ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - Stop by Mandi Gubler’s St. George home at any given time and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be walking into a construction zone.
With her hair pulled up into a messy bun, a smear of paint on her arm and a wide, warm smile, Gubler has no problem with people seeing what’s happening behind the scenes. For the past five years she’s been sharing that view with some 750,000 people per month by way of her blog, Vintage Revivals.
“It’s not like we’re ripping out floors but there’s always paint trays with rollers in my fridge. Always,” Gubler says.
It’s a life she didn’t necessarily anticipate when she decided to jump with both feet into the world of “fearless” do-it-yourself projects and blog about the process - the successes and the failures. In fact, the entire thing began as a sort of therapy while her husband was in the throes of a drug addiction.
“I had completely lost myself,” Gubler says, adding that is a very common part of dealing with a loved one’s addiction.
They had just purchased their home and while her friends were all buying “black distressed furniture from Ashley and the Boulevard,” Gubler knew she couldn’t afford that. Plus, it wasn’t necessarily her style.
While searching online one day she came across a blog by another Southern Utah resident, Brooke Ulrich, called All Things Thrifty.
“I was blown away,” Gubler says. “Something about the way she wrote made me think I could do it.”
She went to Deseret Industries Thrift Store and bought an end table, a coffee table and a credenza and spray painted them bright yellow.
“I was a spray-paint virgin,” Gubler says, laughing.
Although she cringes a bit now at some of her earlier designs, she is proud of the fact that she had the courage to try.
“My whole life I was not good at anything. I’m really tall but super uncoordinated. I don’t sing,” she says.
Suddenly those things didn’t matter so much. She started to DIY.
In a way, the entire process was a DIY makeover for her life. With no formal design or carpentry training, Gubler started dreaming up and carrying out projects and taking her own photos. When it came to writing, Gubler says she wasn’t really a writer either, so she just writes the way she talks - a style that seemed to resonate with readers.
As things progressed, Gubler started to learn the business side of monetizing her blog. It was a couple of years before she had her first sponsor.
People think it’s this really charmed life to just do projects all day, which it is, but it’s a lot of work, Gubler says.
Still, she counts herself incredibly lucky.
Keeping up with roughly four posts each week, Gubler’s staff now includes “an ad guy,” ”a tech guy” and a manager to deal with sponsor content. Beyond that, she responds to her social media, emails and comments and continues to dream up more projects which she carries out herself, occasionally aided by her husband, Courtney.
“He is so supportive,” Mandi says.
“I didn’t expect it to turn into what it turned into,” Courtney says. “It’s pretty chaotic at times.”
Mandi credits some of the success of the blog to the fact that she has been so open with her readers, not only about the success and failure of the projects she does, but about dealing with her husband’s addiction and facing the facts about her own co-dependency.
“People need to know there is hope,” Mandi says.
“I’ve always been fine with (being open),” says Courtney, who has been sober for five years. “We are always on the trial by failure course.”
Now, five years into this online project, Mandi has been the recipient of national attention, including being named Better Homes and Gardens Best DIY blogger and being featured in HGTV magazine for her daughter’s room makeover. She was also recently invited as the closing keynote speaker at a conference for creative bloggers in Atlanta.
“Once you find out what you do well, do that,” Mandi says. “I do new projects really well.”
In an area where so many people are afraid to try anything out of the ordinary when it comes to decorating, concerned about how the changes might impact their home’s resale value, Mandi encourages people to, “Just do it. You can always change it.”
Information from: The Spectrum, https://www.thespectrum.com
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