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Do It Yourself Couple Hits the Big Time with Young House Love

This morning when we opened the Washington Post, we were delighted to see that the Local Living section featured our favorite do it your self/blogging duo – John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love.

We are also delighted to say that we first wrote about John and Sherry in September 2008! Since then they have added a dog and a baby and now have a full blown, full time career as home improvement gurus.

John & Sherry in 2008

John & Sherry in 2008

It couldn’t happen to a nicer twosome.  Part of John and Sherry’s charm is that they have simply learned by doing and make no pretense about their lack of formal design training.  They are also unabashedly down to earth and self described “save-aholics”.

As the Post noted “Young House Love is part personal diary and part resource for affordable furnishings, home related tips, tutorials and easy DYI projects.  From buying a mattress to building a bathroom vanity, blog readers get a step-by-step account with pictures and breakdown of every penny spent.”

Two of our favorite posts are how they planned their DYI wedding and the monthly pictures of baby Clara.

Check it out.  This is the perfect site for first time homeowners or beginning do it your self types.

Kudos to you Young House Love,

Michael and Virginia

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 5 Comments »

Blogging the Frugal Life Style in Alexandria and Northern Virginia

Blogging the frugal life style does not belong only to the “experts.”  Indeed, individuals in Alexandria and Northern Virginia are contributing to the blogging landscape with a wide variety of offerings on how to survive – and thrive – in what some have called “lifestyle deflation.”

Some of the blogs are quite professional and have advertisers but most are your basic do-it-yourself blog.

Stay at home moms, young couples and singles all offer their take on making the most of every dollar.  Some share month to month grocery budgets, complete with store by store sales while other focus on activities and taking advantage of coupons.  Anyway you look at it, it’s easy to access information that anyone can use.

Here are some of our favorites:

This list is just the tip of the iceberg.  Almost all of the blogs reference other blogs so be prepared to spend some time surfing and finding out about the best bargains in the area – it’s contagious!

Home ownership can also be part of a frugal life style.  Call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s find something to fit your budget.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 3 Comments »

Stupid to Smart and Chic in Today’s Blog Roundup

 Today’s Blog Roundup:

Homeowners Wendy and Doug Grills in Clifton, VA submitted their “stupid” room to the Washington Post’s House Calls and came away with a smart, chic office.  Click here to see the work of designers Patrick J. Baglino and Megan Blake.

Want to know more about the rapidly growing world of eDecorating and the world of Web-based designers?  Click here and keep your eye for our young friends, Sherry and John, from Richmond, VA.

Need help with fall chores?   Click here to reduce your heating costs, clean a chimney, install insulation, make your doors draft free or ready your garden for winter.

Want to turn flea market finds into something fabulous?  Check out what Eddie Ross is doing.

Now, you may ask yourself – why is a real estate agent so interested in room makeovers, interior design, chores or flea market finds?  I’m interested because they are all things that go towards making a house a home.  Rarely does anyone move into a property (new or old) and not do something.  Instead, it is that ability to see and think “what if” that can make the difference between a house bought and tenderly loved or a house unsold.

So look around and when you find something that has that “what if” quality,  call me at  703.927.4554 and we’ll make it happen.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

House Calls Tackles A Big But Underused Bathroom

This week’s challenge involves a large bathroom (the good news) with a rarely used large tub (the bad news).  Designers Sherry Ways and Susan Schemm of Design Scheme Interiors in Washington suggest a sleek new design.

It makes you wonder – who convinced builders that everyone wanted a large whirlpool tub in their master bath?


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

Young Virginia Couple Hits the Jackpot with Do It Yourself Enthusiasm

We are so intrigued by the do it yourself enthusiasm of a young Richmond, Virginia couple that we wanted to share it with our readers.

Sherry and John bought a 50 yr. old house in Richmond, VA that had, as we like to say in the real estate business, lots of potential.   Fortunately Sherry and John not only saw the potential but tackled it head on.  Armed with “with a little bit of know-how, a lot of enthusiasm and hundreds of hours of HGTV and design magazines to provide inspiration” the couple have become true do it yourself (DIY) experts.

Not only do they have an amazingly transformed house, they have created a business, This Young House, to help and inspire other intrepid DIY’s to realize their dreams.  The site is filled with lots of before and after pictures, all of which attest to the fact that style is not about how much money you have.

Kudos’s to John and Sherry  – we think they are great – and we’ve added them to our links so you can visit anytime.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

One Great Way to Get a Free Room Makeover in Northern Virginia

One of our favorite weekly features in the Washington Post is “House Calls”.  The Post invites Northern Virginia residents (well, really anyone in the greater metropolitan area) to submit photos, room dimensions, and information about a particularly challenging room.

In return, the Post recruits a local designer to do a free virtual room makeover for one lucky homeowner.  The results are published every Thursday in the Home section of the Post.

The designers change every week but the idea is the same.  The homeowners describe what they want to accomplish and the challenges they have encountered.  They can even declare certain pieces of furniture, wall colors, carpeting that they need or want to keep.

Then the designer gets to work.  Suggestions include paint colors, furniture, lighting, accessories, draperies and, what I think is most interesting – furniture placement.  It’s amazing how just rearranging furniture can completely re-energize a room.  The proof is in the before and after pictures.

One thing I really like is that prices and sources are listed for everything and most of the products are available in local retail stores or on line.  Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Ikea are notable favorites.  This makeover is not about breaking the bank!

You may not always like the suggestions or agree with the color choices but just seeing what could be done is an inspiration.  It’s also a great way to get a tiny glimpse at new construction designs or room sizes in older homes.

Take a peek at today’s makeover room and maybe you’ll be inspired to submit your own problem space.  This week’s designer is Elizabeth Krial of Elizabeth Krial Design in Reston and the homeowner is Debra Long in Haymarket, VA.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do,


Thanks to my spouse and managing partner for introducing this new weekly feature.  

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 9 Comments »

Neutral Rooms Work for Sellers but Colors are the Hot Topic for Buyers

Practically every real estate agent and staging professional I know suggests neutral (if not white) colors for a ‘fast sale.’

It makes rooms look bigger, imperfections fade and, most of all, it allows perspective buyers to envision their own furniture, their own tastes and their own personality in your space.

But what happens once the contract is signed? Just as neutral facilitated the sale, so color will help anchor new roots and owners. For some, picking colors is second nature but for many of us it can be a crippling, “oh my gosh am I making the right choice” process. Fear no more!

A number of internet sites devoted to paint and color have surfaced recently and two of our favorites are Kate Smith’s and Rachel Perl’s. Smith is a color trend forecaster working on her own line of paint and Perl is a former pet portraitist who now advises residential and commercial clients.

A third site we like, although not specifically about color, asks the bold question: “Black walls: Would you dare?”

Paint is still considered one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest ways to transform a room or a whole house so don’t let your lack of color savvy get in the way – explore, study and just go for it!


P.S. – The only ‘neutral’ room in my house is the bedroom. A color tour includes forest green, butternut squash, yellow, blue, orange, red, and light green. And yes, it all works thanks to my spouse and managing partner.

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

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