by christina britt lewis
we got a whole lot of resumes after kelly's article.
resumes still work in some fields, i suppose...
but in creative fields, better to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
we have recently hired some seriously talented people we are PSYCHED about.
you already know kelly's story, here's how everyone else got the job...
tim and i met shelley at a party at my sister's house.
she told great stories and made us laugh.
her love for life and enthusiasm about all things totally won us over.
she is so much fun!
shelley emailed after she found and read our blog and said she loved what we do.
she is super successful in her nursing career and has some flexibility in her schedule.
shelley loves design, so offered to work for us for free to learn the business.
we did not let her work for free, but we were so impressed with the offer, we hired her.
kelly was shopping for bedding for a master bedroom.
well-meaning sales people often make suggestions when we are shopping.
for a designer, shopping is like doing a puzzle. it requires focus and concentration.
we have all of these pieces we need to put together to make a beautiful finished room.
sometimes we think we are just about done with our puzzle...
only to find we are missing a piece or a pillow sham. same thing.
suggestions are often distracting until maria came along.
she quickly put together a complete "plan b" bedding puzzle that impressed the heck out of kelly.
maria got the job before she even knew there was one.
she read kelly's article and filled out our redesign your career contact form.
kacie wrote about her passion for the non-profit she works for and her life-long love of design.
she said, "you might not know it yet, but you're my kind of people...
i read pages and pages of your blog and felt like i knew you all...
like we were long-time friends (well, minus the part about the patriots...i'm a steelers fan!)"
she was wrong. i knew it already. i knew it when she answered "what stops you from starting?" with..
"the only thing that stops me is myself."
people who get that we are our own problem and we are our own solution are our kind of people.
she sent a link to her brilliantly named blog, changingchaney.com and we were hooked.
we are not the only smitten ones, today was kacie's first installation day...
and it also happens to be the day apartment therapy featured her own kitchen redesign!!
design and photos by kacie johnson
so how to set yourself apart from the resume writers...
invite people over.
connect with people. in real life. beyond social media. ask questions. be curious.
kitchen table conversations change the world.
we hired kelly, shelley, and wound up on tv all because of kitchen table conversations.
find the beauty in what you do.
be successful at what you are already doing.
maria wowed kelly by excelling at the work she was already doing.
no job is fun all of the time. doing what you love is the hardest work you will ever do.
being a person who finds the beauty in everything makes you irresistible.
flattery gets you everywhere.
express sincere gratitude for the work of the company you hope to work for.
send an email and give specific examples.
repost something and tag the company. it will be noticed.
write a compelling story.
people fall a little bit in love with anybody who moves their soul with a good story.
send the email you keep thinking about. tell your story. but remember that brevity is the soul of wit.
don't ask for anything right away.
"just want you to know i think you're awesome."
will get you a whole lot farther than,
"just want to meet you for coffee to pick your brain."
if you succeed at building a relationship, you will never even need to ask "are you hiring?"
send a thank you note.
or, you know, cupcakes.
fun people want to work with fun people.
don't take everything so seriously. in a creative field, don't worry about your qualifications.
we were not hiring, but then, the right people came along. fun people.
just be you.
and so you know... i am not going anywhere.
tim and i did not decide to start all over again. again. and move to saba. yet...
but kelly and i ARE going to san francisco to redesign a home next month.
we are redesigning all over the country these days and just had to turn down a project in china!
so we found super talented help on the home front to keep the wait in charlotte to a minimum...
and so the next time china calls, we can go!
kelly will still run things 'round here and i will still lead the design on every project.
you will meet with me because i love you guys and meeting you and getting to know you is everything.
your happiness will always be the most important thing to us.
and we know that these fresh eyes and fun people will make happy homes happen more than before.
just you wait. (but for a shorter time now ;-)
shelley, kelly, kacie, and christina
(maria coming soon)
by christina britt lewis
Back before the election, friends of ours came over for dinner.
There was candlelight, chicken marsala, cheap red wine, and the avett brothers.
But more importantly,
there was a kitchen table conversation that changed the world...
Jalaybrian and his grandparents, William and Susan Black
Jalaybrian was born with microcephaly, a rare life-long neurological condition with no cure. He cannot walk or talk. He cannot give hugs or say thank you's out loud, but you cannot miss the light and love and in his eyes. He was not expected to see or hear or live for more than a year. Well... that little man can see and hear just fine. He is so very full of life that he shines like stars in the universe.
Jalaybrian is 4 years old and lives with his grandma and grandpa in a cute little house with an attached garage and upstairs bedrooms. Every day and every night Susan and William have been carrying their growing grandson up and down the stairs. There was no room on the first floor for his hospital bed and all of his medical equipment. Their hope was to redesign their garage to make a room for Jalaybrian on the first floor. While they were waiting to hear if their garage redesign would be covered, Tim and I were waiting to hear if HGTV would pick up our show redesigning garages. We all did not get what we hoped for so desperately.
