This week we’re doing something a little different! Camille Yameen is a homeowner who has been working on her home piece by piece. She sat down with us to talk about the challenges, learning curves, and joys of managing a full home renovation.

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Full Podcast Transcript

Grace Mase  00:08

Hello, and welcome to the Revivify Podcast. I'm your host, Grace Mase. We're speaking with a homeowner who's also a motivational speaker, who focuses on leadership: Camille Yameen.

Camille Yameen  00:21

Yep. Hello. Hey, Grace. Thanks for having me. It is so wonderful to be here.

Grace Mase  00:26

Well, thank you so much for taking your time, and I'm very fascinated with you. You've just recently bought a home, but I also understand you're also preparing for a wedding.

Camille Yameen  00:37

Yes, it has been a really big year for us, you know, we decided why not just get all the big life things out of the way at once? So we got engaged, started planning a wedding and then bought a house. And we truly, I was trying to delay buying a house for a while because it's a big financial investment. And when you're planning a wedding at the same time, that's a lot of commitment to make for your funds, and stress. You know why rush? It's been so funny, because as soon as we saw this home for sale, I said, “We need to go look at it, we have to go look at it.” And it's the first home that we looked at. And we made an offer the same day. So truly, it was meant to be. We closed on the house in March, and then we moved in in April. During that month, we started doing some smaller projects here and there, some painting, and a couple accent walls, and deciding what furniture we needed to buy to fill our space from our rental to the home. But some of the bigger projects that we talked about doing, we were planning to wait just a little bit and not be super rushed in putting them together and starting the process. Because our priority, of course, was getting married. We were set to get married in September of 2020. September 20th was our date. And you know, as the summer just started going along, we really, we took an inventory of our friends and our family and what we wanted out of our day. And it was really stressful trying to decide what's the right decision, and what do we do, and how do you navigate, and at what point do you decide to postpone or go forward or do uninvite people? So we decided really in July, we waited pretty much as long as possible. And in July, when things weren't looking too much better for the Midwest, where we're based, we decided you know what, let's postpone, let's not worry about it. And let's give our guests that experience that they're going to appreciate more next year. So since then, we have been devoting all of our energy into home projects. And it has been a challenge, but a welcomed challenge. So we're learning a lot along the way.

Grace Mase  02:36

I'm sorry you have to postpone it’s a big deal. It’s a big event. It's a big milestone, but at the same time doing things when you feel right. For your family and your friends, and it's meant to be a celebration versus feeling cautious and able to enjoy the fullest.

Camille Yameen  02:52

Yeah, it was a tough decision. But I'll tell you, as soon as we made the decision, we instantly felt better. Of course, you know, we were disappointed and sad, and there's a lot of work to work with your vendors and to pick a new date and things like that. But really, once we made the decision and told our family, and our bridal parties, and our best friends, everyone was incredibly supportive. So we knew we made the right decision for us. Every couple is different, but for us, we knew that that was the right path. So we felt incredibly supported, and now it's fun because we get to not show off, but show everyone what we're doing instead.

Grace Mase  03:26

I love the, actually, you're not alone, many homes, especially millennials, who are planning for weddings and have to really shuffle things around and rethink about things and what's important to them. And I love how you make that decision, ultimately, you're in control of the situation. And also shifting your focus on upgrading your home, which is still another extension of who you are as a married, or as a joint venture together. And to be in control. How's that make you feel, once you, like you mentioned, once you made your decision and the shifting your attitude, and also you feel so much lighter, but at the same time embarking on this, like, you know, some substantial projects, but ultimately is about helping you to gain that control again, right?

