From an early age, Lisa Daigneault showed a knack for working with her hands, and without much help.
At age five, she took apart and put back together an Easy Bake oven. Two years later, she painted the floor and walls of the family’s cement basement. And as a teen, Daigneault fixed up a wooden bench outside the family’s home.
“So my parents kind of knew,” she said with a chuckle.
What they knew then was what a lot of people have been learning the past few years: Daigneault is a skilled DIYer, or Do-It-Yourselfer.
The 35-year-old grew up in Langley and after attending Columbia Academy in Vancouver for broadcasting, she spent time working in Prince Rupert and Prince George before landing work in Windsor, Ont.
But all the while, her passion for DIY projects remained.
She began with refinishing old furniture and giving it new life, but soon started enhancing those skills with crafty projects.
Recently relocated — she now works for the Canadian Traffic Network (CTN) for NewCap radio, delivering traffic news to listeners on a trio of Vancouver stations (Z95.3, LG 104.3 and CISL 650) — a glance around Daigneault’s Langley condo offers a snapshot of her passion.
The dining room features a 125-year-old buffet as well as a table she sanded and stained herself. She has a pair of dressers, one which is 110 years old while the other is 60 years old. There are also two solid wood bedside tables and a solid wood coffee table and end table, all of which she has sanded, stained and painted herself.
She also upholstered a king sized headboard, a project she completed from start to finish.
A wall shelf is an old pallet and the bathroom has a ladder transformed into a towel holder.
The condo also features a wall-mounted cat scratcher, and then many pieces of home decor, from mason jars to vases and picture frames, all made and crafted by Daigneault.
“For me, it is just taking old pieces of furniture and making them new,” she explained. “I have always enjoyed this.”
“I love pieces with history, so (this) was a really cool concept for me.”
“You are going from something raw and ugly and not very pleasant to look at (and) the end result is just so fulfilling. It is satisfying.”
Daigneault searches for materials at thrift stores and garage sales and then uses the knowledge she has gleaned to complete her projects.
“You have to research it, you have to Google it, you have to get ideas from other people, you have to watch shows, that’s how I do it,” she explained.
Prior to moving back, Daigneault began selling some of her work, through her small online business, Redone It Again.
The first piece she sold was a solid wood dresser that she paid $4 for. Daigneault listed it for $30 and within 20 minutes, it was gone. She was quickly flooded with calls and emails looking for similar pieces.
Daigneault has not set up her business since coming back, but has sold some of her work, mainly to family and friends and through word of mouth.
“When I first got back to B.C., I had six dressers, so when the moving truck arrived and people were helping me move stuff, they were like ‘why do you have so many dressers?’” she said.
“I didn’t want to part with any of them, but they sold just like that.”
It is never easy to decide what to keep and what to sell.
“It is hard because a piece of you has gone into it. The hardest part is in your head you know you should share it, but it is like giving a piece of yourself away.”
She is considering setting up her business once again.
“I am testing the waters and things are different. The things that people wanted (back east) are different than what they want here,” she explained.
“People are more into crafts (here) than they are into the big pieces of bulk furniture.”
She does the majority of her work on her patio, but also occasionally uses her brother’s garage in Chilliwack when she needs more space.
In the meantime, Daigneault — who is also two semesters away from completing her psychology degree and hopes to teach broadcast students one day — is blogging (Radio Girl Gone Rustic) and posting YouTube videos (lisadradio2) of how to become a DIYer.
She is also wants to help a family in need by redoing their bedroom — headboard, dresser and bedside tables — with hopes that a business may step up and donate some bedding.
The deadline to apply is Sept. 28 and Daigneault will do the work in October.
To apply, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.