HGTV and DIY Network Takeover Salt Lake City

I’m sitting on a plane right now, from Salt Lake City en route to our layover in Detroit, and then our final destination – Jacksonville, Florida. It’ll be good to get home and see our boy Mannie!!  Salt Lake was awesome and everyone was super nice.  Here are a couple shots from our trip.

The other speaker at the Salt Lake Home Show was the one and only James Young, of DIY Network’s I Hate My Kitchen.   He’s an overwhelmingly cool cat, who’s laid back and humble.  Whit and I are so glad we got to meet him.  You definitely need to check out his show for some unbelievable kitchen transformations!

It’ll be good to get back into the swing of things for a few days, until the next city. But what I’m most looking forward to is some good ol’ fashioned workshop time…

This past weekend was a good one as Whitney and I got to meet tons of great “Salt Lake-ians” (?) and maybe even inspired a few to finally tackle that next remodeling or DIY project.

However, it occurred to me that with our (thankfully) busy design business – that we’ve gotten away from our roots over the past few months. I guess in a …umm… disappointed way I inspired myself to get crafty when we get back home.

In a recent interview with the local First Coast Magazine in Jacksonville, Whit and I were asked, “What do you love most about design and remodeling?” My response was instinctual – Creating. The workshop is my happy place.

Fun fact: (as told by the great Josh Temple from DIY Network’s: House Crashers) Carpenters are always the happiest guys on the job site. Why? Because the smell of freshly cut wood releases endorphins, which incite a state of happiness. Dunno if it’s true or not, but it sounds good!

I can get high-strung at times, because it’s very easy for me to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things. But I’m looking forward to Creating and Building when Whit and I return back to Jax. I’ll be focusing on improving my wood working skills and becoming a better creator overall, and a better artist.

Stay tuned blog buds…I’ve got some ideas brewing.

-johnny ray

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8 responses to HGTV and DIY Network Takeover Salt Lake City


  1. How nice of Whitney to let you do your very own blog post! :)

    Looks like you guys had a blast, I love all your facial expressions in these photos!

  2. Been following on Instagram and it looks like you two have had a truly great time…I am so happy that you two are living your dream and sharing this dream with others…It must be exhausting, but a good exhaustion….I can truly say that you two certainly “hitched your wagon to a star!” Bravo you two!!!

  3. Marian

    Excited to see what you create, Johnny Ray!

2014- A Year of New Adventures!

Hi Friends!

I sincerely apologize for my lack of blogging lately.  Johnny Ray and I have been so busy working our booties off, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog at least once a week.  So, here we go!  This post is mostly word-filled so if you were hoping for a gazillion pictures, I hate to break the bad news to you.  But, I hope you’ll continue reading because there are some good pics, regardless. ;)

2014 was filled with so many new things for us.  In late 2013, HGTV found us from this little blog, and invited us to take part in a new show.  ALL we knew about the show was that it is a new competition show for the chance to win $50,000.  That’s IT!  We had big dreams of someday opening our own interior design firm, but you know how that goes.  You talk about all the cool stuff you want to do with your life, but you don’t actually think it will ever happen.  We knew that this would be an experience of a lifetime, no matter the outcome.  And we knew that we wanted to say “YES” more than we wanted to say “no thanks.”  So, in February 2014, we flew to Los Angeles with nothing but two suitcases and lots of nerves, not knowing what we were about to embark on.  I took a leave of absence from my job (My boss was like, “What?!! You HAVE to go!” when I told her we were invited.)  I’m grateful for her.  If she had told me I may lose my job if I went to LA, I may not have done it.

9 weeks is a long time to be away from work, so I was still afraid I’d come back home jobless with no income, but we took the chance anyway, and went for it!  John left his job at a commercial construction firm and we were all in.  Talk about scared to death– what are we doing –kind of emotions?