Camille Yameen  04:09

Yeah, you know, it really is. It's something that I don't know that we really recognized at first, as you're going through the process of being, let's say, a COVID couple or a COVID wedding. Everything's out of your control. Everybody's feeling that around the world right now. You can't travel and with questions with kids in schools, and everybody's working remotely. There's so many things just up in the air, and kind of up in happenstance right now, we don't know what to expect or what to happen. And for us as that related to wedding planning, it was getting really, really difficult for us to not be in control. When I'm pretty type A, so I like to be in control. I like a good list. I like checking things off. And having someone say, “Well, we just have to wait and see how it goes,” wasn't going well for us. We were having such a hard time being so close to the finish line for our wedding and not being able to have that control and know. So what we realized in planning projects, that is something that we can control, we can control the budget, to an extent, you know, things happen. But we can control the budget, we can control the materials, the design, and it's hands on. It has been an incredible outlet for us. And I know you've experienced that too, with the projects you've done at your home, but to be hands on and see something transformed right in front of you. Especially for us, because we're new, we're really new to DIY, but we're committed to learning and supporting each other through the process. So it's been really nice to gain some of that control back in our lives. And it's I think it's really benefiting our mental health, and it's certainly making our relationship stronger.

Grace Mase  05:40

Oh, that's so beautiful. I love that. Yeah. And I love how you're looking at it: attitude. And I think, no wonder this is also part of being a motivational speaker, understanding leadership, and understanding how to develop that healthy mental model to navigate through these kinds of challenges and uncertainties. How do you see some correlation between the two? How do you cross over and at some point, like you mentioned, your type A personality just takes over and you're just like, I got this?

Camille Yameen  06:10

Yeah, you know, it is a balance. There were so many days when we were upset, and when I would cry. And when we would just talk about how nervous or scared we were, how we didn't know what to do. And we really allowed ourselves the grace if you will, to feel our feelings about it, and to know that it's okay. It's okay that we feel upset. So as a COVID bride, you feel so much guilt. I think of you know, when it was towards the beginning, back in the spring, we had friends who were supposed to get married early summer, and they postponed their wedding, you know, back in May, let's put a July nuptial and we just thought, “Oh, thank goodness, we're not in that spot.” And then you feel guilty, that you're thinking that and your poor friends are having to go through it and don't really understand what it feels like until you're looking down the rabbit hole and having to decide for yourself, what are you going to do? So that made for a really interesting kind of shift. When we didn't, we thought we were late enough, we wouldn't have to make that decision. And then we did have to, but it is you know you have to give yourself the opportunity to feel any kind of way. And then we get to choose you know, you get to choose how you respond to your circumstances and feeling sad and upset does not feel good for us. It didn't feel good. We didn't want to sit in our sadness. We wanted to really take that time and make the most of it together. All right, if we don't have to worry about getting wed, or getting married right now and doing our wedding then let's do something else together to benefit the both of us, and let's try to learn something new. And we've certainly learned a lot about one another throughout this process. It is not perfect. It is certainly not perfect. My fiancee is incredible, and he is so good at teaching himself things. So we've had a lot of fun in the learning stages. But I am excited to see us come out on the other side of not only COVID and quarantine, but also just who we're going to be a year from now, seeing how our home has transformed and how that has transformed our relationship, in our lives and everything that we want to continue accomplishing together.

Grace Mase  08:10

So you talked about being a newbie, and how you overcome those. How did you manage those even negotiating all that: emotions, to decisions, to priorities? What was that going through your mind if you mind share with me?

Camille Yameen  08:23

We watch a lot of YouTube. We watch a lot of YouTube videos, they are, we Google a lot of things. We ask our friends and family who've done things to their homes before. We try to crowdsource as much as we can with the people who were close to us in our lives. We really had to humble ourselves before, because the first thing we did when we moved into our home was an accent wall in our bedroom. We wanted to do something really neat on the back wall. There's you know the trend of its board and batten but a more kind of funky design with some diagonals and making it kind of really cool for a headboard instead of putting a bunch of art behind your head. You put in this really cool textured wall and we had no idea how to use this saw. We didn't know how to use a nail gun, we had no clue. So I think we took like 10 trips to Menards for that project alone. But each step, you know, we just took it one step at a time, like what can we do today? What can we do tomorrow? And now if we were to complete that project, we could probably do it in two days. Whereas for that we'd never even fill the nail hole before. So really from the beginning. It took us a couple of weeks but it was interesting to watch ourselves really have to slow down and I took a lot of solace in all of the Instagram kind of DIY accounts that I started following for some inspiration. And they're, you know, regular people just like you know, just like me, they just did things because they thought it looked cool. So following their blogs and reading a lot, you know, Pinterest has good inspiration too. So finding some of those easy step by steps to follow, and we just took it one moment at a time together.

