He Knows How to Polish His Wood

J.’s been wanting to polish his wood for a loooong time. It was all he could talk about for months. Then one day several brown boxes were delivered by UPS. And he actually started — and FINISHED. In 3 days.


Scratched Wood Floors

STEP ONE: Move all furniture (a real challenge when you live in Manhattan), cover everything else with plastic tarps.

STEP TWO: Begin Sanding (great upper body workout!). The machines were no joke.

Sanding Wood Floors

STEP THREE: Apply Wood Filler to cracks in floor, then SAND again.


STEP FOUR: FREAK OUT because there’s 3 inches of dust coating everything (and his family is arriving in 24 hours)!!


STEP FIVE: Apply First Coat and do not step in it, on it, near it — for a few hours.

STEP SIX: Apply Second Coat. Let it dry. Afterwards, socks for everyone — especially the dog who slides across the floor like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

Apply PolishPut socks on the dog

AFTER: Wha-laaah! Brand new floors!


Despite being forewarned by others (“What are you freakin’ crazy? Hire someone!”), J. managed to save thousands and do an incredibly professional job. Here’s what we learned:


  • Start this project a few days before you have family from out of town visiting (although it may provide extra motivation to finish!)
  • Do this in the summer when the average temperature is 90 degrees and the humidity is so thick Manhattan feels like the Amazon Rainforest


  • Enforce “no shoes” rule
  • Cover everything with plastic tarps and tape them down (or they’re useless)
  • Offer nonstop encouragement and praise (“Honey, you’re a master!”, “You’re so close!”)
  • Give kudos to the handyman boyfriend who just saved thousands of dollars by insisting on doing it himself!

EXTRA BONUS: I’m totally cool with the five-second rule now. My man knows how to polish his wood.



How To Brainwash Your Man

Program your plasma to HGTV and lose the remote. From House Hunters to Cousins on Call to Love It or List It, your couch potato (your man) will be inspired and itching to show you how handsome his version of the handyman can be. It’s like the movie Inception — but with decorating.

J. has always been the fixer-upper-starter-not finisher type. There were at least five half painted walls/projects abandoned with their frog tape wilting and flapping with neglect. But during the holiday break, the channel surfer landed on HGTV one night and never left. And then it happened. He began to actually finish what he started!

Tonight, it’s past 10pm and he just asked me to make him a pot of coffee. “Waat? Cawfee…now?” But when I saw him pry open a paint can instead of a beer bottle, and grab the brushes and rags from the utility closet, I knew it was go time. I quickly rushed to grind the coffee beans.

Ladies, just ease into it…slowly. Start with an episode of House Hunters which is always interesting because you get to play a sort of “Choose Your Own House” game. Last night, there was a couple that was in the market for an island. Then try those cute Property Brothers twins — one finds the house, the other remodels it. Every girl’s fantasy. And don’t turn the TV off, ever. Even when he starts snoring. By morning, you will have your own Bob Ross in the bedroom, albeit much younger, and hopefully a hell of a lot better looking.

Happy Home Improvement!

HGTV Inspiration

Plastered in the Bedroom

After a few weeks of living in a shroud of tarps, frog tape and clouds of dust, J. finished. The East Village has staked its claim on the Upper West Side, or on my side of the bedroom, at least. Painted in dark blue, the skyline is still masculine, but the dusty blue twilight above it softens the room. Done in a technique J. said was “Venetian Plaster,” the upper wall looks like marble and is smooth to the touch. At night, it bears a moonlit glow when we turn the lights down.

The focal point is the spiral church tower in the middle, a replica of the real thing that sits on E. 12th Street, a reminder of a defunct house of worship that now guards an NYU sky-rise dorm. We plan on putting pictures in the “windows” of the buildings, so we can act as peeping toms in our own bedroom.

What’s on his side? A rendering of Columbia’s sprawling campus and dome-shaped library…it’s coming along, just needs a more few hand-drawn touches.

It’s finally starting to feel like HOME.