl like you!

  32. You are blessed Kristi….and I also think Matt is blessed to call you his wife. He really does seem like a really great guy…..and you are obviously an amazing wife. 😉 You two have a partnership that most would give anything to have.

  33. I enjoyed reading this post. Sounds like you two have a great relationship! Now if we could just get Matt to appear in one of your blogpost pics, so we could put a face with the name… 🙂

  34. Great post. I would like to ask Matt to name some of his personal favorite and least favorite projects over the years.

    1. My favorite projects:
      Condo: Wall painting in the kitchen of the tree. Having MS, I get very stressed. That wall makes me feel very calm.
      House: Kitchen cabinets. The kitchen will be my favorite until her next project.

      Least favorite:
      condo: The floors when she painted them because they were so slick.
      House: the kitchen floor until she repainted it.

  35. I have RRMS so I am always wondering how Matt is doing. I am on the Tysabri intravenous monthly therapy and it has given me my life back. Along with Rx strength vitamin D here and there. From what I understand from conferences on various Rx therapies, Tysabri is the most affective in preventing attacks and exacerbations. I probably sound like a commercial, but I’m really pleased with this therapy and wanted to let you know in case you weren’t on it and looking for a better one.

  36. I have a question. what ever happend with the Kelly Moore Kel Thane 11 waterborne clear topcoat that you paid that huge amount for? did it not work? I do not remember you talking much about it. you ended up useing Rust Olium ultimate polyurathane on your cabinets didn’t you? I want to paint my bathroom counter top and have to decide what to use. can you give me suggestions?

  37. You ARE blessed and very fortunate……
    However…….fortune often comes from experience, and he knows that you are top notch and respects you for it!!
    Blessings to both of you,

  38. You ARE blessed indeed ! Mine fights me tooth and nail over every single project I come up with – he always loves it in the end but it’s part of the schtick at this point I suppose LOL
    Kristi I have to tell you those are the most stunning kitchen cabinets I’ve ever seen – and I would never – not in a million years have considered green anything – let alone cupboards -they should be on the cover of a magazine.

  39. Kristi, I was wondering if the green cabinet flooring is what came out of your experiment with the flooring pattern you did in the pictures above it? How fun that you and your husband work on these projects so openly with one other, you must feed his creativity with all of the energy and work you put into yours! Great post, keep up the good work!

  40. Didn’t realize that your husband has MS. I wonder if that’s how I ended up finding your blog, or if that’s just a highly unusual coincidence? (I also have MS. And I also like DIY house projects. And I also lived near Fort Worth for many years, but that part is just a coincidence!)