Grace Mase  10:06

That's good and it carved the space to allow yourself to just figure it out, or work it through, not necessarily to have to be perfect, or setting a certain standard. But just out of curiosity, I know some people when they go through these, you know, inspiration boards and so forth, they get excited, it's visually stunning, and it's exciting to see these eye candies. But was there any point where you feel like this is too much?

Camille Yameen  10:31

So yeah, there's definitely been a couple of times when we have said, “We are totally in over our heads.” There was one example, we were working on our guest bathroom upstairs, switching out the vanity from a pedestal sink to an actual vanity with doors. And we had to play with the plumbing a little bit, we weren't anticipating that, we thought it would be a perfect fit to put our new vanity where the other one was, and it would just be an easy connection. That was not the case, we had to take out some of the pipes and saw them, and go to the store and watch a lot of YouTube. And so that was definitely a little surprise there. But you know, we've also, we're not afraid to ask for the help when we need it. I think we try to get ourselves to the edge and say, okay, even though it's new, we can do this. And let's try to do it. And let's see, and if it's truly something that, you know, we're putting in electrical wiring in the basement, perhaps we want to call in an expert, and come and do it to make sure that we get these outlets going in correctly. So there's a balance and trying new things and really pushing yourself, and then also being able to say, “I think I need somebody else to come in here and make this happen.” So definitely, there's a fine line between the two.

Grace Mase  11:46

Absolutely. Well, just like anything, right, there's how you calibrate your expectations and how do you, but in this case, you're working with your fiance? How do you also work with him to calibrate his expectations along to match with yours?

Camille Yameen  12:00

Oh, my gosh, yes, a lot of active listening. So not just listening to your partner and saying, “Okay, yeah, I hear you”, but really actively taking the initiative to digest what they're saying through your ears. Like you have to hear it, and you know, he's got, he's got a vision for the house, too. It's not just me, because I have a Pinterest board. You know, he's got ideas, he's got a place that he wants to create for himself and for our family and for the life that we want together. So, it's really important that he has a strong voice in that. It's sort of a metaphor for our wedding, too. It's not just my wedding, it's our wedding. He has ideas for what he wants, and how he wants things to look. So it's important that I give him the space to express that and that he gives me the space to express what I'm seeking and what I'm looking for. So I definitely say, a lot of active listening. And we continue to ask each other questions about, you know, how we like things, or how we don't like things, I asked for feedback on really any project that he teaches me how to do. We're currently mudding the drywall in our basement. So anything that I do when I was first starting, I'd have him come take a look and say “Did I do okay? Do I need to do it differently? Should I change it?” And being able to be open to that feedback is really important too. But if you're going to ask for "did I do it right?", you need to be prepared in case the answer is “No.” Right, and not get upset about it and being open to making adjustments. But he's also incredibly patient and is a really good teacher, as he's teaching himself then he teaches me and that makes him better because he's having to explain the process, you know, to someone else. So see one do one, teach one. He's been really good about helping me.

Grace Mase  13:43

So when you're going through this planning phase, where you guys have very great open communications, active listening, and being very patient with each other, what were some things that you talked about like checklists, if you might just walk me through like how, even just embark on that wall or the bathroom and then down to the bathroom and in the basement? What was the process you guys went through together to kind of go through, alright, this is what we need. And even though you went through, you know, 20 trips to the hardware stores, but still even that is an important part of this planning process if you don’t mind just walking through that.

