Inspired by Design | With Love, Mercedes
We have been so inspired by the work of Mercedes from With Love, Mercedes. Seriously, it makes us want to redo our entire house after seeing what she's done! We are so thrilled that she was willing to share some of her design insights with us! Read about her journey below.
Growing up, I was always very determined about one thing - I was going to become a doctor. I graduated at the top of my class in High School and got good grades in college where I studied Physiology and Developmental Biology. I absolutely loved what I studied. I was good at it and I felt assured in my chosen career path in medicine. I took the MCAT (the medical school entrance exam), had letters of recommendation written, and got all of my applications ready to be sent off when I realized that something just didn’t feel right. So, with only a semester and a half to go before graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree and continuing on to Medical School, I decided that becoming a doctor wasn’t what I was supposed to do with my life.
It was a terrifying decision to make and an extremely difficult one. Like I said, I loved what I was studying and I was really good at it, but when I dug deep I realized that it wasn’t the path for me. I was heartbroken because I had dedicated almost my whole life working towards this goal that now I was choosing to abandon, but I trusted that gut feeling. Let me add that I do not think that continuing down that path would have been bad - in fact I’m sure I would be very happy as a doctor - but I am truly in love with where my life has taken me instead.
Fast forward a few years and my husband and I bought our first home. We really wanted to grow our family and have children, so I stopped working when we moved states, but having children took us longer than we had hoped for. While we were waiting, I knew I didn’t want to be just sit around in my PJs all day, so I got to work doing home improvement projects and quickly realized that I had stumbled upon something that I really loved doing.
I knew that I wanted a beautiful home, but we couldn’t afford to hire contractors to come and do the work for us, so I figured I would learn how to do it! After all, I knew I was just stubborn enough to figure it out and I was willing to make mistakes and work through them.
In a field like this, you have to understand that you will make mistakes (especially if you are self taught)! It’s all part of the territory, so don’t let mistakes discourage you. You will cut a board incorrectly or encounter something that you didn’t plan for, but when you know that mistakes will happen, solving the problem becomes part of the puzzle to solve. For me, it’s all part of the fun!
I started off doing projects in my own home, of course. I learned how to tile and completely rebuild a fireplace then how to paint cabinets and install board and batten walls. Every project I tackled brought me a sense of accomplishment that I loved and gave me more confidence for the next one. When my son was born, I realized that doing these DIY projects had become such an important part of my identity that allowing myself some time to pour into projects was necessary, even with a baby at home.
The sense of accomplishment that came from working with my hands and creating something beautiful is rejuvenating to me. When I look around and point out things that I love in my home, they are all because I (usually working by myself) made them that way and that makes me feel pretty dang proud. I didn’t need praise from others to augment this sense of accomplishment, but I realized that I could maybe show a few other moms with small kids that they are capable of this stuff too. I’m all about encouraging others to step outside of their comfort zone and realize they are capable of so much, so I started a blog with that purpose in mind - to try and empower other women in this space.
As the traffic to my blog and social media increased, I started getting requests to come do projects in friends homes, then in friends of friends homes. Then not only was it requests to come install a shiplap wall here or paint that vanity over there, it was doing actual design work.
I must admit, I still feel radically under qualified to be doing this because after all, interior designers spend a lot of time and money to train and earn degrees in design, so I always have to be very clear - I am not an interior designer! This is just a hobby of mine, but I have trained my eye to be able to recognize what looks good. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes so that my clients don’t have to!
A few of my most recent projects have been designing a few spaces in the home of the CEO of one of the largest real estate groups in my area. So while I have had a very non traditional path to the world of DIY and design, I absolutely love it. My main job title will always be Mom, but this facet of my life is such an incredibly fun and fulfilling part of it as well.
Thank you so much Mercedes for being willing to share some of you inspiration and insights into creating beautiful homes! Be sure to check out her website for more useful tips and ways that you can make your home a beautiful space!