Category Archives: Meet the Rookies

Q & A with The Rookies

Okay, okay… we promise this is the last day of non-DIY centered posts. We will be back Monday morning (9:00am) with what we’re here for… DIY blogging!! Less about the players, more about the game. 

Where is your home located and how long have you lived there?

C: My fiance Finn and I rent a loft space in a condo building in downtown St. Louis. We have lived here for almost 2 years.

B: My +1 Matt and I recently bought a house in the suburbs of Chicago. We’ve He’s been in the house for about a month…. I’ll join him once we make it “official” #oldfashioned 

How would you describe your decorating style?

C: Overall, I would say my style is comfortable. I try to create a place where anyone can come right in and automatically feel cozy and welcome. You won’t see anything too stuffy in our space. I also want our home to reflect our personalities, so you get a feel for us as people (and a couple) when you walk through our door.

I tend to lean more towards a traditional, simple, and clean look…but I like to add a trendy touch too. I typically start with classic, neutral pieces and then add pops of color with accessories. I also like mixing old and new pieces all together. So in our home, you’ll see decor from Crate & Barrel and Target…mixed right in with flea market and thrift store items.  I’m also not a big fan of clutter (and our place isn’t very big!), so you’ll often see baskets, ottomans, and secret storage all around our home. 
B: Yikes! What a tough question. I guess I never thought about exactly what my design style is. I guess I would say… Rustic meets farmhouse meets grandma chic with a hint of preppy. I attract to rustic furniture because something about it screams coziness, which I love. The farmhouse component brings the “casualness” to the mix while the grandma chic accounts for my love for all things vintage, old school, and/or self-proclaimed grandma-ish. That clears it up, right? Oh, and I can’t hide my attraction to hints of preppy. Bring on the globes, stripes, and bow ties (That means you, Matt). #hinthint

Where do look for inspiration?

C: These days, blogs and Pinterest are my source for DIY inspiration. You can see some of my favorite blogs on our sidebar under “Hall of Fame Bloggers

B: Beyond the ever-inspiring blogs and Pinterest as Casey says, I also find inspiration from the wonderful people around me. I am very lucky to say that my family is full of creative people (most who think they are not creative at all)! Each is creative in their own way and they inspire me to tackle new projects and ideas.

Where is your favorite place to shop for home decor?

C: Without a doubt, thrift and antique stores. You just never know what you’re gonna find. I like to find quality furniture (they just don’t make it like they used to) and then revamp the pieces to our style.
I also can never ever visit Target without perusing their home area (such cute, and reasonably priced goodies!) And Home Goods…I’m obsessed! If I had an unlimited budget, I would love to go crazy at West Elm, Restoration Hardware, and Pottery Barn. 

B: Wow Case, I couldn’t have answered this question better myself! I would have to add that our new house is literally 60 seconds away from a TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s/HomeGoods combo so I am definitely a little too Maxx-inista lately. I also spend a lot of my summer searching for local garage sales and estate sales. It’s the ultimate trash to treasure challenge and I am hooked!

Describe your home in 5 words or less.

C: Comfortable, personal, relaxing, contemporary.
B: Full of personality, tradition, coziness & happiness.  

What’s next on your to-do list for your home?

C: Ahh..there is always something isn’t there?! I would really like to focus on the dining room table. Maybe find a big industrial or farmhouse table for a reasonable price and DIY some chairs & a bench!

B: Any and all decorating & personalization. One month in to our new house, we have nothing hanging on the walls and have lots to do to make this cozy ranch a home. 
What’s the best decorating tip/trick?

C: Be true to your style and personality. You don’t need to run out and buy whatever is “in” or trendy that season. Pick pieces that reflect you, and they’ll never go out of style in your eyes. For example, if you enjoy relaxing on the couch each night…buy a comfy couch that you love. It’s always function over fashion for me.

B: Don’t buy something unless you love, love, love it! Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale, super cheap, or at a store that you love. Don’t settle for buying any new lamp because you need a lamp. Hold out until you find that lamp that you absolutely adore. With a home filled with items you l.o.v.e, you are bound to create a place that reflects your style and (most importantly) that makes you proud. (I guess this same advice is true about finding your future prince charming… don’t settle for any old frog!)

How did you first catch the decorating “bug”?

C: It all started with these old, antique chairs. My future mother-in-law gave them to us, because they were in her family for generations. They needed a lot of TLC and I wanted to keep them going for years to come. I researched online how to spruce them up, and came across the home decorating blogosphere that I now love! Once the chairs were done, I was hooked and have been working on projects ever since.
B: I’ve always been really interested in all things decorating, fashion and general creativity. I took every “home ec” class that was offered in high school and ended up majoring in Home Economics (formally known as Family and Consumer Sciences) in college. Some of my college courses included sewing, fashion design, housing, and even cooking. To say I was in my glory is quite the understatement. This creativity morphed into a more DIY focused interest when I stumbled upon some of the Hall-of-Fame bloggers several years back and have been combining the two ever since. 

