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This Self-Taught DIYer’s Advice Will Actually Inspire You to Pick Up a Power Tool

updated Apr 12, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Stephanie Bohn Philpott

Are you facing your first-ever home repair or maintenance project and not sure how to begin (or keep going after that)? Make your way through our starter pack. This content was created in partnership with the Toyota Corolla Cross.

Most houses don’t start out as your dream home — and we think that’s part of the fun. Take the home that Ashley Quintero and her family recently bought in Fort Worth, Texas: Beautiful but outdated, the 1950s house has a long list of projects to tackle and features to upgrade. Luckily, that’s where Ashley shines.

Ashley is a self-taught — and seriously skilled — woodworker and DIY maven. These days, she shows followers how attainable their dream projects can be. But her home-repair skills were once so nonexistent that she jokes she couldn’t even hang a picture. That all changed when she decided to dive in and build an outdoor dining table. When she showed it off online, she began getting order requests. “Within a week, I quit my job,” Ashley says.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Stephanie Bohn Philpott

We asked Ashley to walk us through one of the new-home projects she was most excited to jump into: a board-and-batten style wall in the bedroom, tackled with the help of the first-ever Toyota Corolla Cross. The Corolla Cross is a DIYer’s best friend, with exceptional cargo space for all your supplies and a sophisticated design that’s as stylish as you are.

Make Your First Move with Intention

With potential projects in every room of her new house, Ashley’s first step was to pause and consider where she wanted to begin. What would make her most feel at home? She focused on turning their dark, dated bedroom into a comfortable, finished haven.

Credit: Photo: Ashley Quintero

“I want our room to be one hundred percent and feel like it’s our space,” she said. The board-and-batten wall was the perfect marriage of Ashley’s woodworking skills and the bedroom’s need for a fresh, updated aesthetic.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Stephanie Bohn Philpott

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Measure twice, cut once: It’s an adage that holds true for all DIYs, but especially for woodworking projects. “Make sure you plan ahead and know your spacing,” Ashley says. “This is not a plan-as-you-go type of project. Once you place the boards on the wall, they would need to be removed if the calculations are incorrect.” For a project like this, it’s smart to use an online calculating tool to determine the board size and spacing that’s right for your space, then mark out on your wall where each piece goes before you get started.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Stephanie Bohn Philpott

Take a Deep Breath and Repeat After Ashley

The moral of the story? Home projects are nothing to be afraid of. “My mantra is, ‘It’ll all be fine,'” she says. “DIY can be a scary thing to jump into, and mistakes happen. When problems arise, the best thing to do is tell myself that it will be fine.” Mistakes might be annoying, but they’re fixable — and once you’ve fixed them, you’ve learned yet another new skill! “Projects have bumps along the way,” Ashley says. “But the end result is always worth it.”

One of the biggest things new DIYers need to hear is, ‘Just start.’ You can research the heck out of anything, and I encourage research, but you’re going to make a mistake. I made a mistake yesterday. You just have to start, and that’s how you learn.

Ashley Quintero
Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Stephanie Bohn Philpott

Want to make a few upgrades of your own? Start with the first-ever Toyota Corolla Cross.