I am so excited for today’s post. Last week, I got to interview Sherry Petersik from YoungHouseLove!!!!!!!!
YoungHouseLove is my favorite DIY blog for numerous reasons: their great style and projects which come with excellent step by step instructions and pictures, but most of all they seem like very down to earth people with a passion for DIY and sharing their story as they go. And that seemed even more evident within the short time I got to spend interviewing her. So without further adieu, here it is:
Heather Marshall: How do find inspiration for DIY projects and room ideas, since you post 1-2 times a day that is a lot of inspiration to come up with?
Sherry Peterisk: It is really like a combination [of DIY and our life]. I think some of our posts are more on our life and that does not really require more research or things that we have found work for us. I think that is one thing about having a blog that is the story of your life and sharing that. Instead of trying to be Real Simple and telling other people how to organize or interviewing experts on how to pick a paint color. It’s really more of sharing our first person experiences, so it feels less research heavy. Although, of course, when we tackle DIY projects, we hit the Internet, ask contractors, friends, and leave no stone unturned until we are reasonably certain something is not going to back fire.
HM: And you have sort of hit on my next question. Which is when you are doing a particular project for the first time, such as, I know you and your sewing machine are sort of frenemies or anything with power tools can be quite scary, so how do you research the topic and how to do that particular task properly, so you come off as credible sources?
SP: I think a lot of it is googling and asking experts. For example, my mom is better at sewing so I might just call her and be like, “Honestly, can I do a zipper? Do you think I can do a zipper?” and she will tell it to me straight.
And when it deals with what we would call the heavier duty or more safety conscious projects, we do more research for those just in the name of keeping it safe for our family and also keeping it safe for others who might replicate something. For example, when we knocked out a wall, we had to go through measures to make sure we don’t need a permit, make sure it is not load bearing. If it is complicated, we get a contractor to help us. And we sort of do the same thing with electrical.
We always say what’s the worst that could happen? And if the worst that can happen is I sew something and it looks ganged up and I throw it away, that’s not the worst that can happen. But if the worst that can happen is the house burns down or the ceiling falls in, then we are all about experts. We always tell everyone that the big disclaimer is we are not experts. We are learning as we go, but we kind of think that is the fun of it. We think people are following along because they feel like they are like us, so not being experts kind of works in our favor, although, it does require us to figure things out and do some research before reporting to everyone what we are doing.
HM: How do you guys overcome obstacles when doing your projects? You guys are always very honest about anything bad that happens, like the sandbox trauma and how the sand ending up being harmful to Clara, so how do you determine what to do next when something goes bad?
SP: We are always very honest. I think if our goal was to be Perfect Sally Homemaker and the Tool Slinging Husband, then we wouldn’t share the struggles. But since Day 1, we have been this is a blog about our adventures and misadventures. It’s always an interesting curve because at the times it’s always very frustrating when something doesn’t work, but by the time we find a solution and blog about it, it is sort of like a nice arc. It’s like your half hour TV [program], where there is a conflict and a resolution. And it’s nice to hear from people who say, “Oh my gosh, you saved me so much trouble. I would have done it the same way you were doing it and I am so glad you told us it didn’t work and I am so glad you were honest and you saved me time.”
HM: Like I said, my blog will be for people who are renting, so they can’t really tear out a wall or paint an entire room, so what would be your one tip for people trying to decorate their apartment or rental?
SP: I always think about this, and maybe it’s hard when you are in an apartment or rental because you see the limits, but I always look at apartments or rentals and see all the things you still can do. At least 50% of the projects we share, you can do in an apartment or rental because you can paint furniture or you can hang art. There are so many planes [you can change]; there are the floors, you can add a rug; there are the walls, you can hang stuff or even lean a giant canvas that you have painted to add color. Then there are all your furnishings, you can add color with pillows and linens, and lamps can be brightly colored. To me, every single thing in a room is an opportunity to add personality. I have seen apartments or dorms done so amazingly, then if it’s really your passion you shouldn’t feel limited because there are so many fun things you can do.
HM: What would be one of your favorite things about doing DIY projects?
SP: This is going to sound so weird, but I like before, like the planning. It’s not that I like research, but I like the brainstorming for more creative things because that’s when there is all these possibilities. A perfect example is when we built Clara a play kitchen. Like the most fun we had was we went on a walk with her to just get out of the house and talked in code because we did not want her to know about her play kitchen, so we were like, “The kitchen project that we are going to be doing…” but we never said for Clara and we would say things like, “Maybe a bowl could be the sink” to just figure it out. And it was just a fun walk because we were just thinking and brainstorming together. And of course, the obvious answer is I like seeing it all come together, but it is very fun to me going into something new because you have all the opportunities. In the middle of something, it can start to get dodgy because you are committed to something like this tile or this color or this fabric and there are more boundaries. But I guess in the beginning there are no boundaries and I guess that can be very scary, but it also means like you can decide to go for it and can do something very different and its all wide open.
Isn’t Sherry the best!? I am so grateful she took time out of her busy day and allowed me to interview her! Thank you again, Sherry! You provided some great information and I can’t wait to get some more DIY projects under my belt!