ft image 3

How weekend DIY projects can actually make you a better lawyer

Should we just start billing for this stuff now?
Should we just start billing for this stuff now?

The practice of law can be described as:

a) Dry.

b) Logical.

c) Stressful.

d) All of the above and then some.

What if I told you I had a simple solution to help alleviate some of a) – d)? And all you need is a can of Annie Sloan chalk paint, some sandpaper and about three and a half hours on a Sunday afternoon.

As I pleasantly discovered, DIY-ing is a restorative practice, and certainly cheaper than therapy. As my favourite advertising book, The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy, would say, the opportunity to access the creative side of your brain and truly empower your creative resourcefulness has a welcoming, calming effect on your psyche that will also make you a more valuable lawyer/copywriter/Don Draper.

Touchy-feely stuff aside, DIY is a fun, mindless outlet that will get you in good stead come Monday morning, and has the added benefit of looking great in your home too.

Prompted by an upcoming visit from a friend, I realized our guest room desperately needed some attention. I put my DIY skills to the test and embarked on a new side-table project to complete the redecoration. Here’s my rough-and-ready guide to a creative afternoon:

Step 1.

Find some old side tables on the side of the road. Ca-ching.


Step 2.

Decide on your new colour scheme. I went with Annie Sloan’s Old White.


Step 3.

Remove and spray paint the old brass hardware a brighter gold.

spray 1spray 2










Step 4.

Paint on two coats and let each dry completely between applications, about 30-45 mins. Grab your sandpaper and have at it. This will bring out the grain in the wood and give your item the perfect rustic-vintagey look.

drying paint

Step 5.

Once you’ve achieved your desired texture, apply a good layer of wax (sold alongside your paint products) to ensure the chalk-like consistency doesn’t keep coming off. Once set, re-attach the refreshed hardware.

wax on wax off

Step 6.

Finish the update with a new West Elm bedspread, Diptyque candle, fresh roses and voila! Guest room makeover complete.

voila update guest

PS. How satisfying is the the before-and-afters?

b4 and after


Emma Gregg Emma Gregg is in-house counsel at Travelers Canada, and
Precedent’s design columnist. Read more of her tips for DIY decor.