Trust yourself, says our DIY queen

23:00, Jan 17 2014
 Loren Heaphy
NAILING IT: Loren Heaphy believed the thing women feared most about DIY was that it was harder than it actually was.

Nelson DIY star Loren [Loz] Heaphy's top tip for how to tackle home improvement tasks is to "follow your instincts".

The one half of "Loz and Tom" from television show The Block, believes the popularity of DIY has exploded in the last decade as awareness grows of the need to do more with less.

"There's a huge feeling of achievement when you create something yourself. I think over the last 10 years it's become more popular as we become more aware of the waste we are creating - people have become more aware of their impact on the environment."

The international marketing manager for Nelson Tasman Tourism and her husband Tom Heaphy live in a rental home on Nelson's Port Hills, but they are aiming to buy a home they can do up and call their own. Mrs Heaphy admitted that the first time she had used a power tool was when she helped to make a picture frame to audition for the television show. Now, they were as familiar as kitchen appliances.

"It's pretty sexy using a power tool. A Paslode nail gun is my favourite because it's loud and it's very cool.

"I never used one before and now, look, I'm name-dropping."


Mrs Heaphy said she was the painter, decorator and picture hanger in the duo. Mrs Heaphy believed New Zealanders' fascination and skill in home DIY stemmed from a culture of having to make-do.

"Kiwis have grown up in farm houses and baches that are rustic, the environment is rustic and the wood aesthetic is beautiful."

She also believed the current popularity was linked to her generation's awareness of a decreased emphasis on consumerism.

"I'm 30, and it's a big thing in my generation, plus easy access to information allows us to do these things by just going online."

Her advice on painting is to use big samples.

"Find the wall you want to paint and do a large, table size sample, because colour looks very different at different times of the day. Put the sample where the light is going to hit at different times of the day.

"You do have to trust your instinct with colour and just because something is popular doesn't mean it will work for you.

"Use the $5 test pots and you can't go wrong."

She believed the thing women feared most about DIY was that it was harder than it actually was, but it never hurt to ask for help.

"My biggest skill is probably ability with spatial awareness and I think most women are like that. Tom works in tangibles and I work in intangibles which is why we make a good DIY team. We know our strengths and weaknesses."

The Nelson Mail