Elle Franco has a passion for DIY that is not easy to beat. She wowed our Johannesburg HOMEMAKERS Expo visitors at the Builders DIY Stage with her impressive knowledge and her bubbly disposition. Her enthusiasm for DIY has lead to a new, exciting role as presenter on The Home Channel’s latest show, Home Made Easy. We chatted to Elle about all things DIY.
Elle Franco is building a successful and high-profile career around DIY. What is it about DIY that you love so much?
When I was younger I was told that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. And as cliché as this sounds it does hold so much truth. I have always loved presenting and DIY and worked very hard to make the two possible for me to do together as a career. I must say you do still work but when you love what you do it is easier to work hard and give it your absolute best.
What is there not to love about DIY! It is creative, satisfying and allows you to get physical and work with your hands. Making something really gives you such a sense of achievement. DIY is an interest and activity that challenges your creativity and problem solving abilities and that is why I love it so much.
DIY is more popular than ever. Why do you think it’s so popular right now?
You are so right, DIY is popular now more than ever… Yay! I think it is because of social media, the power of images and the use of sharing on the internet. Now your home DIY projects can be photographed and shared with others also doing DIY and that starts a conversation and maybe inspires others around who have never tried DIY but would like to.
I feel it is more like a community now of people who enjoy the same interests and I must say, it is a really fun community to be in!
Have you always been into DIY?
Yes. I have always loved DIY and that is because I grew up with DIY being an activity in our family. My parents would always be doing DIY – my mom painting the outdoor planter pots, ceilings or walls of our home and my dad never calling the “company guys” in to tile our bathroom… he would do it himself and I would watch him and hand him his tools and ask a lot of questions. Even my grandparents where into DIY. My granddad would build his own fireplaces and fountains by the pool and my gran would do her own flower arrangements.
My inspiration for DIY started early on in my life and as I grew older I started experimenting in my own DIY projects, in my room, projects at school and some of my first DIYs I can remember was decorating old mirror frames using glue with rocks or mosaic tiles (in fact, I gave a friend one as a gift) and painting the furniture in my room or hand painting wooden cell phone holders to sell at the yearly school fair.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you’d been given when you were first starting out in DIY?
Measure once, twice and maybe 10 times to be 100% sure and then you can cut the wood or carry on with building your project. When I started out I would just “quickly measure” and skip some planning steps and then the project would need to be redone. So now I take my time with measurements, dimensions and the planning out of projects.
What is one really quick idea for sprucing up your home?
Paint. Painting the walls of a room, existing furniture/appliances or bathroom/kitchen cupboard doors is the quickest and easiest way to spruce up your home, with a fresh new colour, design look or textures. And it is great exercise for the arms!
Three essential DIY tools you absolutely cannot go without?
I always mention this to the audiences at HOMEMAKERS Expos when I am on stage sharing info about the tools I use. If you want to start DIY-ing and want to buy tools but don’t know which ones to choose, there are 3 tools that you can do so much with. Number one, a cordless power drill (who uses corded nowadays? hehe!), number two, a sander and then number three, a jigsaw. Don’t go buying an angle grinder that you will hardly use! I see so many beginner DIYers make that mistake because they see it on the shelf in a hardware store.
I know that you’ve done a ton of DIY projects. What is one of your favourites?
I have done so many DIY projects and they are all my “babies” and I love them all ha ha. My favourite DIY projects will have to be my outdoor pallet furniture I built and the second is a recent project I built for an episode of the TV show on Home Channel called “Home Made Easy”. I presented how to build a beautiful glass top coffee table made from a wooden window shutter and some pieces of wood.
What’s the horizon for Elle Franco?
Does that horizon ever end? I am so happy to have launched my own YouTube channel featuring my DIY projects and tool review videos so I am wanting to expand on that and add more and more videos to hopefully inspire others and especially women to take up DIY in their home. In the near future I am also wanting to host my own DIY workshops focusing on women, children and senior citizens teaching them how to use tools and build their own DIY projects. I think that would be so much fun! So keep a look out on my social media for updates on DIY projects, tool, competitions and where I am and what I am doing.
Be sure to follow Elle Franco’s DIY tips and tricks on her Facebook page.