Her “how to” tutorials are a big hit on YouTube and her DIY blog is inspiring home renovators. Sharon Dale reports on the Carpenter’s Daughter from Doncaster.
Power tools have never held any fear for Vikkie Richmond. Her parents were serial property developers so she was brought up on a diet of DIY and her father’s joinery workshop in Doncaster was a natural playground.
Now she is encouraging others to “get stuck in” as she charts her own home renovation on “The Carpenter’s Daughter – a practical girl’s DIY, travel and lifestyle blog”. She’s also filmed a series of YouTube tutorials that have picked up thousands of hits.
Among her most popular posts are “Make an easy DIY workbench”, “How to make shed shelves” and “A girl’s guide to laying carpet”. Her video of cheap fix blinds for her £215 second-hand conservatory has had over 15,000 views so far and shows her making blinds from blackout lining suspended on poles.
Her latest is a fantastic step-by-step mini movie on how to make your own roller blinds and there are some great tips, like using Ripstop fabric that doesn’t fray, so you don’t need to hem it, and buying a cheap second-hand blind for its component parts. “That started when I was quoted £67 for some made-to-measure blinds for my tiny kitchen window. I decided to make my own and it cost me £17.65, giving me a total saving of just over £49. That’s a fairly typical scenario. I decide I can’t afford someone else to do it and then I think ‘how hard can it be?’,” says Vikkie, who describes herself as a cross between Sarah Beeny and Kirsty Allsopp with Charlie Dimmock’s energy.
Most of her projects require tools and so she includes helpful lists of what you will need for each job, along with advice on what and where to buy. The ones she uses most are her screwdriver, spirit level, drill and saw.
Her blogging and vlogging began as a way of using her English and Journalism degree. It also provided communication with the outside world as she worked at home selling vintage clothes online and renovating her house. She is following in her parents’ footsteps after a career in retail as manager of Country Casuals in Harrogate and Solihull. Desperate to swap renting for a home of their own, she and her fiancé managed to get on the property ladder three years ago thanks to an ugly duckling house in a Warwickshire village. The two-bedroom dormer bungalow had been on the market for two years before the couple bought it.
“It looked awful from the outside and the layout inside was all wrong so we managed to buy it for £102,000,” says Vikkie. “We couldn’t afford to do it up so I decided to give up work, do the house up and go back to selling vintage clothes online, which I used to do at university.”
As she had previously rented, she had never done any DIY before. “I’d grown up with it and seen my parents do it, so it didn’t faze me at all. The first thing I did was buy a wallpaper stripper to get the woodchip paper off and then I had a go at plastering.”
So far she has tackled everything from laying laminate flooring to moving radiators, fixing leaks and tiling. “I love it. My fiance’s parents helped us to do the bathroom and they and my own parents have helped me with advice. Mostly, though, I spend hours researching on online forums and YouTube if I need to know how do something,” says Vikkie, who is also busy converting a Mercedes Vito into a camper van.
Although he appreciates her efforts and her creativity, her fiancé does not enjoy DIY. “I have a lot of patience and I don’t like rushing things, whereas he is the opposite. I’d rather take my time and so if we work on something together we argue.
“He’d happily pay someone to do it but I am a true Yorkshire girl. I like value for money so if I can save by doing it myself I will. I was quoted £13,000 to convert the Vito into a camper van but I’ve almost finished it for a fraction of the price.”
Her next project is turning wood palettes into art work for the hallway and it will feature online soon. Her videos, which she shoots on a smartphone, started with showing people how to upcycle old furniture before progressing to hard core DIY. “I really enjoy communicating and you get a lot of interaction. I also think the videos help encourage more women to have a go.”
She only has one concern about inspiring more women to get a grip on a drill and find their inner handywoman. “I’m worried that some men might use me as an excuse not to bother doing anything,” she says. “They might just show their partner my blogs and tutorials and tell them to get on with it.”
* The Carpenters Daughter by Vikkie Richmond, is great for DIY advice and money-saving tips, www.thecarpentersdaughter.co.uk
Making Spaces, making-spaces.net, by Leeds-based Karen Knox is also very inspiring. She is the daughter of a joiner with a background in the arts and creative industries.
Swoonworthy.co.uk by Kimberly Duran is also very stylish and comes with lots of DIY advice.
Apartmenttherapy.com. Offers interiors inspiration with tips on room makeovers and DIY.
Designsponge.com is an American design and DIY blog with ideas and lots of Real Home interiors from across the Pond.