Camille Yameen  14:16

Yeah, sure. So I'd say for our bedroom accent wall, that's probably the easiest one because we really did that one fully together. We started talking about what our bedroom wanted to look like, what colors we wanted to do. And Dre, my fiance, loves navy blue, it is his ultimate favorite color. And I love that, I love navy blue. It's a great color, and he would be happy if everything was navy blue, navy blue curtains, navy blue rug, navy blue bedspreads. So we started talking through colors, and I started showing different examples of how we can use color in impactful ways. So I showed him some examples of this accent wall that I really liked the board and batten style. And I showed him some that were really funky and out there, and then some that were kind of standard more like the straight line or the grid, and said, you know, “what do you like?” So once we kind of settled on a style that we really liked, we started drawing out different ways that we could do the design. So together, we sketched different examples, and the design we ended up going with is actually his. So it's something that we were able to come up with together. And then, we sort of were reading blogs, listed out all the different materials that we would need, or thought that we thought we needed the first time around. And then, you know, we continued to add to that list. And then, like you said, we made a list of, okay, what do we need to do? We need to take all the outlet covers off the wall, we need to spackle and fill nail holes, we need to sand those down, then we need to paint and things like that. So really kind of itemizing the step by step for that specific project was really helpful. And we did, we wrote it down. We don't want to miss anything, especially being new. We don't want to screw anything up our first time, screw anything up beyond repair. But what I've realized is nothing is really beyond repair. So that's the good news. Yeah, so just really kind of writing down what those are, and then just checking things off, kind of one by one. And working together to accomplish checking in with him see what he's doing, see what I'm doing. We try to divide up the tasks a little bit so it's not just one person standing around watching the other person doing everything.

Grace Mase  16:17

I can, so they're definitely a situation where one person would check the list, make sure they're not wrong.

Camille Yameen  16:24

Oh my gosh, yeah, just standing there making sure the other person is doing it right.  

Grace Mase  16:29

I don't even know a good way to do that unless that's the preferred relationship management. But otherwise, it's hard to really collaborate that way. Yeah. While you're going through all this, were there moments where you say, oh, while we're doing this, we could also do that? Were there moments like those?

Camille Yameen  16:45

Oh, my gosh, yeah, it definitely, there's things that start adding on to it, you know, you change as you go, you try to. For the accent wall, for example, as you're, as you're nailing in the design with a nail gun, we realized some outlets and the window, were in our way. So we have to adapt as we go, you know, we weren't anticipating, oh, shoot, this is going to go exactly through the outlet. So now that's three more steps than just the one step that we thought it was going to be? Or how do we get this around the window? That's going to be a couple extra steps, too. So yeah, I definitely have to be adaptable, and not too married to any one specific design, because things happen along the way. And you've got to be a little bit flexible and knowing, okay, this is our plan for now. But this plan might change, because either we're going to get another great idea, or we didn't see something coming. And now we have to switch our entire idea.

Grace Mase  17:42

Well, I love how dynamic you guys are working together. This is just perfect in harmony. Really. Yeah. What were big surprises that you've gone through from the accent wall, bathroom, to the basement?

Camille Yameen  17:53

Mm hmm. Yeah, the biggest, I'd say in terms of our relationship and kind of communication style, I didn't realize really how much of a design eye Dre has. He's always pretty creative, and he enjoys that. But I didn't know that he was so passionate about how things were going to look in our home, I kind of thought he would put that on me and say like you pick the paint colors, but he really has a lot of ideas. So I would say that was one surprise, in terms of us working together that it wasn't just on me to put together patterns, it was also something he wanted to contribute to. But in terms of project wise, for our basement renovation that we've been working on, it's one of the reasons we bought this house is because the basement was unfinished. So we could put really our twist in our style on it and do that hands on together with the help of his family. And we did not anticipate needing to put in a dewatering system in our basement to prevent flooding. So that was an expense that we really didn't see coming. We got a lot of experts to come in, and we got I think six or seven different quotes from all kinds of different, you know, systems. Some people were experts in one dewatering system some in another, some in another. And so we really had to get all of our options kind of out there to see who we like the best? And who do we feel like would help us fulfill our style? And who wasn't taking advantage of us? Who did we feel like was giving us an honest estimate that it wasn't gonna overcharge or push us. And I think that's so hard for new homeowners, as you know, in picking the right contractor when we don't know a lot. We don't always know what to ask. So yeah, that was the biggest question.

