Don’t Take The Beige Road: Interview with Mandi Gubler
Mandi Gubler is the incredibly creative brain and design queen behind the ever popular DIY blog, Vintage Revivals. You name it, she can do it–electrical wiring, flooring, furniture restoration, wall treatments, just to name a few– and chances are she will put a spin on it that you could never have imagined. Some of our favorite projects of hers include her daughter’s hexagon wall treatment, all of her DIY light fixtures (including this openwork cube pendant light,) and the vintage trailer that she renovated, nicknamed The Nugget. (Hello…to. die. for.) Mandi has been on our blog before, but since then a lot has changed! Not only has her blog grown by leaps and bounds, but she also just welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world and is in the process of getting ready to sell her house and build a brand new one! (Good news for all of her die-hard fans…) She shared a bit of the process with us, as well as some great tips and perspective on balancing taking re-sale value into consideration while making your house feel like yours.
How is the process of building your next house going?
It is just beginning! We are waiting for plans…we have our lot picked out and it’s hopefully going to be good! It’s kind of one of these things where are like ‘oh my gosh..are we really doing this?!’”
So exciting though! I bet it feels a little overwhelming some days…
Super overwhelming. We are still in the beginning phase, and we are building it completely custom, so it is going to be really fun. And this house is actually not just for the blog–there is a huge event down here every year called the Parade of Homes, and we are building a house for the 2017 parade. I will blog it all year, and then everyone who wants can buy a ticket and come walk through the house to see everything that we did. We will move in right after the show. We are going to turn everything on it’s head with this house, that is the plan anyway.
Are there any projects that you are planning to do in your current house to prepare it for selling?
Yes, we are updating all of the stuff that we haven’t gotten around to yet. We are going to finish doing the kitchen, do the bathrooms, and try to make everything tie together.
Was this the first house you owned?
Yes, it was our first house, and I don’t even know how we were so lucky to get it. It was such a good price, we were so young and knew nothing, and it kind of worked out perfectly. It was a short sale and had been quite neglected. When we moved in it was actually disgusting. The carpet was stained and horrible, there was beige paint everywhere, and there were gross cockroaches. Like, it was super gross. But we got a lot of stuff taken care of before we moved in and put in new flooring and did all the stuff you don’t want to have to deal with when you are living in it. And it has been updated a few times since!
It was pretty bold of you guys to go for a short sale as your first house!
Well, we kind of fell into it. There had already been a few different offers put in, and it was taking so long that the offers had fallen through. We ended up taking someone’s place in line basically and had to wait about, I would say, a month and a half to hear back about it. So it wasn’t horrible, as far as short sales go.
What do you love most about being a homeowner?
The ability to do whatever you want to your space.
Is there anything that you have learned through the process of working on your first house that you wish you had known beforehand, but are going to apply towards the next house?
That is a really good question! Honestly, making the house yours is really important. Obviously, you don’t want to go too crazy, but a lot of stuff can be changed really inexpensively. Don’t be afraid to paint your walls — it’s just paint and it’s no big deal. Even doing really cool wall treatments…most of the time those can just be taken down and the house can be neutralized if that is what the buyers want. The person who buys our house will buy it because they love it, not because they are middle of the road. That is what we are hoping for!
Have you made many changes to “neutralize” it since deciding to sell?
No. We still have the hexagon wall in Dylan’s room, the brick in the living room. But I do feel like my style has evolved since starting the blog. I love bold, bright, fun colors and patterns and all of that kind of stuff, but usually it is just on one wall in a room and the rest of the walls are white. So it’s normally just one wall that needs to be updated if people were having a hard time with it.
One of our questions was how would you describe your dream house, but it sounds like you are already building it! Along those lines, what are some of the features you are most excited to put in the new house?
Oh my gosh, I am so excited for windows! There are going to be windows everywhere because natural light is my most favorite thing ever. We are going to do a ton of black framed windows, and then these amazing windows in the master bedroom that I am so excited about. The master is upstairs by itself, and built into the roof, so it has an A-frame roofline ceiling. I found these windows online that are the coolest thing ever– you install them in the room and they open up and form a balcony. They are amazing, and probably the thing that I am most excited about in the whole house. They are the Cabrio windows from Velux. When I saw them I thought, we have to have these windows!
What to you makes your house a home?
I think that often it is really easy to get caught up in planning your room designs around this future homeowner who may buy your house years from now. You literally have no idea who they are and what they like, and limiting your house and your space to be something that some stranger will possibly want in the future doesn’t make any sense to me. I think that you should live in your house and you should change it and do things to it and make it yours without worrying about some stranger and what their thought is.
That is such a good point, because people are often hesitant to make changes that would make the house feel like theirs.
Right. Obviously, if you are doing extreme things you are narrowing the market, but I think that so many people just stay on this beige path because they are too scared to step on either side of it. Here is the thing though…no one loves beige. No one walks into a house and thinks “Oh my gosh this beige just makes my heart so happy!” No. Have a house with personality and you will have a house that people either fiercely love or fiercely hate. But the people who love it seriously love it. It’s not just mediocre enough that they will buy it.
You describe your style as fearless. Once you move into your new home, as far as decorating goes, will you just dive right into or live in the space for a bit and fill it out?
Because it is a parade house it has to be completely decorated for the parade. I know that there is no way that it will be completely “done,” though. We will decorate it enough that it looks like a house with furniture and cool wall treatments here and there, but it will definitely evolve from that place. Everyone that I talk to is worried that I will stop blogging because the house will be done, but that is so not the case! My poor husband..he will never ever get a break.
What inspired you to start the blog?
We had just bought our house and all of our friends were buying black, slightly distressed furniture from Ashley Furniture, and we couldn’t afford it. It just made me so sad. But I stumbled upon this world of DIY blogging and thrifting–taking stuff and making it your own, and I was so inspired. So, I went to the thrift store and I bought a piece of furniture and painted it bright yellow. That was my first DIY. I probably had no business telling people how to do things…I didn’t know the right way, I just told them how I did it. But that is kind of how it started. I really think the fearlessness is what catapulted me into the place that I am at now, because I like to do things that other people may not even think are possible. Every project we do we learn something that you shouldn’t do. There is a lot of failing, but I think that adds value to the blog.
What suggestions or advice would you give someone about being a homeowner, leaving your first house, and moving onto your second house?
Not being afraid to make a home your own is the biggest takeaway that I have because I think that so many people struggle with that. They don’t want to paint because they are afraid they will get sick of the paint color, so they wait five years. In reality, in five years you are going to hate the paint color anyway, so you might as well just do it!
So true! Mandi, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, and good luck with your selling process and build… We can’t wait to see what you come up with for the new house!
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