Sometimes when you think you lost, you won.
Not long after all of that, our friends came over for dinner, friends who knew us when. The ones who believe in you before you believe in yourself...they make you who you are. Keep those people. If you've lost them, find them. Work out any differences. Agree to disagree. Never walk away from the ones who believe in you first. To the rest of the world you smile and say "it was an honor to be nominated" but to the ones who knew you when, you say "this sucks, I suck, it all sucks..." and they roll their eyes and say something like "get over yourself, I know a garage that needs a redesign, some people have REAL problems, ya know" or something equally profound and life-changing.
And that's pretty much how it all went down. Next thing we knew, sweet Susan called and invited me over. When she welcomed me into her home and introduced me to Jalaybrian, there was no turning back. I heard myself saying things like "we got this" before I had any idea how exactly we were going to "got this." But here's the thing...
We the people rise up.
That's what we the people do. We were uniquely qualified to meet this specific need. Redesigning a garage is the thing our little company was almost famous for. We were going to help this family no matter what and every time we say "yes" to making the world a better place before we have the funds, people rise up.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Everything in us wanted to just do this quietly and anonymously by ourselves. But putting the idea out there meant that others could join us in our mission and together we could create the world we want. Sometimes something comes along and you know down deep in your soul, you are supposed to do it.
Something that feels bigger than you,
and kind of impossible.
You might call it the universe speaking,
or the result of every decision you ever made,
or a calling from God,
or giving to the greater good...
it's all the same.
We have to listen to that still, small voice inside of us.
We gotta give when the spirit says give.
When I met Jalaybrian, unexpected tears fell.
I've learned to listen...
Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears,
it is well to pay the closest attention.
They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are,
but more often than not God is speaking to you through them
of the mystery of where you have come from
and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go next. - Frederick Buechner
Not too long ago, things were really hard for us. We know what if feels like to work hard and still need help. We promised ourselves that when we succeeded at making our dreams come true we would spend our lives helping other people make their dreams come true.
When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through the doorway of opportunity...
you do not slam it shut behind you...
You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. - Michelle Obama
We started a Gofundme campaign and we the people gave. We raised half of our goal in one day. People from every political persuasion came together to make the world a more beautiful place for this family. United in our diversity. Better together. Working for the greater good. This is what happens when people refuse to feel powerless and choose to change the world...
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek.
- Barack Obama
Refuse to feel powerless.
Sometimes when we think we lost, we won.
We are who we are not because everything came easily.
We are who we are because of everything we had to overcome.
Creativity comes from frustration with the way things are, when we so choose.
Do something. You don't even have to leave your home to change the world for somebody.
We live in the time of Gofundme.
We can give directly to people now. Like right now. Like from our computers.
Read the stories and pay attention when unexpected tears come.
What moves your soul is different than what moves my soul.
We need all of us.
We can make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
We are powerful. We can use our power for good.
Every dollar matters. $5 bought books for Jalaybrian. $5 matters.
You have the power to change the world, one person at a time.
Go where your unexpected tears take you.
The fun part is, you get more than you give. It's actually sort of selfish, in a way.
If you want to be happy, make other people happy.
Happiness is contagious.
Use power to help people.
For we are given power not to advance our own purposes
nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name.
There is but one just use of power and it is to serve people.
- George W. Bush
We can serve people with more than money.
We can give our time. Our friendship. Our love...
Invite people over. Light candles. Make spaghetti. Fancy is fussy. Forget fancy.
Kitchen table conversations change the world.
If all of your friends think and vote and pray just like you do, you need some new friends.
Welcome people into your life and home who think differently.
Ask questions. Listen more than you talk. Seek and find how you are the same.
Discover why they think and vote and pray the way they do. Listen.
You don't always have to say what you think back. You can just listen and pass the garlic bread.
Give up the right to be right for the sake of relationship.
Feeling powerless does not change the world.
Deciding everything is hard and not worth the effort does not change the world.
Lying on your sofa and watching tv every night does not change the world.
Reposting on Facebook and not calling your senator does not change the world.
Complaining to your friend and not doing something about it does not change the world.
We the people have the power to make ideas a reality.
We the people have the power to make dreams come true.
We the people have the power to create the world we want.
We are the boss of us. We are. No pastor, priest, or president controls our souls.
No man can save us. No man can enslave us.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Time to save ourselves.
We got this.
We are so blessed, and yet I feel for those others who have needs.
I wish there come a day when our hearts outweigh our differences.
- William Black
with so much love and gratitude,
Tim and Christina for all of these world changers...
thank you for inspiring us all
Susan and Wiliam Black...
thank you for inviting us into your home, speaking wisdom, and becoming our friends
To all who donated...
thank you for proving we the people have the power to create the world we want
thank you for always saying "we got this" and always making everything better
Amy and Lance Murphy...
thank you for giving us the answers to all of life's questions #askamy
William "Uncle Bill" and Leena Britt...
thank you for proving that marriage is fun and there is always a way
Jason Wishnefsky and Kendrick Williams...
