Raising Richmond: Love for Young House Love

The duo from Young House Love is taking a break from their blog. While they regroup and consider what to do with the site, here’s a look back at some of my favorite things they’ve done.

I’m not really a “do it yourself” person. Nor am I a “get someone else to do it” person. My philosophy for maintaining a home is a combination of “ignore it and maybe it won’t kill any of us” and desperation. It tends to take a floor covered in water for me to take action on something.1 So it’s strange that one of my favorite blogs is Young House Love, since it’s a DIY/home repair site most of the time. I read through their posts about repurposing and fixing and decorating with a distant interest that one day I can be like that. But it’s the other topics that cover life in general that have made me a dedicated reader.

If you don’t know about Young House Love, 1) Really?, and 2) They are a couple who moved to Richmond and started a blog to keep family posted on their home renovations. Now it’s years later, they’re on their third house, are working on their second book, and are still young (or pretty young for having owned three houses). I began to read the blog back when it was “This Young House” because it was amusing, informative, and local. After they started to post less earlier this year, I stopped visiting daily, but I still check it at least once a week.

I don’t know John and Sherry Petersik, but it’s been really impressive watching their brand grow from blurbs on other blogs to national media to books to their own product lines–all while maintaining their website. When they announced their hiatus last week I was surprised that I found out through reading their post that explained why, and not by hearing cries of distress about it from my online acquaintances. How could this not have sounded alarms locally? Why is it that when a restaurant changes a light bulb in Richmond I see 20 Tweets and four articles about it, but when our local celebrities decide to shut it down, I hear nothing?

That they’re on hiatus for at least a month made me a little sad, especially since it seemingly stemmed from well-meaning criticism in the comment thread of another post. I can see how they’d run out of steam. They have other non-Wordpress based projects that they’re into. Plus they just had a second kid, and I firmly believe that you can’t ask anyone who just had a baby to do anything for one year. Who can blame them for wanting to cut back on what is sure to be a time consuming task of writing daily posts?2 The Petersiks probably get, like, four hours of sleep a night–let them throw some cool wall decals at you for free and call it that day’s post so they can take a nap/rewire kitchen lighting.

When I turn to the Internet for advice, YHL is on my short list of places to check. I like their thoughtful and practical approach to purchases and projects, and I trust their recommendations. Their daughter is about six months older than mine, and I like reading how they handled and prepared for the milestones I was getting ready for (theirs was the final opinion that pushed me toward Bum Genius cloth diapers). Reading about their daughter is a happy glimpse into the future, as they are pretty similar (and have a lot of the same clothes–that’s not on purpose, though).

I would love to see YHL come back and deliver that same pleasant pop, but if they don’t, they’ve created a cool corner of the Internet to which I will continue to refer. A lot of what I’ve read from them still sticks with me. Part of their appeal, too, is that they are around my age and have gone through similar life changes. They didn’t plan to, but they’ve created a step-by-step guide for how to build a well-adjusted adult life. Sharing more of their personal life has been a nice touch, too. Plus, they are huge cheerleaders for all things Richmond. Whenever they post about something local, there are always comments from their readers that didn’t know that Richmond had anything going on and how they want to visit because of them. Someone give the Petersiks the keys to the city’s website!

As an appreciation for the entertainment they’ve provided me on my past work breaks and beyond, here are five of my favorite YHL recurring segments and posts:

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“Save It”

I don’t like to spend money. I like to save money, and I like to learn how other people save money, so their “Save It” posts are super fun reads for me. It also shows the restraint they need to be able to afford to do what they do. They save money by having one car, not buying specific products, and having one pair of magical pants that fits everyone in the family perfectly.3

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Their wedding

The planning and execution of their at-home wedding is a sweet read, especially if you’re into budget-conscious weddings. I find the details fascinating.

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“Clara Conversations”

These are delightful, and also inspired me to be better about writing down what my daughter says.4

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Birth stories

Do not read Clara’s birth story unless you are prepared to have an ugly cry. And also make sure you’re not pregnant when you read it (or if you are, just remember that everyone is well at the end).

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Sherry’s episode of FANatic

Way to own your Eminem-worshipping past, Sherry. It really is a wonder these two don’t already have their own TV show.

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I wish them the best in the future, even if that means they move on to non-blogging pastures. They would have the best looking non-blogging pasture, though. So many ceramic animals and big-patterned rugs.

  1. I’m currently considering fixing a leak in my kitchen sink. I’m going to wait and see if it fixes itself first. 
  2. I can imagine that writing a week’s worth of posts is a full-time job for them, especially since writing this column takes me eight hours a week, plus I manage two unpaid interns who sit next to me and refill my cereal bowls while I type. 
  3. That last one is actually from my Young House Love fan fiction where I am their best friend and they fix my sink in exchange for home cooked meals. 
  4. It’s weird for me to write their daughter’s name here when I don’t even share my own daughter’s name–she would probably tell me to tell you it’s Celestia. 
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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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