Grace Mase  19:39

How was it that you've gone through the list of who's not gonna take advantage of you who you feel like understands what your needs are, understand the complexity associated with the basement situation that you guys are in? What is it that, I mean, it sounds like you guys had some set of criteria and how did you decide those criteria first, as you go along this process?

Camille Yameen  19:58

Yeah, that's a great question. First we didn't really know what we didn't know, because we didn't know it. So you kind of you kind of get better as you go along, which stinks a little bit, because then you're like, “Dang, why didn't I ask the first person this question that the sixth person just asked me”, so we bring people up for a second estimate. But really, we're looking for someone who was really empathetic to us being new homeowners. And but we're really gonna walk us through the process, we didn't want someone to just talk at us in jargon, and just give us all these words, we really wanted someone who was going to teach us why their system was the best and how it worked. So as you know, someone's coming in, if they're just throwing all this, this language at us, and we have to take even longer to ask, it's a little bit frustrating as a homeowner to know. I don't know what any of that means, and it just made me feel stupid, because I don't know what any of it means. So being able to have someone who walked in and really met us where we were, and explained was really important to us. And we also noticed a trend in some of the contractors, maybe were saying not very nice things about their competitors. And that's not really our style, I don't want to know why you don't like that other company, I want to know why we should pick you or why your system is better for us or something like that. So we noticed that as the process went along, that they would kind of name drop the other companies and why they didn't really like each other. So we didn't like that vibe, that would be a reason why we picked someone that would never be us. So again, looking for someone who can walk us through it, who has a good attitude about it for the right reason, and someone who was in our price range, and who we felt like was going to really honor our budget, and you didn't look at us and say, “Oh, you know, you only have this much allocated, that's not enough,” you know, but they were willing to work with us and say, “Okay, here's what we can do with that amount of money, this is a great investment of it, let's do this for now. And then you can do this down the road,” something like that.

Grace Mase  21:54

That sounds really reasonable. I really appreciate your approach more on the almost of you, if you will, a relationship, partnership, right, you're looking for someone who is willing to be a partner, be here for you, hold your hands when you need it, and help you to push you up. And you'll lift you up to say, “This is what makes sense, and let me help you strategize and break things out to multiple phases, if you'd like given the current budget, and this is the best option for now. And future phases, you can actually expand further out or, you know, prepare the project where you can say there's a way to scale this project accordingly.” Later, when you have, you know, able to continue, I love the attitude is a huge aspect and also willing to have the empathy to say, I get you. I know, you don't know what you don't know, which is legitimate, most of us don't know what we don't know until we stumble into it, or have to deal with it. And then going through that journey to be there for you to say, just like you mentioned, go where you are, and be there to work with you through the journey. And you know, just being a good partner. And that's what relationship is all about.

Camille Yameen  23:02

Yeah, it is a relationship for sure. For the contractor, think about it, you know, you're inviting someone into your home. Into this really intimate space where you live and where you build your relationship with your partner or with your kids or with your pets or whoever it might be. Where you host parties and, you know, birthdays, you're inviting someone into your space into your energy and into your life. Even if it's just for, you know, a weekend for a project or for a couple of hours, you want that to be a really good fit. And you know, we found a handyman locally that we really like, and he's come back 5, 6, 7 times to help us with little projects here and there for wiring in the basement to helping with some plumbing things, some pretty minor stuff, but he's been so great to have because we know we can count on him, we feel like we've got a good relationship with him, that he knows us, he knows our home, he knows where things are in the, you know, it's sort of like, he's figured out the nuances of our home. It's a little bit, it was built in the 70s. So now that he's seen, you know, kind of the nitty gritty of the basement before it was finished, he gets a little bit more about you knowing why we made certain design choices or why we did this and this and why we need to move the washer over. So it's been nice to foster that relationship as someone who we trust, who we know is going to be fair when they come over for a couple hours to do you know, five or six things with us.