Being on Flipping the Block was one of the hardest, most intense, but also most rewarding, things we’ve ever done.  We didn’t sleep or eat much– there was simply too much work to do and not ever enough time in each challenge.  We buckled up and handled every obstacle with as much of a positive attitude as we could muster up.  There were a ton of rules to follow and lots of restrictions as to how we could complete challenges, and that was extra tough.

 Some days were filled with lots of drama and tension between the teams on the block.  I guess that comes naturally in a competition setting, but I feel super uncomfortable in those types of situations, so I tried to avoid them and just stay focused on what we were trying to achieve.  There were cameras watching us everywhere we went, except for when we were in the bathroom and when we slept.  I got pretty used to them, but even up until the last week, I hated waking up to the knock on the door, and then in come the cameras.  No makeup, hair is a mess, not cute.

I think some of the episodes and behind the scenes videos are up on YouTube, so feel free to check them out if you missed the season. :)

When we got home from filming Flipping the Block, I went back to work full time, and we knew without a doubt that we wanted to renovate and design for a living.  With John getting his degree in Construction Management, and me being obsessed with all things Home, we just had to go for it.  We had about two months between the auction and the airing of episode one.  There would never be a better time to launch our business.  So in April of 2014, 27 South Design Group, LLC became official!  We didn’t launch our business publicly until July because we were still getting everything setup (our website, office, social media accounts, etc.) Thank goodness for our amazing brother in law, who setup our website (www.27southdesign.com).  We told him what we wanted it to look like, and he made it happen!

For the first few months, John was running the business during the day (in between classes) and I was helping him at night after work.   While all we wanted to do was get a decent night’s sleep after just working crazy long days for 8 weeks straight on these nasty condos in LA, sleep just wasn’t at the forefront of our priorities, and it’s still not.  I know it’s important, but it’s tough to make yourself stop and go to bed when there are so many things you need want to get done.

Our design business is growing steadily, and we are so grateful for this.  We have put everything into it, and it is truly our baby (aside from Mannie boy, of course!)  We love working together, and I’m devoted to the business fully now, as my financial analysts days have dwindled away.  We work long days, but we are glad to do it.  Taking good care of our clients and making sure the quality is top-notch is what we want to be known for, so whatever we have to do to make that happen is what we’re going to do.

Here are a couple shots from some of the projects we’ve completed.  You can check out more photos here! 

2014 was a year of new adventures, a year of risk, and a year of rewards!  As we begin 2015, John and I are pumped for what this year will bring!  We will be traveling this Spring to speak at Home & Patio shows all over the country, and we couldn’t be more excited!  We’ll be sharing some of the behind the scenes details from Flipping the Block and some other fun DIY projects too!

Thank you for sticking around– we know we’ve been a bit absent, but you have our word… We’re going to keep you updated once a week this year!

We’re wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2015!  :)

Smiles,

Whitney and Johnny Ray

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16 responses to 2014- A Year of New Adventures!


  1. Marian

    You have indeed had a busy and successful year! Looking forward to 2015 for sure!

  2. Watching the two of you on TV was absolutely thrilling! I am glad we were able to text about it afterwards too :) I hope a visit to Boston is on your list of places to visit this year!!! I am so proud of you guys and wish you all the best in 2015!! <3

  3. I’m so thrilled for you guys. I know 2015 will be a great year for yall!!!!!!
    Go out and kick some bootie!

  4. I just know that you two with your talents and passion are going to be so very successful in your new company….I so enjoyed watching your journey with Flipping the Block and what a great experience that was and the memories you will have forever….I loved the before and after pics…and looking forward to what you are up to in 2015….Here’s to a beautiful and successful year in 2015…I know that it will be for you as your work is truly a labor of love and it shows!

