Matt Muenster is in a bit of a predicament over on the DIY Network. The network is, of course, about inspiring people to tackle home projects on their own, but Muenster’s area of expertise is bathrooms, and those are not the most DIY-able rooms in the house, he admits.
“The bathroom is a tricky room,” said Muenster, host of “Bath Crashers,” in a recent phone interview. “We are a DIY culture now, and DIY Network is partially to blame. TV makes it look easy. ... I try to communicate that you need to be really real with yourself about your skill level, and if you say to yourself ‘I think I can do plumbing,’ then you can’t do plumbing.
“I think that’s one of the big tips that I give everyone: Know when it’s time to leave it up to the pros. Plumbing and electrical, where there are code issues involved – that’s pro stuff.”
But that doesn’t mean the bathroom is a DIY-free zone. There are things you can do in there, and Muenster – appearing at the Southern Ideal Home Show in Raleigh this weekend – really wants you to try.
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“I’m convinced everyone can tile,” he said. “I’m convinced everyone can do some simple wood-working like building a mirror frame. I really do feel like that’s a teachable thing.”
Muenster says the tile professionals know the tricks of the trade and can do it a lot faster, but it’s a manageable project. “You can take a tile course or watch some YoutTube videos and really, you can do a pretty good job of it,” he said.
“I want everyone to be inspired. That’s part of the job – to inspire and instill confidence and make people feel like, ‘Yeah, I’m ready to do this.’ But I also feel a responsibility to be real with people as well.”
Muenster will appear four times during the three-day home show this weekend. He’ll give a presentation at each session and wants people to come armed with questions.
“I’ll share what I’ve learned, and mostly it’s about pushing the envelope, how we use these spaces,” he said. “Mistakes I’ve made, what to avoid – and plant some ideas in your head about how you can really change how you live your life by some decisions you can make in that space.”
Southern Ideal Home Show
When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Sept. 22-23) and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 24)
Where: N.C. State Fairgrounds (Exposition Center), 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh
Cost: $7-$9 ($5 for 60 & over, free for 12 & under)
See Matt Muenster: Matt will be on the Fresh Ideas stage at 2 p.m. Friday, 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Eco-friendly bath tips
Muenster loves incorporating eco-friendly elements in bath renovations. That means more than low-flow faucets and toilets. Here are a couple of Muenster’s ideas that help the environment.
Repurpose an old chest of drawers as a vanity. “It’s a great thing and a great look, and kind of on-trend. ... Anytime you can reuse something, that’s great.”
Bamboo. “Bamboo is about as eco-friendly a material that you can use. People get scared by wood in a bathroom, but they don’t need to be, if they use it correctly. And it warms up the joint a little bit, especially if you’re ripping up a bunch of tile and you feel you need to replace it all with tile again. Just a little bit of accent can soften things up. Bamboo is an amazing product. It’s twice as hard as oak, it grows like a weed – I mean, it is a weed in parts of the world. You can harvest bamboo in six years and that oak tree grows for 70, 80 years before we can even think about making lumber out of it.”