Grace Mase  24:25

Right? And I think you touched on something really critical is trust. Having trust and someone who's there for you, who's doing the best, who's helping you to make the best decision you have built up from just like any relationship is built upon that foundation: Trust. You don't have trust you really don't have a whole lot of stuff.

Camille Yameen  24:44

Yeah, absolutely. And I want the contractors or whoever we work with to like their home and to like us and so when we had people we had the crew bringing in the dewatering system it was the owners or kind of the higher ups and then they had high school kids who were hauling the concrete. At least I assume they were high school, maybe college age, hauling the concrete in and out of the house. And you know, we offered them water, we offered them snacks we wanted people to like us! Like, “That was a really cool house, they were so nice.” We want to make a good experience for people when they come over once we decide to move forward with them. So it's kind of a silly thing, but we want people to enjoy working at our house.

Grace Mase  25:24

Just like you said, it's a partnership, it's not just them the partner with you is you partner with them, treat them like empathy, knowing that they're hauling concrete is heavy work is tiring. And you're going to say, hey, let me give me some snacks and give you some water. We'll just take a break, and we understand and you're there for them just as you were meeting them where they are.

Camille Yameen  25:43

Yeah, absolutely. So it's we kind of laugh about it, you know, it's like, it's kind of like a hotel, like a restaurant or a hotel or something you want people to recommend like ah, “The Simpsons want you to work for them. Okay, cool. You should go, they're great.”

Grace Mase  25:58

Well, actually just back into the topic of relationship, homeownership, and now here in the U.S. the average homeownership is about 20 years. And so given that history, you kind of want to spend just as much time you spend looking for a mate. And so why would you just run off some directory list and find someone who's cheapest? Who doesn't care about your work, I mean, end of the day if they care about you and your home, that would, you know, they'll do so much for you and they'll do the right thing for you. And that's the attitude that we really have and we serve to foster that relationship is about being human to each other being real considerate just as neighbors.

Camille Yameen  26:37

Yeah, absolutely. And someone who's going to respect your, not only boundaries of your home as a couple, you know, if you're having people and you don't want them wandering all over your home, but people will who understand it and have an interest and they, you know, they want to see the progress that you've made or why you made certain decisions. So while it's hard to find the right fit, sometimes of you know, who do we choose and everyone puts in a dewatering system, what's the best choice for us but once you make a decision, I think being certain in it that you made the right choice for who you bring into your home is really important. It's a huge piece of the puzzle that I think sometimes we don't put enough emphasis on as homeowners and we should, we should feel really good about the people that we're working with. It's important.

Grace Mase  27:22

Absolutely, because I've heard enough stories where the homeowner talks about, “Oh well we had the guy, the tile guy came in you know he was smoking. We really don't like him,” and the list goes on and then of course the project went away. And every time they come home and see something that reminds them of that moment and trigger that negative emotion. It's not fun, this is your home. You get to come home every day where you create memories with family, friends, and they have friends over and those are the moments you should celebrate. And should not be worried, almost like a little scab that's just barely dry, and then just see it immediately rip the scab off and yeah, all the emotion starts oozing out. It’s not pleasant!

Camille Yameen  28:02

Yeah, yeah, no, you hit the nail on the head for sure. That's yeah, that's a huge piece of it.

Grace Mase  28:08

Now let's just shift a moment, were there, you talk about the surprises, were there “Aha!” moments you just feel like: “Aha! This is it.”

Camille Yameen  28:17

I'd say we actually had one the other day when we finished all of our all of the big mudding projects in the basement. So you know, we got all the framing up, all the dry wall is installed, all the mudding, so now everything's really starting to take shape. And it's starting to look like a place that we're going to spend time and not just a place that we're going to go down and spend six hours you know working but like wow, we can really see ourselves making memories here. We can see ourselves watching football games with our friends and our neighbors and having Christmas here or whatever it might be. So I would say we definitely had one this week when Dre finished the drywall on the stair frame going down we had to put drywall on this diagonal down the stairs. And once that was up it really made us feel like”Okay, this is really coming together!” Just that small piece made a huge difference in closing off the basement and making it feel like a basement and not a construction zone so much.