Let’s be honest, DIY isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. What do you dislike about DIY?

C: I’m the kind of person that likes to start a project and finish it right away! So, painting projects can be so hard for me! I want to get it done and into our space quickly…so waiting for the paint to dry or cure is absolute torture!

B: Impatience is a huge problem for me as well. I am just so excited to see that final product that it’s hard for me to patiently wait. Tools also intimidate me so… any projects that require some (or any) tools tend to scare me.  

Check back this afternoon for a peek into next week’s projects along with some “breaking news”
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Meet the Rookies: Bridget


Welcome back to the DIY Playbook! On behalf of the both of us, we would like to say how truly thankful we are for all of the love and support we received on yesterday’s launch. We are overwhelmed by all of the support and want to thank YOU, our fabulous readers, for all that you have done to make our launch day so special. We have lots of projects ready to go and we can’t wait for you to see what’s in store!

Now, back to your regular scheduled post….

Welcome back to the DIY Playbook, we are so thankful that you’re here. If you’ve stopped by for the same reason I think you you have (some DIY fun, of course)…. you can do this! Whether you’re a hall-of-famer or just a rookie like me us, I hope the Playbook can provide you with some inspiration that will lead you to a new project, idea, or gift you can be proud of. For all the rookies out there that are a little hesitant or intimidated by all things tools, paint, or mini construction, join the club. We understand these fears, but urge you to dive right in anyway… what do you have to lose? Like my dad always told us girls growing up…. “Get a mitt and get in the game!”

I hope that this blog does just that…. urges you to “get a mitt, paintbrush, stencil, hammer, or drill and get in the DIY game”
My name is Bridget O’Connor, and I grew up in a southern suburb of Chicago. I have a wonderful family that doesn’t necessarily love, love, love DIY as much as me, the middle sister, but supports my crazy ideas anyway. I have two sisters that are my best friends, and we share parents that are the most selfless, supportive, and hardworking people we know.
Growing up, we lived in a modest ranch that we affectionately named the Chestnut Club. My parents treated the Chestnut Club as another member of the family, showering him with endless love, sweat, and commitment; keeping him up-to-date, fashionable, and always a proud staple of the O’Connor clan.

This commitment, hard work, and creativity that my parents always showed towards the Chestnut Club mixed with my passion for crafts, scrapbooking and organizing paved the way for my grown-up passion; DIY-ing. #thankspatandmike

In high school a few lockers down, I met my creative match. With two irish names that started with O’, we were bound to be best friends. We spent one night a week scrapbooking, many endless hours making puffy paint t-shirts, and later graduated to helping each other decorate college dorm rooms. Over ten years later, we live in separate cities, see each other far less than we want to, but still share a love for DIY. Although our projects and decorating styles have changed (thank goodness), we still share our O’ last names (not for long…tear) and we still share late nights DIY-ing (like this one or this one) and gossiping like old times. We’re teammates, best friends, and starting this blogging journey as complete rookies…. together.

My other DIY partner-in-crime and teammate is my uber creative and supportive boyfriend, Matt. After Matt created a scrapbook of pictures and commentary of each of our date sites in honor of our first Valentine’s Day together…. I knew he was a keeper. From our small town tours (complete with a favorite small town voting ballots) to hilarious rhyming stories he created to celebrate big events in our relationship, Matt is definitely a DIY-er at heart, and I’m so lucky to have him! I definitely could not have created this without his help and support of my garbage picking habits. More on that later…

Outside of my passion for DIY-ing, I work as a high school Family & Consumer Sciences/Special Education teacher. I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember… read more about that here. This is a career that I absolutely love and a career that I am extremely thankful for everyday.

Join me as I try to juggle time with my family, friends, main squeeze, career, grad school and anything else that pops up along the way to continue my love for all things DIY. I hope to take my Rookie salary and Rookie status to transform my new house to a personalized masterpiece that I can call home. Just like my parents did for the Chestnut Club, I hope to mix the perfect ingredients of love, creativity and hard work into our new ranch in hopes that the Longview Lodge can be just a part of the family as the good old Chestnut Club. Take a tour of our new home here and check out our home announcements here!

Now that you know far more than you probably ever needed to about Bridget, it’s Casey’s turn to step up to the plate. Get to know more about my favorite teammate and DIY rookie, Casey, in tomorrow’s post.  
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