Even the most well thought out home improvement projects sometimes have a way of lingering — especially when you’re tackling them by yourself.
Gabrielle Woolwine knows exactly how that feels.
“I moved into a new home and was trying to add some character to it by adding some wainscoting myself. But I would find myself getting only so far and having to stop to go do carpool or laundry. I only had these little spots of time to work on these projects, and I remember thinking how great it would be to have six pairs of hands instead of just one. I would have gotten it done in a few hours,” she says.
The Queen Creek mom mentioned her frustration to some friends, and Club Project was formed — a group of six handy gal pals who devote one day each month to finishing a project at one of their homes.
“We all kind of moved out to Queen Creek about the same time and were friends socially and kind of knew we had these common interests in design and home beautification. And we were all in the same season of our lives, where our children were getting a little older. So we discussed it over lunch and laid down some ground rules, and we’ve been full-throttle ever since,” she says.
The women will appear Nov. 11 on “The Nate Berkus Show” on FOX 10 (KSAZ-TV), where they’ll tell about their group and make over two thrifted pieces of furniture. In the club are Candice Cook, Cara Jones, Lettie Peterson and Minda Pacheco, of Queen Creek, and Jill McKee of Gilbert.
On a typical Club Project workday, the women tile floors, wallpaper rooms, refinish furniture or paint walls. They work a full eight hours — no, ifs, ands or buts.
The hostess is responsible for food and drinks, and for rounding up supplies, tools and equipment needed for the job.
“We’ve found that the clearer the rules are, the easier it is for no hard feelings to hang around. I have a sister-in-law who’s tried this in the city where she lives, and it didn’t work well because they didn’t establish those ground rules,” says Woolwine.
Among the tenets: Club Project days are set in stone. If a woman begs off early or misses a work day, she “owes” that time to the hostess and must make it up.
There’s also no complaining.
“Whatever someone asks us to do, we’re doing it. So, we have painted a garage in July. It was hot, and we were sweating, and it wasn’t a lot of fun in that sense, but we did it. You do whatever is asked cheerfully and willingly, because you want that attitude returned to you when you’re asking everyone to come to your home and work on something.”
But the cardinal rule, says Woolwine, is that “friendship conquers all. There’s no way some tiling project is going to ruin our friendship. Our friendship is woven into the walls of our homes. I look at my chairs, and I see Minda and Cara laughing over the staple gun or Candice and Lettie tiling my backsplash.”
The women have operated Club Project for nearly two years. They try to take occasional time away from home improvement tasks to go “junking” or thrifting, or celebrate birthdays.
“Lettie (a wedding designer by trade) has a wedding almost every weekend. Jill and I have teenagers. Minda’s a foster parent. There’s a whole world of things going on for each of us outside of this, and time with each other is so scarce,” says Woolwine. “(With Club Project,) we’re guaranteed some laughter and creativity with people we love once a month. We found something that fills our cup.”