This Duo is Obsessed With Renovating Homes
Get to know Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:28 AM
Renovating homes is a true source of passion for Sherry and John Petersik. The husband-and-wife duo is behind the popular DIY blog Young House Love—and winners of the Best Renovation Blog in the Domino Design Blog Awards—which chronicles their adventures in the realm of home improvement. Currently in the midst of not one but two, home reno projects inthe Chesapeake Bay, the couple most certainly has their hands full. Situated in Richmond, Virginia, they share their home with their two young children and a feisty chihuahua named Burger.We caught up with Sherry and John to learn all about the process, their inspiration, and just exactly what it is that makes them so productive. Take a look.
Our work/space is inspired by (and why): We’re inspired by rooms that feel casual, airy, and personal—every space needs a few sentimental items to truly feel like home to us. Lately, we’ve been really inspired by more minimal looks. Nothing cold or stark, but just a simple and welcoming space without a lot of extra clutter. Our favorite rooms always feel a little beachy, layered, light, and never take themselves too seriously.
Describe your style in three words: Light, casual, collected
What’s the biggest design risk you took that paid off? We removed the exterior Chippendale railings from our brick colonial’s front porch (they were closing things in and just looking extra busy) and we worked them into a house that we’re renovating… as interior railings! They look amazing inside and add so much texture and interest. The craziest thing is they fit perfectly!
Name a designer who is currently inspiring you. Nate Berkus has been a favorite of ours for over a decade. He balances function and form so well, and the way that he simplifies spaces with just what is needed while creating such a casual and welcoming feeling is extremely inspirational. What’s a throwback design trend you’re hoping will make a return? Upholstered walls! We actually upholstered the wall of our daughter’s closet with a bright and fun fabric and it makes such a huge statement! It cost nearly nothing, took just a few hours, and is just as fun as wallpaper. Everybody touches it when I say it’s fabric – they truly can’t believe you can put it on the wall. It has lasted for years and still looks as good as the day we did it!
We’re 10 times more productive when: … our bellies are full and we have some good music playing (or a fun podcast). We’ve learned that whether we’re planning projects or actually working on a renovation, we need to remember we’re on the same team. And not being hangry or feeling like we’re standing in a silent room watching paint dry is the key.
On the weekends you can find us: … at our beach house in Cape Charles, where we’re renovating two 100-year-old houses. One minute we might be relaxing with the kids on the beach, and the next minute we could be tiling a bathroom or painting a door. We’re usually covered in Thinset, sawdust, sand, or ice cream.
Our biggest design splurge was: A gorgeous inlay mirror in our foyer. I had died over this mirror for years and years and when it finally went on sale I convinced John we had to jump on it. I ordered it with a perma-smile and hung it as soon as it arrived. The craziest thing is that right after that sale I learned they had discontinued it. I still grin like a maniac every time I walk past it. I’m SO THRILLED we got one of the very last ones.
The one item we can’t live without is: … a comfortable bed. We’ve endured air mattresses and beds on the floor during various renovations and moves… but after a while that gets OLD. It’s so nice to have a comfy bed to collapse into – even if the rest of the house is in shambles around you thanks to a kitchen or bathroom reno (or both!).
Describe the moment you knew you wanted to do something with design. We knew we wanted to renovate our own home when we both realized how stifled we felt renting our New York City apartments (we hated not having the money, space, or permission from our landlords to make our apartments our own). The craving was so strong that we packed everything we owned into a minivan and moved to Virginia where real estate was more affordable, so we could purchase a home to make our own. I remember laying in bed (on the floor of our packed up apartment) the night before we moved into our first home back in 2006, with our minds racing with project ideas. It might have been the most anticipation either of us has ever felt. Five house renovations later, we’re still very much addicted.
What does winning the Blogger Award mean to you? As someone who still has every original Domino magazine (I saved every single one, and had a year-round subscription from the moment it came out), it’s hard to put into words how much this means. I vividly remember poring over each issue as we were transforming our first house, and it made us feel like home renovations were things young people CAN do! So yeah. This is a pretty amazing full circle moment for us. We are humbled and thrilled.
The best part of doing what we do is: Getting to connect with other people who love renovations, and who cry over beautiful pocket doors and pet beautiful glossy tile just like we do! We might be crazy, but it’s awesome to know that we’re not alone in our obsession with painting into the night or laying in bed and imagining that 567th possible bathroom layout.