Profile: Dunn DIY's Kirsten Dunn

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 11, 2015
 

Kirsten Dunn is a proud fifth generation family member and employee at Dunn Lumber. When she's not DIYing, she enjoys sewing, swing dancing, and spending time with her sister. She loves working with her hands and creating beauty, and has enjoyed living out some of her Pinterest dreams at Dunn DIY (Do It Yourself). We got to ask her a few questions about her work!

How did you get into DIY-ing, and how long have you been doing it?
I was working the express checkout counter at the Dunn Lumber store when I got a call from my dad telling me about Dunn Lumber’s new DIY website we were launching. I remember arriving to the shoot of our first project and suddenly thinking, “I’ve only picked up a drill a couple times in my life.” I’ve learned a ton and got a lot of help from the guys at Dunn. I’ve been DIYing my whole life. My grandpa Solhaug was a dentist and carpenter and I inherited from him a love of working with my hands. For as long as I can remember I’ve been crafting and creating, it’s just the medium of wood that’s new to me.

How did you get introduced to thrifting?
Thrifting was definitely a phase in high school, when everyone realized that they could actually afford to buy things if they thrifted. It was really my brother who inspired me to thrift and he was the one who dragged me along with him when he went. I really got into it when I started thrifting for pieces to turn into costumes. Thanks to Goodwill I have a collection of Disney princess costumes made from old dresses, curtains, and bed sheets.

What is your favorite Goodwill-find-turned-DIY project?
It’s the piano bench that we turned into a side table. This was one of the first projects that really felt like mine. It was the first project I did without my dad’s help. It’s one I’m very proud of!

What basic tools do you find indispensable for most projects?
The tools (and materials) that I have found myself using for almost every project is my drill, chop saw, screws, sand paper, and wood stain or spray paint. I am convinced that if I had these things I could easily keep our blog going for a long time!

When you come into Goodwill stores for a project, do you generally know what you’re looking for? Or are you just waiting for that to-be-transformed item to pop out at you?
I’ve started to notice that the times that I have something set in mind before I walk in always take way longer than the times that I go in with no preconceived ideas. The fun thing about Goodwill is that it’s never quite the same and you have to bend and move with it. So if you go in looking for the exact same lamp that that one blogger repurposed into a terrarium you might be disappointed, but if you use your imagination and others inspiration you just might come up with something fabulous!

What advice would you offer a novice DIY-er as they hunt for the perfect item to transform?
It is not a perfect process. I always used to imagine myself walking into Goodwill seeing some truly hideous piece of furniture that everyone else had passed by and saying to myself, “With a few tweaks and a fresh coat of paint that would be perfect!” It doesn’t work like that—at least not for me! Instead it’s usually after several rounds of the store that I think, “I guess we might be able to do something with that.” Then I buy it, feel dumb and seriously question my decision! As I start writing the plans for changing it, my doubts begin to ebb and by the time I start on the transformation I’m totally sold! So my advice is to take your risk, don’t worry if you feel dumb, and just do it! Because chances are even those amazing bloggers that we worship go through the same process of doubt, sometimes failure, and finally success!

As you’re getting ready for Earth Day, check out some of Dunn DIY’s projects—including many reused and refurbished items that fit perfectly in your home or your garden. Dunn Lumber is also a part of our Earth Day Giveaways this year! So if Kirsten has inspired you to get your DIY on—tune in to our Facebook page to win a gift card from Dunn Lumber!

Here’s the latest project from Dunn DIY, featuring thrifted items from Goodwill Ballard:


 

Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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