About Thumb and Hammer

Home improvements can be overwhelming, whether you do it yourself or pay to have it done for you.

Thumbandhammer.com approaches home improvements honestly and realistically.  The mistakes, the head-scratching and the learning curve are all out in the open.

By sharing with you my experiences and what I have learned in my years as a homeowner I hope to either give you the confidence to tackle your own projects or help you recognize your limitations.  At the very least you can learn from my successes and my mistakes.

About me

My name is Doug and I am not an expert.  I am basically self-taught in most areas of home renovation.  I will be the first to admit that, for me, many projects have had a steep learning curve.  This is not a how-to site.  It is a how-I-did-it or how I-had-it-done site.  I have been a homeowner since 1996.  During that time I have been both a do-it-yourselfer and I have dealt with my share of contractors.  And I know first-hand the consequences of bad DIY after buying, in 2003, a money pit that was butchered by the previous owner.

I currently live in that money pit with my wife, whom I married in 1999, my daughter, who was born in 2002, and our two dogs somewhere in Ontario, Canada.  I started thumbandhammer.com as a hobby site back in 2000, partially for the reasons stated above but also, I must admit, as a vanity site.  I never had a reason to pick up a hammer until I became a homeowner, so I wanted to show what a weekend handyman with no experience could accomplish.  It was a case of “if I can do it, anybody can” combined with “look what I can do.”  My “9 to 5” has nothing to do with any of this stuff….

 

History

August 6 2000:  Thumbandhammer goes online, hosted by Freeservers.

October 2000:  Thumbandhammer moves to Yahoo GeoCities.

Fall 2003:  Thumbandhammer goes “Dot.Com.”  Site redesigned.

2006:  Entire site re-coded in valid XHTML and valid CSS.  Site refreshed.  Begin using WordPress for blogging platform.

Fall 2009 to Summer 2010: Another major rewrite and redesign of the website from top to bottom.  Commissioned design of new mascot.  The DIY Guy character was designed by Jocelyn Ceniza whom I contacted through oDesk. Her personal website is Zyndtel Design.

Summer 2012:   Migrated entire site to WordPress to simplify development and to offer mobile device compatibility.

Summer 2013:  A serious problem with the website did not allow for any updates, prompting yet another major rewrite and redesign.  Between September 2013 and January 2014, photos were re-scanned or re-sampled and a lot of content was re-written and re-organized.  Every page and every post had to be copy and pasted from the existing site to the new site, a tedious process that occupied much of my spare time on weekends.  My “9 to 5” has nothing to do with this stuff either…. [Stats as of January 6, 2014:  150 blog posts, 50+ pages of content, over 400 photographs (not including stock images and other graphics]

Personal Privacy Statement

I believe that authenticity and transparency are important. The information, experiences and personal anecdotes that I share on this website and its related properties are all true and honest.

However, I also believe that protecting my personal privacy is also important.

  • I respect the privacy of family (especially my wife and daughter), friends, neighbors and other individuals who I may mention.
  • Because we are dealing with illegal renovations done by the previous owner, there could be legal or civil ramifications for him or us if his identity is revealed either directly or indirectly.
  • I am very careful not to identify contractors or other professionals.  The only businesses I mention are chains or franchises and in those cases I only identify the parent companies.  I don’t want to jeopardize past or future relationships.  Contractors may be hesitant to work for someone who has publicly complained about them or other contractors in the past, even if they are not specifically named.
  • The previous point is a double-edge sword, since some contractors or businesses would go “above and beyond” for some positive buzz.
  • By not connecting my “real life” to my web presence, my content is more consistent with the experiences of an “average” homeowner.
  • Bottom line:  I place a high value my own privacy, especially in this day and age of the NSA, Google and Facebook….  Besides, providing my full name would not add value to my content.   In fact, I believe that maintaining a certain level of anonymity allows me to provide more authentic content because I am the only one influencing it.

So, please forgive me if I don’t give you my full name or exact location.  I suppose I could have used a pseudonym, but that felt unnatural.  Doug is indeed my real name and I want for us to be on a first name basis.  Thank-you for understanding.