Carolinas Handling Company
thank you for making us laugh and being our heroes
Buffington Home Improvements
thank you for going above and beyond and exceeding every expectation
Dee and Denny Castillo...
Quality Air of the Carolinas
thank you for making air cleaner and being our HVAC angels
John and Linda Gromko...
thank you for making me who I am and teaching me to see the beauty in everything
Cole and Camden Lewis...
thank you for showing us the light and for being our greatest contribution to the world
FOX 46 Charlotte
thank you for thinking our story worthy and telling it so beautifully
watch the BIG REVEAL on FOX 46 Charlotte news...
Strangers get results for young boy with microcephaly
by Kayla Ayres
by christina britt lewis
it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
best way we know to have calm in your heart is to have calm in your home...
peace is notsomuch the absence of struggle,
but the presence of love.
and maybe a hanging chair in your bedroom.
christina for all
take your home from cold to cozy...
the mirror and art they already had work beautifully with these one-of-a-kind baskets, woven by african craftspeople, to create a full and fun gallery wall. the baskets bring texture and coziness to the room and support a great cause...
"The majority of these weavers are women, working to support themselves and their families. By weaving baskets in the traditional manner, the weavers of Africa are preserving their cultural heritage as well as advancing themselves financially....
We are members of the Fair Trade Federation, an organization that shares our strong belief that indigenous people around the world should be compensated fairly for their amazing work...
We feel that our business offers our customers a win-win situation: by purchasing one of our rare finds, you are not only getting a wonderful, handmade basket for your home... you are also contributing to the preservation of African culture and helping a craftsperson become financially independent. It's a true economic partnership in every sense of the word."
kicking off your shoes,
pouring a glass of wine,
putting your feet up,
talking with the ones you love,
knowing you used your moolah to make the world a more beautiful place.
what are you waiting for?
make all be well with your soul.
christina for all
by christina britt lewis
another magazine wanted to photograph and publish our garage teen cave a little too late.
we redesigned it into a gym for camden who is currently ranked the #2 2019 kicker in the nation.
here he is kicking a 51 yard field goal, breaking the jv school record...
camden is the most driven and determined person we know.
and nobody exudes more joie de vivre and charisma than cole.
our almost all grown up boys are our favorite people.
fear not, moms and dads of little ones.
refuse to believe the lie that all teenagers despise and disrespect parents.
believing that lie is self-fulfilling prophecy.
parenting is funny.
you do the best you can. you think it matters so much. you read all the books. you try so hard.
but in the end, they are who they are. we all are.
stop being so hard on yourself when all does not go well.
all always goes well for nobody.
stop feeling so proud of yourself if yours are early to walk, talk, or get college acceptance letters.
we wasted too much energy trying to get one to be more serious and the other to be less serious.
the thing we thought was their weakness, was really their strength. their gift. their superpower.
parenting got a whole lot easier for us when we decided to set them free to be who they are.
freedom to choose
freedom to question
freedom to fail
freedom to disagree
freedom to fear not...
stop coaching and start cheering.
be their biggest fan.
find and name their strengths. look for reasons to celebrate.
shout it from your rooftop when they use their power for good.
whisper kindly when they misuse their power.
never ever ever embarrass them.
my parents have always been cool. my home was where my friends wanted to be.
make your kids proud and they will want to make you proud.
my mom recently found this letter i wrote to her when i was pregnant with cole...
here is what we learned the hard way...
they learn best by example. and they know. kids know. remember?
they know us better than anybody.
who they think we are is usually who we really are.
spend more energy being who you want them to be rather than insisting they be who you want them to be.
problems get solved when we focus on fixing ourselves rather than fixing other people.
sometimes the best thing thing you can do for your kids is to go away for a weekend without them.
here is what we learned the easy way...
when your first born moves off campus and takes his bed with him,
turn his room into the best room in the house and he will come back to visit you often...
...camden's jersey collection in ikea frames.
west elm sectional with back cushions that lift right off and turn it into a big comfy bed.
tim's mom saved all of his star wars figures and his entire smurf collection.
those are some 40 year old toys right there...
camden did not start kicking footballs until last year.
he was a soccer goalkeeper like his father and his big brother.
tim waited in a wicked long line to have adam vinatieri sign this football when camden was a baby.
we kind of forgot about it until he started kicking.
found it in the attic and gave it to him for his 16th birthday.
some things feel like they were just meant to be.
trail maps from mountains we have conquered in ikea frames make fun cheap art.
my boys now play my mom's guitar...
original art by kent youngstrom...
or "one of the few things i would grab if there was a fire"...
christina for all