Meet Sherry & John Petersik of Young House Love

Meet Sherry & John Petersik of Young House Love

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Carrie McBride
Jun 28, 2011

Names: Sherry, John, Clara (1) & Burger (ageless)
Location: Richmond, VA
Blog: Young House Love

Introducing Sherry & John of Young House Love feels a bit like taking Bill Clinton to a cocktail party - I kinda assume you know who they are. But they're actually perfect cocktail party guests - fun, bubbly and probably slipping shims under the legs of shaky tables without anyone noticing. Their wildly popular blog, Young House Love, chronicles the projects and purchases (not to mention the blood, sweat, tears and laughs) that they've invested into their homes. They're like the boy and girl next door who happen to be really good with jig saws and spackle.

Young House Love is for anyone looking for home improvement, diy, and decorating inspiration and information. Between the two homes they have owned, Sherry and John have tackled it all and documented it for their readers. What keeps readers coming back is their witty writing and refreshing never-take-themselves-too-seriously personalities. Do they screw things up sometimes? Oh yeah. But they always figure it out in the end and even seem to enjoy the process - you know, that middle part of the project where many of us get discouraged and consider turning back.

Since YHL began almost four years ago it has become a deep and rich resource for anyone looking to improve their home. Check out this index of projects - from whole room makeovers to projects you can pull off in an hour or an afternoon, from building to painting to organizing - it's in there. YHL is truly a love story - between John and Sherry (and their love for Clara and their pooch Burger) and the love they pour into their home. All homes should be this lucky.

Sherry and John put down the paintbrushes and hedge clippers for a moment to tell us more about YHL:

How would you describe Young House Love to someone who has never visited?
Random ramblings about our home improvement adventures with some photos of the baby and the dog thrown in there.

Unlike a lot of blogs where you may see a big "reveal" of a newly revamped room and then never see the room again, your whole house is always evolving. You get new ideas, you decide an old idea isn't working for you anymore - what's your thinking on a space being "done"?
I guess we just learned from our experience with our first house (where we lived for 4.5 years) that for us, a room is never really done. It seems to evolve as our needs/family change. So things are always a work in progress - which is kind of exciting. At least for two people who like to putter along and tackle new things pretty regularly. The finality of the word "done" is kind of scary- like things are in danger of getting stagnant or something.

You moved into your current home last year. It's bigger, but the exterior looks a lot like your first home. It's like Skipper and Barbie. Are you drawn to this type of house or is it just coincidence?
Ah yes, we loved our little 1300 square foot ranch (aka Skipper) just as much as we love Barbie (who's bigger but just as ranchy). There's just something about a stair-free house with the potential to create a nice open layout with lots of easy flow. The transformation of those small boxy personality-free rooms is so much more challenging than a gorgeous farm house that already has 12 foot ceilings and gorgeous old molding. And for some strange reason we love a challenge - maybe because it feels so rewarding when you widen doorways and make something great out of such a modest starting point?

What's one thing you think a potential homeowner should look at when they tour a house on the market that they might not have thought of?
Everyone always says it but it's true: wallpaper and paint colors don't matter. Neither do ugly furnishings or window treatments or overgrown lawns. Layout and location are things that are harder to change. So try to focus on those.

It seems like you two have a pretty similar aesthetic. What advice would you give to two people moving in together who may not share the same taste?
I think our tastes have grown to work better together over time, but it definitely didn't happen overnight. Our method is to never buy a single thing that we both don't agree on. That way there's not a chair that I hate and a piece of art that makes him grumpy. It takes longer to decorate, but no one harbors any hard feelings about purchases, which is key. We call it our Mutual Agreement Agreement.

What current design trend are you loving?
The whole homemade and DIY movement is really exciting to us. It used to be that when you did something cheaply you never told a soul and hoped people thought it was expensive or done by a designer. Now it's acceptable to get excited about getting your hands dirty and telling all of your friends how much money you saved.

What design trend are you hoping will end soon?
We've never really understood the karate-chopped pillow thing. You know when designers make throw pillows look like little M's? With that big divot in the middle thanks to a good firm chop? We just let our pillows go rogue. No chopping or shaping necessary.

You two tackle so many projects that many of us would hire professionals for - what project or area of your house won't you tackle without professional help?
We think anything having to do with serious electrical rewiring or the removal of load bearing walls is best left to the pros. I guess we use that "what's the worst that could happen" question before taking on a project. And if the answer is "the house could burn down" or "the roof could collapse" we're down with consulting an expert. Haha.

How did your daughter Clara's arrival change the way you think about or use your home? Are you big babyproofers, for example?
Clara actually came into the world in a pretty dramatic way (we had some serious complications, more on that here), so I think we were kind of in a fog when she came home. We just felt so blessed to have her around, and quickly learned that with a baby comes chaos. Not everything would be in its place anymore. But that's ok. It's all about really living in our house anyway. So since Clara has come home we have a lot more baskets and ottomans. They make nice easy drop spots for toys and baby clutter (when they're not in use and spread all over the house of course, haha).

We love Clara's room - what one thing in the nursery do you think you should splurge on and what one thing should you do budget or diy?
That's a toughie. We spent a lot of time researching a reasonably