Behind the Blog with Young House Love

Confession time: I wish the Petersik’s were my BFFs. I’ll happily go on record when I say that they are the sweetest bloggers in all of blogland and it’s no surprise that they’ve come so far. They’re full of energy, spunk, and I don’t believe they’ve ever met a paint-brush or hammer they don’t like…oh and then there is that amazing new book of theirs. With their two stinkin’ cute little helpers, these two are kicking blog butt and taking names. So we’re excited to dig a little deeper to see what exactly makes these two tick. And you’d better believe there’s more in the gallery

SMP: Any words you live by?
YHL: Keep calm and DIY on. Haha! For the last five years we have pretty much been churning out home improvement projects every week – so the only way to stay sane is to remain calm and laugh as much as possible.

SMP: What are your guilty pleasures?
YHL: Nothing beats hot chai tea and a stack of glossy mags. My favorites of the moment are House & Home, HGTV Magazine, and InStyle.

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
YHL: Growing up, I really wanted to be a high school art teacher. Mine was so inspiring and it looked like a really fun way to get to make art (and encourage other people to make art) every day.

SMP: Favorite quote that describes your creative process/ live by?
YHL: Live what you love.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
YHL: Anything is possible if you work hard and have an almost comical amount of passion to go along with it. If you told us five years ago that we’d be able to support our family by blogging about our DIY adventures I’d laugh at you. And if you told us we’d have a New York Times bestselling book out I’d probably do that thing where I make a circle around my ear with my hand to infer that you’re a cuckoo bird. Seriously, it’s crazytalk. Yet here we are. And no one’s more surprised than we are! It’s amazing to think that it all started with one little blog post back in 2007…

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
YHL: I don’t think I would. All of our accidents and mistakes have led us here. And we really like it here. So… no regrets!

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give a blogger just starting out?
YHL: Do it because you love it. And be willing to put in the time. I think a lot of people would love to believe that blogging is a get-rich-quick thing and they’ll start a blog only to get discouraged that they can’t quit their job and live off the blog a few months later. But it took us over half a decade to get here, and we’ve written over 2,500 posts! I even took a giant pay cut to leave my job in advertising. We just started this site to keep our friends and family informed on a kitchen renovation (we never expected to make a dime) so I think anything you’d be excited to write about for free would be a good place to start if you have big dreams of being a full time blogger. Set yourself up to succeed and then just have fun with it and see where it goes after a few years of love and work being poured into that dream. You never know where you’ll end up!

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?
YHL: Beyond the obvious living and breathing things (Clara, Burger, & John) I’m most attached to small meaningful items that probably aren’t worth much by an appraiser’s standards. In a fire I’d totally grab a shadowbox that I made of all of our old keys (they’re labeled as the first apartments we lived in separately when we met, our first apartment together, and our first house) rather than grabbing something that’s more traditionally thought to be valuable (like a TV or a computer). Those things can be replaced, so I’d go for the memorable “treasures” that only mean something to us – like the semi-crooked quilt that I sewed for my daughter’s first birthday.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
YHL: That’s something we’re still trying to figure out. I think one tip would be making a to-do list with the top priorities of the day on it, and once you do those things, you have to be ok and satisfied and allow yourself some non-work time in the evening. Our issue is that we do those five things and then we add five more to the list and try to do those and before we know it we’ve worked until 1am. We just have to cut ourselves off and give ourselves time to recharge and step. away. from. the. laptop.


SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like your blog was going to thrive?
YHL: When John came on full time that was a real “ahhhh!” moment. I mean to realize that he and I both worked on Young House Love full time with a new daughter was amazing to us. Because when we started our blog we never thought it would even make us ten dollars, let alone support our family. When John came on full time, it wasn’t a decision that we made lightly at all. We did all the math a million times and John even held off giving his notice at work for around half a year longer than he needed to, but we just wanted to be triple-sure that we could make it work before he took that leap. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?
YHL: Ooh that’s a good one. Hmm, let’s see. Maybe that you have to say no. I used to think that in order to be successful and grow you have to say yes to everyone so you don’t “miss something” – but I’ve learned that choosing where to focus our time and holding out for the right projects and partnerships can be way more helpful to the business – as well as for our sanity! dottedline (1)
Photography by Young House Love

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