One of the idiosyncrasies I’ve noticed about England, from my somewhat outside perspective, is that DIY (Do-It-Youself, or Home-Improvement) is very popular.
The reasons why people engage in DIY have always been numerous and complex. For some, DIY has provided a rare opportunity for creativity and self expression. For others it has been an unwelcome necessity, driven purely by economic considerations. Then there has been a group which feels that a building can never be a home unless it has been altered and modified to reflect a change of occupancy. A final group has traditionally taken the line that if you want a job done well, you must do it yourself.
There is a significant number of young homemakers for whom there is no option but DIY. Their new home, whether bought on a mortgage which consumes a major slice of their income, or rented at similarly challenging rates, will often require essential refurbishment and even structural repair.
Some of these people are reluctant first-time DIYers. They would much prefer to hire professionals, but can’t afford to do so. The majority, however, welcome the opportunity.
One of my earliest memories is of my dad re-flooring our house with wooden tiles. An arduous job. One of my biggest DIY achievements was building a kitchen, which was about the size of my current apartment, completely from scratch when I was a teenager. Needless to say, I haven’t done anything so major for years but last year I repainted my bedroom in my flat (apartment) in England – with bright orange walls!