Decatur Makers is kicking off a regular sharing of some of our inspiring members with a first spotlight on the amazing Corinne Matthews:
Why do you love making things?
I’ve worked on many projects over the years for many clients. It truly gives me pleasure to transform a space into something completely different. I believe this feeling began when I was a teenager learning to sew. It absolutely fascinated me to be able to take a piece of fabric, cut it up, add some stitches and come up with an entire outfit that I could guarantee no one else in school was wearing. I remember this same feeling around 2005 when I began building furniture. I could pick up a piece of wood, cut it up, put it back together and produce something entirely new. I love being about to look at an item and figure out how it was made by looking at the seams and joint and then duplicating what I see or using it as inspiration for something new. I love having an outlet to express my creativity and then calling it work so I have an excuse to do it all day long. The first piece of furniture I sold for actual money was a console table I found the inspiration for in a magazine while working with my first client. The price of the table was twice my client’s budget so clearly the original table was not going to work. I made a modified version of this table that fit my client’s space perfectly. I ran into that same client about two years ago and she mentioned she still has the table.
Favorite DIY project you’ve worked on?
In 2017, I took on what would become one of my favorite projects to date. For 10 years, I lived with what I called, the world’s ugliest bathroom. Not only did it have the strangest configuration but this “straight out of 1970” relic was not weather proofed, nor well thought out. It was a shared closet/bathroom space, with carpet (yuck), and one vent (which was not located in the second room containing the toilet and shower) making this room either very cold or very hot, and tile that was sprayed with the same paint that sprayed all throughout the house. I think the previous owner hired “one man and a spray gun” to paint every surface in the house when they decided to sell including the tile, walls, windows, thermostats, light switches, etc. In the winter months, I chose to keep the toilet door closed which meant for 10 winters, I sat on my hands when using the toilet because the seat was always so cold sitting in a room with no heat or air.
On November 11, the demolition began and I was never as happy to see a room being ripped out. What was left was this massive empty space that I intended to turn into a master bedroom suite inspired by one of my favorite vacations. I knew taking on about 75% of the work myself would mean my days sleeping in the guest room on a sofa that was 10” too short for me would be greatly increased. But I would also get everything I wanted exactly how I wanted it. The construction took about 6 months to complete but 3.5 years later, it was worth every minute. I love spending time in my new bedroom/bathroom remodel. I’ve even become a “bathroom snob”. Going on vacation now is a bit challenging as I have yet to find a place that feels as “vacation happy” as my own space at home.
During the remodel, the toilet got its own room complete with a heated bidet seat which meant the days of sitting on a cold seat were gone forever. The tub and vanity swapped walls so a double-sided fireplace could be installed between the bedroom and bathroom. But the crowning glory in this space of became the 7’x6’ steam shower with the full length reclining heated bench. The shower became a space to run to at the end of a long day, short day, or any kind of day to lay down, steam, pamper, relax, and feel like a new person. Isn’t this what we seek when we go on vacation? I wanted to feel great even if was for a quick shower. The bathroom has also proved to be an amazing refuge during covid when vacationing came to a halt and being black during a pandemic meant stress, trauma, racial strife, death, and suffering became an even more pronounced part of everyday life.
The tropical blue colors remind me of the amazing Caribbean beaches (which I’m pretty sure in another life, marks the site of my birth). I also love the beauty of natural light, so I added a 6’ wide window above the vanity as well as a skytube in the ceiling to let it as much light as possible while still maintaining privacy. It’s hard to pinpoint the thing I love the most about this bathroom. The heated floor that provides heat from head to toe, the space saving pocket doors, the environmentally friendly fireplace, the custom California closet, or the touchless faucets have more than earned their keep during the pandemic when you find yourself washing your hands more in one day then you use to in a week. I also love the heated toilet bidet seat and the amazing soaking tub. The tub has built in arm rests and grab bars which are very helpful to get out of a tub after soaking for a few hours. As my knees continue to age, those grab bars will be even more appreciated. The custom floating vanity offers the perfect pop of color reminiscent of the ocean. But above all else, I think what I love about this master bedroom suite the most is that it makes me feel like I’m on vacation every time I walk inside.
Fun fact about me… some girls love diamonds. I love power tools. Forget the small velvet box. If you want to see me smile, bring me a box with a bright red bow and shiny new tool.