English 101: JC Clapp
Evaluation Assignment Student Sample for In-Class Workshop Practice #3
Target Audience and Publication: 18-35 year old homeowners; Home improvement website such as HGTV.com or MarthaStewart.com
Loving Young House Love
If the plethora of do-it-yourself style renovation and decoration television shows weren’t enough of a clue, our country is in the midst of a DIY renaissance. Homebuyers young and old are improving their homes in inexpensive and creative ways. In addition to television shows, there are countless online resources available as well, from MarthaStewart.com, to HGTV.com, to small homegrown blogs. One blog that has risen above the rest with an avid fan following is Young House Love (
Young House Love is a home improvement and project blog created by John and Sherry Petersik. The blog started over 5 years ago when the couple moved from Manhattan to Richmond, Virginia after purchasing their first home. What was originally meant as a way to keep their families up to date on the progress of their home renovation has grown into a website with thousands of daily readers, most recently culminating in the publication of their own DIY home décor book in November of 2012. Within two weeks of being released, the book was named a New York Times best seller, and an Amazon and Barnes and Noble book of the year.
To attest to the blog’s ever growing popularity, the Petersik’s have recently created a reader forum for their followers to connect to discuss ideas and projects. In the four weeks the forum has been up and running, it has grown to over 500 discussions in 10 topic areas.
As a long time reader, I’ve followed along and successfully completed many projects found on Young House Love. I rent and can’t demolish my kitchen as I’d like to, but I have refinished furniture, hung homemade art, and organized my home in ways I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. I find myself continuously inspired by their ideas. I also find myself inspired by their work ethic. By running their own business, they are honest about the difficulties of being tied to their computers at all times and balancing that with spending time with their three year old daughter. John and Sherry acknowledge that they can DIY full time, something most of their readers are unable to do. They publicly announced in their 2013 New Year’s resolutions that they will be reducing their blogging schedule to create more work/life balance. Their readers responded with overwhelming support.
Young House Love has gone through many changes as it has grown over the years. After completing and selling their first home upon the birth of their daughter in 2010, the Petersik’s began work on a new home. Readers have been able to watch from the beginning as they renovated and redecorated the home in real time, tackling projects one by one. Most recently, John and Sherry announced they have purchased a new house and will soon be starting the process all over again.
From big to small, Young House Love has projects for anyone interested in decorating their home on a budget and completing remodels without bringing in outside help. The Petersik’s have tackled large projects such as kitchen remodels, building decks, taking down walls, and gutting bathrooms. They have also featured accessible smaller projects such as repainting and refinishing furniture, installing board and batten, redecorating rooms, building toys for their daughter, and landscaping. Their projects are aimed at keeping costs within reach of the average reader and focusing on upgrades that add value to a home.
Young House Love is also about finding inspiration from other bloggers. They frequently share reader’s renovations and projects, called reader redesigns, as well as “house crash” followers and friends homes with their camera in tow. The intention is to celebrate creativity and resourcefulness. Readers are encouraged to appreciate homes in all sizes and colors, even if the tastes may vary.
Unlike many blogs, the couple behind Young House Love has implemented a “no-swag” policy. They don’t accept gifts from vendors, instead choosing to pass them onto their loyal readers. This ensures the projects they complete remain reasonable and within budget. As two self-employed bloggers, the Petersik’s are proof that home improvement is within almost anyone’s financial reach. An added perk of their no-swag policy means their followers get a chance to win incredible prizes.
Finances aren’t the only thing the Petersik’s have down to earth sensibilities about. They make even large projects seem doable. Each project is broken down into steps so anyone can follow along. They even list the cost of parts and supplies. And maybe most importantly, they also document their mistakes and reserve the right to change their minds. Their home is always evolving as their family grows and their style changes.
Young House Love is a great blog to follow if you desire to try home improvement but are scared to dip your toe in the water. The common sense approach, fun evolving style, and transparency in terms of cost, effort, and mistakes makes it a great resource for any home project. No matter what you want to improve in your home, you are bound to find something that inspires you to jump on the home improvement bandwagon.