Thank you for visiting our blog.
So, a little bit about us…Dean and I met in college (in Indiana) and dated several months after meeting at a get together. Ok…it was a party at his brothers house. We were smitten with one another back then and called it L-O-V-E! I still get the same butterflies I felt back then when I am with him now. We ended up parting ways around summer, amicably, but not quite sure we made the right decision. Life happened for us in different directions after that yet looking back provided both of us with amazing children and immeasurable life lessons that would have never happened if we stayed together.
Now, we fast forward 25 years, this time meeting up through, you named it, Facebook. Remember now, that this was in the 80’s so we could never in our wildest dreams think technology would be so advanced. I saved all of Dean’s hallmark cards and romantic notions from back then and it was fun to show him and ‘prove’ to him that my heart pined for him all those years. Now, I know Facebook can be good and it can be not so good for relationships. For us, it worked out in a good and honest way. After 2-3 hour nightly long distance phone calls getting to know each other again and many flights from Los Angeles to Florida ( so very grateful for Virgin America’s affordable specials back then or we would have not been able to afford it), we truly felt this was God’s perfect timing. I was a single mom for 12 years praying for Mr. Wonderful and it was well worth the wait! Don’t give up if you haven’t found the right one, ladies and gents!
Now married with a beautifully blended family of four children and a wonderful son in law, we are living in Florida loving the warm breezy evenings, sunsets and the beach.
Dean is a Landscape Architect, Master Gardener and Sustainability Director and even hosted his own TV Show on the DIY Network, not to forget to mention his segment with Ty Pennington on the Rachel Ray show designing a community garden in downtown Philly. A special passion for us. You will see occasional reference to his amazing talent from the show but for the most part we are diy-ing it together now and trying to boot the 90’s out of our house. We are excited to share our projects with you. Dean constantly amazes me everyday with his work ethic and willingness to go above and beyond to achieve the designs we discover or create. He also looks pretty fine while he’s doing it, I might add! #hitthejackpot
I have found art in modern calligraphy and lettering and consider this daily therapy along with any painting projects whether it is signs , furniture or watercolors. My education and career background has been in the pharmaceutical industry, fashion and interior design, property management and I have even worked for an Indianapolis 500 race team. I also have my real estate license and we have considered flipping a couple homes in the future. We purchased a 1935 bungalow and really enjoyed fixing it up to rent out. You can read about one of our little bungalow projects here.
I’m also a Certified Health Coach trained at Integrative Institute of Nutrition and love cooking healthy dinner meals with Dean for our family. We look forward to our Sunday family dinners every week. It has become a tradition over the past several years that I believe the kids look forward to. Life is so hectic and busy but we have made a conscious effort to bring everyone around the kitchen table at least once a week.
Even though I am the primary blogger on this site, Dean will be chiming in from time to time with his knowledge and skills so that you can DIY it like a pro.
Believe it or not, a lot of our DIY projects are learn as we go. Everything we do here, you can do. I hope you learn from Dean’s professional knowledge and experience and learn through me that if I can do it, you can too. I am, for the most part, winging it as I go:) so there is no need to be intimidated here. We are a team and hope we can inspire you to work together and have fun doing it!
Oh, how I could write so much more…just know, we are just like you with similar interests and look for things in life that bring us joy. Our joy in design tends to gravitate towards the modern rustic charm. Perhaps it stems from both of us growing up in the Midwest and trying to relive the simple moments we had from visiting our grandparents’ farms.
Ahh, the memories riding in the back of my papaw’s truck while he hollered at the cows and my brother and I dodged the tobacco spit that came out the side window. Haha! Good times that was (except for when I wore red the day the charging bull was staring me down). I was glad to find out years later that the story about bulls being angered by the color red was just a misconception. Apparently bulls are color-blind! Who knew and how the heck did I get on the topic of bulls? We just wish we had all the barn wood from those old barns. Re purposing salvaged wood and making our own designs makes our hearts happy so we are always on the lookout for architectural salvage from just about anywhere.
If it’s DIY inspiration you are looking for, we hope you find it here. Please drop us a line on our contact page if you have any questions or if you have an idea or design you want to suggest. We truly look forward to connecting to our readers. Bye for now!
Take care and “Get Creating, Renovating, Organizing and DIYing now!”
[Dean] Hi everybody! Hopefully, you have noodled around the website and have discovered what an amazing and beautiful person my wife is, both internally and externally. I am by far the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. While I am very anxious to start helping everyone with your DIY projects, I thought that it would be best to give you a little background on our own home.
Almost four years ago (wow), we made the switch from living bi-coastal to settling into Diane’s existing home in Florida. Having never lived in Florida before and as Diane would tell you, I apparently once told her that I could never live in Florida, I was looking forward to the new design challenges that it would present. The house is almost 20 years old and I had a brand new plant palette to learn and play with. From a design perspective, I have never been a huge fan of the typical Florida style or even Mediterranean style of architecture that was so prevalent when these subdivision were constructed back in the 80’s and 90’s. I am more of a Craftsman style with a modern flair kind of guy!
From a landscape perspective, the house and yard had some extremely challenging areas, particularly the backyard since it sloped down pretty significantly to a conservation area and was extremely difficult to mow. Having never been a huge fan of great expanses of turf and the maintenance/resources that were necessary to maintain, I knew this would be one of the first areas that I tackled. While I was living in Los Angeles and going back and forth, I had already designed a conceptual, master plan for the front yard and entrance, so the back became my “learning ground”, if you will. Since we have a rather large extended family that loves the outdoors, a fire pit became the first project. That has since lead into multiple other projects and the master plan has been building in my head ever since. You will see a lot more about these miscellaneous projects in coming posts, but they are always conceived and driven by an overall plan with a sustainability slant. Then there were the interior projects! With three young adults at home, we started with painting, replacing flooring, other pretty simple projects and moved into light construction and then into some total renovations.
The main thing to think about here, and the thing that I probably think about most, is that our home is in constant transition. Whether the transition is from kids moving in and out, needs of the home keeping up to date with the needs of the family (for example, the basketball hoop and trampoline), to just styles changing and updating, a house goes through what seems like a constant continuum. This doesn’t mean that you men get a free pass on not completing projects, but means that just as we humans go through life changes, our house goes through those changes with us. Obviously, there are times in our lives when we need to move to facilitate those life changes, but there are also times when we can use our skills and knowledge to make the necessary changes and embrace a sense of home that is right where we are!
The great thing is that you don’t have to go through it alone! There are so many resources available to us like blogs, YouTube and yes, even the good ole fashion library, where we can demystify the DIY process and complete these projects, but more importantly, save some money! What I hope to provide you with here is a can do attitude and to let you know that everybody starts in the exact same place at one time or another. No one came out of their mother’s womb and said, “I can build a house”! Everyone started at square one just like you, just some might have started at square one a little sooner than when you arrived! This is also the case with sustainability and this thread is basically the colored glasses that I look through with every project, both interior and especially exterior. As I have always said, “Sustainability doesn’t start and stop at the door thresholds”! The desire to apply sustainability principles are embedded in everything that I do and hopefully you will pick up on just a few of the possibilities by checking in frequently here.
So, enough about background, let’s start to get to the good stuff and what you came here looking for! Let the blog posts roll and if at any time you have a question or comment, please feel free to contact either one of us for help! You may not know the answer, but with almost 20 years (cough!) of landscape and construction experience, hopefully we can get there together!