Nothing in my adult life brings me back to my 7th grade, zit-ridden, training bra-wearing, hopelessly insecure adolescent self quicker than hearing “why don’t you stand up and tell us something about yourself.” Need me to paint more of a picture? Here you go:
So let’s make this even more awkward…
Rules: you guys can ask me two, then I’m gonna ask you one back, ok? So let’s start with a truth? Here we go:
I’ll explain. But first, I’m Heather. And that other awkward face up top with me? That’s Dave. Introductions are clearly NOT my jam. But you know what is? Anything by TLC…which I’m guessing you already picked up on if you’re an 80’s or 90’s kid because of that reference up top. THAT’S a good jam. Personally, I prefer Diggin’ on You ? and Ain’t too Proud to Beg, but Scrubs still a pretty awesome tune, and it worked better for my little story here which begins with:
I’m a doctor.
I got my master’s and doctorate degrees in physical therapy from Duke (Go Blue Devils!), once upon a time.
I was a physical therapist for over a decade, first in Boston, then in Washington DC.
Mostly, I worked with people who had strokes, traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders and diseases. It was great career in many ways. One of the best ways being that…
I got to wear scrubs to work, which is pretty much like wearing pajamas all day.
Maybe that’s why I still have an aversion to wearing anything with a real waistband. Or maybe that’s just because I keep gaining weight, yet refuse to give up ice cream. Either way…
In 2003, enter Dave.
To make himself more complicated, he goes by “Tib”. If you’re saying “Huh? What kind of name is Tib?” You’re not alone. I remind him of that every time someone calls him “Tim” and he gets all indignant.
At any rate, Tib and I met in college at Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!).
Interestingly, his parents lived only three miles from mine but we didn’t know each other growing up. Even odder, by the time we were re-introduced after I moved back to DC from Boston in 2003, three of my best friends from college had married three of his best friends from high school. Oddly incestuous sounding and a tad weird, right?
We got married in 2005…
When we had our third and youngest child in 2011, I hesitantly walked away from my career and entered the life of a SAHM (stay-at-home-maid…or mom. Pick one. Both fit the bill).
Here are our three sweet and silly little disasters:
People ask me a lot if I miss physical therapy. NOPE. Like I said…
Half-truth. I do still kind of dig the scrubs, but I’ll take hanging out in my sweats at home, thank you very much. The thing is, P.T. takes a lot of energy, both physically and emotionally if you’re going to be good at it. With three kids at home, I just didn’t have enough left in the tank to give my all at work. Plus, dealing with insurance sucks, quite frankly…always getting pushed to see more patients in a day than any human should have to. I was done.
Looking back, the signs were there.
Sophomore year of college, I was going to move into an apartment with three of my best friends from high school. The summer before, I called a meeting at my parents’ house so we could discuss the design plan for our apartment.
Who does that? Certainly not a biology major.
Most college students would decorate their places with some empty Coors Light cans and an old couch from their grandma’s house and call it done.
We, on the other hand, settled on a southwestern theme. This despite the fact we lived nowhere close to the southwest, northwest, or a “west” of any kind. Not a cactus within a thousand miles of our apartment. Still, we mixed terra cotta textures, denim fabrics and found a vintage lamp made from a cowboy boot…or something to that effect. I helped my dad install floating shelves in the family room. I think I even wallpapered something. Hilarious. But our apartment was on point.
When I bought my first place, I was in heaven. Dad, Mom and I (mostly dad, God love the man), renovated that whole place. It was a WWII era townhouse, three miles from the Pentagon. The community is a historic landmark.
The place dripped with CHARACTER. And I realized that I was a person who liked old things. Not new things. If I had the opportunity to build a home versus renovate a really old, quirky house that had been standing for 100 years, I’d renovate EVERY. TIME.
Tib bought a place in the same neighborhood. Yeah!! That meant I got to decorate his townhouse, too, since he couldn’t have cared less what it looked like.
We got married. We bought our first place together in 2005. In 2006 I was pregnant. And I didn’t crave pickles. Or even ice cream, which is NUTS since I always crave ice cream.
I craved tile.
I wanted to redo the entire house before the baby came. EVERY room suddenly needed paint. EVERY room was beckoning built-in bookcases, or new cabinets, or crown molding.
My waddling pregnant self was tiling a mudroom floor at nine months pregnant because it was somehow imperative that was completed. More than bushels of pickles, a cabinet-full of chocolate, or gallons of ice cream, I craved that slate floor being done.
And it was during this phase that we discovered how much we loved tackling DIY projects.
It started out of necessity. We were a younger, poorer couple back then. We were new homeowners, and having a baby to boot. Lots of expenses, lots of dreams for our home, but not a lot of money to get the projects done. What we did have was drive, and the willingness to learn how to do things.
With every estimate we got from another contractor, we decided that we’d rather figure out how to do it ourselves,
because we just couldn’t justify or afford to pay someone else to do things for us.
AND THAT WAS THE GENESIS. THE BEGINNING OF THIS BLOG…
At this point we’ve lived in 5 homes in the past 10 years. ALL of them have been fixer-uppers. And through our experience, we’ve realized that you don’t need a HUGE budget to create a home you love. Our mantra is…
There are few home improvement jobs we won’t take on nowadays.
It’s not glamorous…
But it sure is rewarding.
So I’ve shared some truths. It’s your turn. And I’m giving you a BIG ‘OL DARE…
- are a new homeowner trying to save some money
- are wanting to become more self-reliant and learn basic home maintenance and improvement projects on your own
- are a SAHM or SAHD who’s taking on DIY tasks to contribute to your family budgeting bottom-line
- are someone who LOVES interior decorating, but can’t afford to hire a designer
If one or more of these reasons sounds like you, I know we would get along famously! So…
We want you to join our crazy flock!
Trust me when I tell you that it is COMPLETELY possible, EASY even, to create and live in a house you LOVE without breaking the bank. I know because we’ve done it 5 times now! So once again, WELCOME. We’re so happy you came ❤ ?!
You’ll receive a weekly email from us with the latest happenings here at our house, including budget-friendly decorating ideas, and tutorials for the newest DIY projects we’ve tackled.
We do a bunch of fun craft projects, and share free printables especially around the holidays. In the spring, summer and fall we tend to work on outdoor projects as well as storage and organization projects. And our newsletter is completely free.
2. check out our home tour, or head straight to the diy projects and room makeovers:
3. Or check out some of our all-time favorite projects below: