Young House Love: 7 Tips for Romantic DIY

Sherry and John Petersik of "Young House Love" offer tips for keeping the romance alive—even in DIY.

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  1. DIY Romance

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    Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love have been super busy renovating their second home, nurturing a wildly popular blog with millions of followers, raising a highly inquisitive and sweet toddler, working on their first book, and speaking around the country. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are seven Petersik-style wisdoms—culled from the posts of “Young House Love” and from an interview with Sherry—that may help you keep romance up and stress down when your kitchen is covered in plastic and you’re doing the work of eight people.

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  2. Keepsakes

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    Sherry and John display meaningful mementos around the house—constant reminders of special days and joyous events. Framed black-and-white photo-booth strips are favorite wedding souvenirs, and a chopsticks-filled vase commemorates a tradition of sushi-eating on New Year's Eve. The keys to their former homes have also been artfully arranged in shadowbox frames.

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  3. Celebrate Big

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    John and Sherry celebrate each anniversary with millions of readers on “Young House Love.” Not only do they revive past sentimental milestones, but they also created “Wedding Week,” a slew of posts devoted to romantic decorating ideas, traditions, and make-it projects. This July marks the Petersik’s Big Five, and they have already engaged readers in their anniversary plans. John says, “We figure if we keep saying it out loud, it’ll force us to actually make it happen.” Hawaii is on the radar!

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  4. Money Matters

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    The Petersiks are committed to living beautifully and getting there modestly, and the DIY lifestyle has significantly contributed to living within a smart budget. There are occasional splurges, of course, yet DIY-ing a home, in conjunction with acts of stylish recycling and reuse, seriously helps keep costs down. As for purchasing new, Sherry says, “We believe in buying things after we have the money in the bank.”

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  5. Try This: "Full Agreement" Agreement

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    Sherry and John laid down some rules at the beginning and actually keep them! Simply put, their “Full Agreement” agreement means “We both have to like it. “ Sherry says that this agreement keeps resentment out of the relationship, minimizes impulse buys (aka “wastes of money"), and helps to slow us down. Plus, it also “means the house is really ours.”

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  6. Don't Wait for Date Night

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    "We have very romantic moments every few days," says Sherry, adding with a big smile, "And, that’s not a euphemism!" Sherry and John won’t wait for a babysitter to connect, and find that impromptu take-out/eat-in nights after Clara is asleep are great opportunities to be present with each other. In the middle of hanging shelves, John might also blurt out, "You look so pretty." Sherry likes this!

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  7. Flexible Boundaries

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    Since the rhythm of the blog relies on John and Sherry’s consistent posts and responses, and the content relies on life in the house, Sherry says, “The biggest challenge is that we are never not at work.” Inevitably, there is always one more thing to do. With Clara in bed at 7:30 p.m., John and Sherry have determined that 8pm to midnight (plus napping hours) is prime work time, yet they are completely OK with that old familiar phrase, “just after this.”

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  8. Share the Love

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    John and Sherry are generous sharers. They share the voice of the blog 50/50 and they share tasks. They share all of their resources and lessons with their readers. And they have invited fellow bloggers to share the pages of the couple's first book, a large compilation of ways to show your house some love. John and Sherry also share the love when entertaining. At Clara’s second birthday, various meaningful foods were put out. A tag beside the pizza read, “Many of John & Sherry’s casual dates in New York City were enjoyed over a slice of New York pizza.” See more at A "Young House Love" Affair.

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