Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Two talented and resourceful ladies began a quest to do their own DIY work after the “experts” they hired to replace some flooring did incredibly unsatisfactory work. Tallahassee, Florida, mother Vicki and her daughter Steph felt competent enough to do most of the cosmetic work on the home Steph had purchased, including wallpaper removal, scrubbing kitchen cabinets and painting every wall and ceiling. They left the flooring replacement to the pros — and it didn’t go so well.
The last big project was rescreening Steph’s porch, but with the flooring debacle fresh in her mind, she couldn’t bring herself to hire out the job. Vicki recalled, “She had done her research and convinced me that we could actually DIY the porch screening ourselves. So we bought all the supplies and sure enough, we were successful!”
A Blog is Born
Steph (left) and her mom Vicki have been sharing DIY projects with homeowners since 2015, shown here filming an episode on paint pouring.
Partway through Steph’s research for the porch project, she commented to Vicki that she was unable to find any really good tutorial videos to help. Vicki off-handedly commented, “With your TV production background, you should make one.” Indeed, Steph has been producing videos since high school; in fact, she made a documentary for her Girl Scout Gold Award her senior year of high school. She later graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Television Production degree in 2008. Vicki brings years of hands-on experience to the table as a 10-year 4-H member, as well as earning a degree in Home Economics Education. And so, off they went!
Steph and Vicki have their vehicle loaded up after a trip for supplies to make an outdoor bench.
The ladies published their first YouTube video – “How to Rescreen a Porch” – on March 28, 2015. Four years later, DIY for Homeowners by Mother Daughter Projects YouTube channel has amassed more than 2.3 million views, and their Pinterest account has 1.6 million views each month. They are also popular contributors to Hometalk, a 15-million-member online DIY community with a mission to “empower every person to create the home they love.”
Vicki and Steph’s videos were originally based on things they needed done in their own homes. “Most of the projects were at my house as I was a new homeowner back then,” Steph said. “That is often still the case, like the melamine cover for my master bathroom tub. I had been wanting to do that, so we made a video of it and to our surprise, it has been well received as others have had the exact same need.”
5-in-1 garage storage unit + kiddie toy car garage
Steph and Vicki working on a partition wall DIY
They focus on four main DIY areas for homeowners: home maintenance, home improvement, home décor and home technology. Topics have included everything from outdoor tool storage to “bed in a box,” cleaning a clogged sink, garage pegboard, installing a window shade, and elevated dog feeder bowls. Their go-to tools? Orbital sander, mitersaw and drill. “And pretty much any number of the tools made by Dremel because we always seem to use one or more in each of our projects!” Vicki said.
Steph and Vicki celebrate after completing a full garage makeover complete with work and storage zones and space for a car.
Divide and Conquer
When Vicki and Steph began this journey, “making it a full-time business was not even a thought in our heads,” Steph said. But with multiple revenue streams and sponsorships with trusted brands, they now work side by side every day sharing new projects and tips for homeowners, releasing a new video every Wednesday. “We are still excited to wake up every day and get started on a new project. Each project allows us to learn new skills, work through obstacles and end with that great satisfactory feeling of ‘we made that!’”
Steph making a cut on the mitersaw
Sanding is a chore that Vicki enjoys.
Since they began, they each gravitated towards the tasks they most enjoyed. Steph prefers power tools and the technical aspects of a project, in addition to doing all of their filming and editing. Vicki said she really enjoys sanding. “I’ll sand all day until my hands give out!” They have streamlined their filming process by setting up multiple cameras, for instance, which allows them time to produce a video every week. Steph did a ton of research to find the best equipment for producing high-quality videos. “Although the first year, we only used an iPhone!” Vicki laughed.
Vicki eyeballs the placement of the cross bars on an A-frame display shelf while Steph attaches them.
“What We Learned”
Vicki and Steph want their videos to be very watchable “and not drag on.” In addition to keeping each episode short (usually between 5-10 minutes), they get to the point and move right into the how-to portion. They add a quick segment at the end of every video called “What We Learned.” “That’s been in our videos from day one!” Steph said. “We include the fails, surprises and successes. We share that as a way to set our viewers up for success. Too often projects are touted as quick and easy or cheap. We try to keep it real and dispel those common misconceptions about DIY projects, while still showing how fun and empowering they can be.”
Steph and Vicki know how to make working together fun and enjoyable.
When asked what dream project they would someday like to complete together, Vicki replied, “I’d love to build an angular gazebo in my backyard based on a plan I found in The Backyard Builder’s Book of Outdoor Building Projects from 1987. It’s so cool!”
Steph’s dream project: “I would like to buy land one day and build my dream house on it (which is really a dream workshop)!”
Vicki’s favorite project was hard to narrow down. “They are all our favorite in different ways, but if we had to pick one, I think we would say our first big woodworking project, which was a floating desk for Steph’s office. It was a huge learning experience for us.”
But what’s it really like to spend so much time together? Steph said she usually gets one of two reactions when she tells people what she does. “They either say, ‘I would love to be able to work with my mom like that’ or ‘I could never do that!’ But overall I love it. I try not to take it for granted and remember how fortunate I am to get to spend my days being creative and productive with my mom.”
Vicki agrees. “Steph continues to amaze me with her tech skills, creativity and commitment to be the best businesswoman she can be. She is very much the team member in charge and I am very happy to give her the space to flourish and grow.”
Clearly they share a mutual respect for each other. “And we know when to call it a day,” Vicki said. But the key ingredient that tells you they truly do enjoy each other’s company: “Lots and lots of laughter!”
All photos courtesy of DIY for Homeowners by Mother Daughter Projects (Steph & Vicki)
Vicki and Steph shared how they created this beautiful live edge sofa table in one of their videos.
Finding ways to spend time together isn't a problem for this mother and daughter duo. Being able to document their projects, energetically share with others and empower people to give it a try — it's all icing on the cake!
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