  5. Chad Humm

    Awesome year! You two deserve it. Keep working hard and best of luck in 2015

  6. What a fab year you had. So fun to watch my friend on tv!!! Happy new year! Xoxo

  7. Such a fun and exciting year you all had! Congratulations on the new business — I look forward to following along! Happy 2015, Whitney!
    xo Heidi

  8. What an exciting year. I was so disappointed when you guys didn’t win the auction… but you are winning at life, right?! :) I have one more semester of interior design school and wish I had a construction person to team up with. I’m excited to continue to follow your progress.

    • Thank you so much, Cindy! We were disappointed, as I’m sure the other two teams were as well. But it’s up to us what we do with our future, right?! Thank you for rooting us on! It definitely helps to have John around when I come up with a crazy design idea. He tells me whether or not we can structurally make it happen. Congrats to you– you are almost there! :)

New Look in the Master

Happy Friday!  I’ve got some fun updates for you guys!

A little awhile ago I told you we sold our master bedroom set.   We’d had it for several years and this furniture sort of fell into our laps, but the french style never really spoke to us.  It was really nice heavy furniture, so I think a part of us almost felt bad letting it go.   And that’s probably why we hung onto it as long as we did.  But, your home is a place where you should feel happy and comfortable, so we listed everything for sale and off it went!  I was so happy to see it go!

In case you’re new to the blog, here’s a shot of our old bedroom:

Please ignore that my bed isn't made! ;)

 

Our new furniture is more of a mix and match type of thing– a little more eclectic and a lot more us!   We wanted it to be a bit more moody and fun in here.

We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray.  It’s a warm gray- not too gray and not too tan.  We love this color!   The bed came from Wayfair- our ceilings are only 8 footers so we went with a low profile bed to keep from overpowering the room.   We also found an antique dresser at a yardsale for $40, and gave it a modern midcentury makeover.

Our little $15 thrift store end table makes the perfect retro night stand.

We snagged a new rug from RugsUSA a couple weeks ago (this one) and we love it!!  Having hardwoods throughout our home is a great feature, but we definitely need some rugs for a little more color and texture.  You can check out our living room rug here.  I love the pattern in this one, and the gray in the rug matches our wall paint perfectly.  Love when that happens. ;)

About a year ago we picked up the small retro mirrors on clearance at TJ Maxx for $25 for each set of 3.  When we saw them we just knew they’d be perfect for our master bedroom makeover.   I’m such a sucker for gold.  The curtains are also from TJ Maxx, at $30 a pair.  It’s tough to find 96″ curtains at TJ Maxx, so when we spotted these, we didn’t think twice!

One of my favorite things in this room is the addition of our new WallChamers elephant.  I mean seriously–  Elephant + White + Gold = Perfection.  There are several color combinations to choose from, and a HUGE part of me wanted black and gold, but we landed on white and gold for the versatility.

We even considered the moose or the bison, which are both equally just as bad a**, but opted for my favorite animal.  Gotta go with your gut!

The accent pillows are from Target, found on clearance for $6!

We are totally diggin’ our ‘new’ room.  It’s not quite complete yet, but close!  We just want to add a couple small pops of orange, maybe with a throw blanket or a little something for the nightstand.

Happy weekend friends!  What are your plans?!

~xo, Whitney

 

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15 responses to New Look in the Master


  1. JR

    what paint color did you use in the bedrom? great space!

    • Hi JR, the paint color is Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray. It’s a really nice warm color for a bedroom! We also used this color on the exterior of our house, and we love it! :)

  2. Jessika

    The new bedroom looks FAB! Especially the elephant!

    I really love your blog, post more please!!! :)

  3. You guys! This looks awesome – what a transformation from the previous look in this space. I love it so much! <3

  4. Marian

    Absolutely love it! Totally love it all!

  5. Pretty. I love the wall color, and those curtains are beautiful! And that dresser turned out so perfect!

  6. Finding 96″ curtains at TJMaxx is like finding a needle in a haystack. Great score!

  7. i want one of those wallcharmers for the nursery!! gah so cute. I love the new room. it it much more you! happy weekend gf!