DIY diva

Fixing My Mistakes (Bye Bye Ugly Maroon Beams)

November 4, 2010 | 8 Comments | Memorial House, Tool Time
DIY diva

For those of you who don’t know the backstory here, back in August (this is MysteryMan’s favorite part) I made a mistake. Somehow I worked myself up into a tizzy about having the cedar beams for the porch pre-stained by the manufacturer and after several hours of swatch-induced agony I made a decision that resulted in seriously uncool maroon cedar beams.



I wanted them to look like this…


And, not so much…


I’ve basically had a pit in my stomach over this for the last two months… not because I didn’t think I could fix it, but because I was pretty sure MysteryMan was going to give me a severe scolding over wasting my time on the cedar beams, because hello there’s 1200 sq ft of siding left to hang and two basement windows that need to be blocked in yet, and hey look, the forecast is calling for snow.

There are lots of things I love about building this house with my significant other, not the least of which is to have someone to hold the other end of my tape measure when necessary. Okay, that’s just one thing, but I’m sure there are others… plus I do a lot of measuring. On the other hand, something I really enjoyed about doing my last house on my own was that I never once spent two months dreading the scolding I was going to get over fixing something that yes, could be used just the way it is without the universe imploding.

But here’s the thing… if I wanted a house that was just good enough, I’d have saved myself the last six months of stress and sweat and blood and tears, and I would have let someone else build it while I sipped a margarita by the pool. I do it myself because I want extraordinary, and I’m willing to work for it.

Even if that means a lot of hours of using a hand planer to make maroon beams look like this…


I think I’ve got ten more to go. (MysteryMan for his part only gave me one gigantic eye roll and said, “that’s going to take you a month.” And then left me to it.)

And here’s the part where you get to learn from my mistakes:

  1. Never order a factory finish stain on something without buying a sample of the stain and testing in on a substaisial piece of wood first. A two-inch square won’t cut it
  2. Probably never use a wood colored “solid stain.” I mean, what’s the point of real wood then? I used a colored solid stain on the cedar siding and love it, but for things that are supposed to look like wood, semi-trans is the way to go.
  3. Almost anything in the world can be fixed with one of these:

At least today it can. Tomorrow I man need one of those oscillating saws… I mean, it’s seven saws in one, people!

DIY diva


  • Melissa

    Well worth the work. The beams are gorgeous!

  • Kate R

    MM can roll his eyes all he wants. Melissa took the words right out of my mouth – definitely worth it & yes, they are gorgeous.

  • lisa at fix it yourself

    We like fixing things, so you’re mentioned on our blog today. Thanks!

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno

    I would be doing the same thing you are. It had to be done, those people should be ashamed sending you those maroon beams, jeez!!!

  • Joseph

    Truthfully… I would not have ordered them stained at all, because I feel better doing that sort of thing myself. Given the reality of your situation (ugly beams already here), I think I would have just painted them to match the door. Anything stained is going to weather like hell anyway. Paint elminates that.

  • SchoolhouseKat

    Years ago I had a vision and stained all our pine bookshelves green. Unfortunately I didn’t know what I was doing so I used a water based stain and instead of the greenish underwatery look I’d envisioned, they were GREEN – just as green as your beams were maroon. Ick. Several years after that I decided I either had to fix them or throw them away. My husband rolled his eyes when I got out my trusty sander but it actually only took a few hours to salvage them and I felt much better, especially after living with that greeniness for so long. Your beams are gorgeous now.

  • Robin

    They look better already!

    And on the kitchen lighting issue I came across a space with a double light over the island and a matching single light over a nearby table:

    It’s spaced a little bit farther apart than what you had planned to do but I thought it might help.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from He said, She said | Fix It Yourself
    Friday, 5 November, 2010

    […] that eye rolling and all, she’s not building her own house to live with mistakes. And so, she fixed it.    photo from […]

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