Back in February, Portland held its annual Home & Garden Show at the Expo Center. John and Sherry Petersik, authors of the blog Young House Love, attended the show and toured our fair Rose City. They were first-time Portland visitors, so I was curious to hear their thoughts on their trip. And for all of you DIY enthusiasts, I asked them to share some of their experiences and ideas on that topic as well.
You guys were recently in Portland for the Home & Garden Show. For those who could not attend, can you tell us a little about why and how you participated?
That’s actually an easy answer: They asked, it sounded fun, and we’ve never been to Portland before, so we figured “Why not?” Since we’d always heard great things about P-town, we saw it as an opportunity to see the city and meet some of our West Coast readers we might not otherwise have the chance to bump into. Plus, we go to home and garden shows for fun, so being guests at one (we were interviewed by a few morning shows, held a presentation about growing your blog, and hosted a meet and greet) sounded like a good time—and it was.
What was the most inspirational thing you saw at the show?
We were both in awe of all of the garden and outdoor ideas at the show. Maybe it’s just because we’ve been so deprived of beautiful greenery over the winter season (it doesn’t stay quite as lush where we live in Virginia as it does in Oregon), but we were drawn to all of the impressive landscaping and hardscaping displays that were created just for the show…and all indoors to boot! There were several that we wanted to just pick up and haul home to Richmond.
As you probably learned during your visit, Portland is chock full of local artisans who make handcrafted products. Can you share a few memorable discoveries from your visit? Any new house projects inspired by your trip?
We’d always heard Portland was a very green city (we watched some Portlandia to prep for our visit—ha ha!) but we were still enamored by how eco-conscious everyone was and how many items were described as recycled, reclaimed, or re-something else. One person who especially inspired us was Jim from Northwest Cedar Specialties. They salvage scrap lumber from home remodels, constructions sites, etc., and turn them into beautiful cedar planters. We’ll definitely be looking twice at the pile of scrap wood we’ve got back at home!
It seems like you guys are always working on a project. Even right before you left to come to Portland, you started installing a new floor! So many of us have the DIY bug, but finding the time is always a problem. How do you do it? Can you share some time-saving tips for project planning?
Now that blogging about our projects is our full-time job, it’s certainly a bit easier (and more important!) to make our home projects a priority. But even before this became our profession, we found it was a lot easier to muster the energy to do a project if we broke it down into small, manageable pieces. It may seem like an impossible task to fit “Remodel the bathroom” into your schedule. But it’s much less intimidating to find time for individual steps like “Go shopping for tile” or “Remove old toilet and vanity.” We find that working at night after our daughter Clara has gone to bed allows us to get the most done, especially since the blog is quieter during those hours as well.
As you have changed out the lighting in your home, how have you selected the replacement lighting? Besides price-point, what sorts of things guide your choices?
A lot of times we find ourselves prioritizing design, function, and price. For instance, when trying to replace an ugly hallway fixture, it was less about finding a statement piece and more about just getting the existing eyesore out of there. So we ended up reusing an original-to-the-house light that we had left over from another spot. But when picking pendants for our kitchen remodel, finding something stylish was at the top of our list. (Function was also important, but less so because we had recessed fixtures to provide most of the light.) We were willing to splurge a bit more on those.
How about kitchen and bath hardware? Finish is always a big consideration, but are there other factors that influence your decision on the final product?
We love using hardware as a way to bring balance or contrast to the look of a piece or even an entire room. We think there’s something fun about putting a traditional pull on a clean-lined cabinet to tone down its modern feel. Or adding colorful (or sparkly!) knobs to an old piece that might need some livening up. I guess you could say we like to look at a kitchen cabinet, bathroom vanity, or really any piece that calls for hardware, and ask ourselves if we want to keep in line with its style (and go for something classic and not too bold), or if it’s an opportunity for us to have some fun (with something brightly colored, interestingly shaped, or boldly metallic).