{Guest Blogger} Hangin’ Out w/ Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House

Each Friday all summer long I’m inviting blog friends over here to hang out with me and all of you! I hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far.

Today I am excited to have Sarah from The Ugly Duckling House here for a visit. Sarah and I are exclusively online friends no matter what she says. 😉 Kidding. She is one of my blogging turned real-life friends and we enjoy chatting it up weekly via texting.

I am very excited about her unconventional guest post today. Just another reason I love reading her blog.


Hi there, HOH’ers! I’m Sarah, the often paint-covered blogger behind The Ugly Duckling House. I’m a single first-time homeowner trying to turn an old woman’s house into a smart, modern space – and if I’m lucky, still keep my sanity.

If Allison has been telling you that we’re these awesome online buddies, then here’s a bit of truth for you: she’s a dirty, rotten liar – because we’re actually friends in real life! See?

That’s us. In the same room. Ipso facto = real life friends. We’re practically braiding each other’s hair. Okay, I’m kidding about that last part – but I am very lucky to have met Allison along my DIY journey. Her projects are wonderfully inspiring, and she’s always got something encouraging to say! Today, instead of a post where I highlight my best projects, I thought it might be fun to share some of my biggest project mistakes.

You see, as a DIY-er, I am constantly doing something for the first time. And not only that, but I then open myself up to additional scrutiny by posting my projects online. Mistakes (and even flat-out failures) are simply an inevitability in the DIY world. Then, I learn from what I did wrong – and they usually make for the best stories.

Take the installation of my floating laminate floors, for example. I started ripping out carpet before I had even figured out what I was going to do about the stone fireplace in my living room. When my then-boyfriend and I rented a jamb saw, we tried carving under the stone with what was supposed to be a masonry blade. We managed to make a lot of sparks and dust, but not much else. It was pretty embarrassing.

Faced with the alternative of carving out the laminate piece to the exact pattern of the jagged stones, I did a little more research and found the answer: a diamond blade. It wouldn’t be cheap, but it would cut through the rock and cement like butter. Now, thanks to a little determination, my fireplace looks picture perfect around the holidays:

Another project mistake was when I learned (the hard way) how to properly remove wallpaper from my bathroom. Stripping may be plenty of fun (demo always is, isn’t it?), but fixing a gouged wall? Not so much.

I later learned that wallpaper can be a relatively smooth process if you can separate the top layer of wallpaper from the paper backing that’s glued to the wall. Once they’ve split like KStew and RPattz (too soon?), you can soak the backing in a removal solution and peel the rest of the paper right off of the drywall.

I also took a gamble last year and painted my kitchen counter tops.

Even though the paint didn’t wind up being the solution for my kitchen, I was proud of myself for giving it a try – and even learned that the paint would be a great fix on my hideous (and yellowed) linoleum floors!

Between accidentally slicing through the extension cord to overcoming a sudden fear of saw blades altogether, mistakes (or more importantly, overcoming the obstacles from them) have been my companion throughout my DIY renovation. In the end, I think it’s just as important to recognize that the person who is teaching you today how she built her own office desk is the same person who drilled through the wrong end on one side. At any given point, we’re all students of DIY – and it should be okay when things don’t always go as planned. Eventually, we get the hang of it and surprise ourselves with things we didn’t know we were capable of. How badass is that?

Thanks so much Allison for letting me stop by today! And you all have an open invitation to stop by The Ugly Duckling House anytime.


Wasn’t that a great post? It’s not often that you read DIY failures in a guest post. She is just such a fun blogger and friend. Her blog is on my must-read list each morning. Be sure to stop by and tell her hi.

Click here to see all the bloggers in this series.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. I’m still pretty new to Sarah’s blog, but so far I really, really dig her writing style and DIY bravery. That said, WAY too soon on the KStew thing. It’s still a fresh wound, you guys. Still a fresh wound.

  2. I love your living room. It turned out great and love the rug! You did a lot of work around your home and it turned out lovely!


  3. Thanks for introducing us to Sarah’s blog, Allison! I am entranced and can’t wait to peruse her blog this weekend between my own DIY projects!

  4. Loved meeting Sarah! I’m looking forward to learning from her mistakes and seeing all her “done right” projects as well! I so get what she is writing about!

  5. I absolutely loved this post! My idea of a dream link party would be everyone posting their FAILS {I’d have my fair share, for sure!} Thanks for sharing such a fun and original take on the imperfect DIY process.

  6. Sarah, it is so awesome that you’ve got the courage to give these projects a try! I have so many things I’d like to do around the house, but I just know my husband would have a heart attack the instant I brought out the power tools. So kudos to you!

  7. Hi,

    Enjoy your blog. When I type in houseofhepworths.com, it takes me to the August 10 blog post. I have to then hit the home button to get to the current post. I don’t know if this is an issue with the blog of my computer. My computer does not add anything behind the .com.


  8. Oh Sarah, you make me smile! And give me hope that some day soon I will actually “finish” a DIY project in my own home. Thanks for the tips.
    Helen in NC

Speak Your Mind