Grace Mase  29:17

Right. Like really define the space. I mean, you can actually see it visually see your space coming together. That’s awesome, congrats! You know, those kinds of wins are huge, there’s some serious celebration there.

Camille Yameen  29:31

Oh, my gosh, yeah. You know, his, my future father in law was over this weekend and he asked us how many hours we thought we put into the basement so far. We can't even calculate it. I think it may be 350, I think it is kind of a ballpark we're at now and we still our goal is to be finished by the end of September. So by the end of next month, we want to be done, but at this point, we're putting 20 to 25 hours a week and after work down there each doing different projects. And so it's wild when you start seeing that is how much time, that's a part-time job.

Grace Mase  30:06

It is! But that's a labor of love, right? This is something you create that’s yours. That has your signature written all over it and you know exactly every, you know, section of the wall and how you texture it, and then how you make it work. It's really quite an accomplishment if you think about it.

Camille Yameen  30:25

Yeah, yeah, it is, it's fun to see how far we've come from when the day after we closed, we were here and Dre and his brother and his dad were ripping out the ceiling and you know, cleaning out the basement. So from you know, that first weekend in March, all the way through now, the whole space just looks completely different. Which it can feel, because you know, it just feels like you're never making any progress. At first, you're like, “I’m putting in so much time and like nothing is different!” And then all of a sudden, you're like, “Oh, it's been six months, and we have walls, and we're picking out carpet and we're looking at furniture.” So it's a good feeling now, we're really at the finish line. So we're just trying to get you know, the last leg of this marathon, done and under our belt so we can enjoy it.

Grace Mase  31:09

That's exciting. I'm excited for you guys, and I love the word you use “marathon” versus a sprint. And I know the early projects such as the wall and bathroom could be considered a sprint, when it comes to serious demolition, to walls and changing the complete configuration, that's a marathon and a marathon you kind of have to just keep going and going. And then that also ties into the emotional state where you are throughout the project during the six months. I'm sure there's some contradicting or contradictory emotions, you know, being excited but at the same time scared and being brave, but at the same time being afraid. Being creative but at the same time you start wondering if that would work?

Camille Yameen  31:48

Yep. I think at the beginning, it's the underlying tone of everything was, I hope I don't mess this up. I really hope I don't screw up. So and now I think we're at the point where we, since we know more we feel more confident in what we're doing. Certainly not experts, we're not being paid to do this, but, but we feel okay. Yeah, I know how to do this. If someone asked me or, you know, if someone on the street was like, do you know how to complete this? I would tell them? Yes, I did. So just feeling a little bit more secure and confident in our abilities to be you know, little DIYers has been, it's been nice to feel we're doing okay.

Grace Mase  32:26

That's awesome. As a homeowner having this emotion, I'll say emotional transformation. For something when you first started, there was definitely a scared and not sure. Yeah. Now to the point like, we got this. We know how to do this. Might not be perfect, but you know how to do it. And you know how to do it right.

Camille Yameen  32:47

Yeah, and I think there's so much fear in the financial uncertainty when you're starting DIY projects. Especially if you don't have any of the tools, or you don't know what you need. So seeing, oh, my gosh, I have to spend $100 on this, or $100 on this, or $200 on this. And it feels like it adds up. But gosh, if you're really committed to doing projects in your home, they’re such good investments, they’re things, they're things that you use every single day. But I'd say that too, one of the biggest question marks that we had was how much does it even cost to DIY? Like, what do we need? Outside of gallons of paint,  you know, and paint brushes, like what does it really mean to do this and to commit to you know, we bought a saw, now what?

Grace Mase  33:34

I love it, they talked about this is I mean ultimately, it's an investment. You're able to, by doing this, you have invested in yourself, your relationship with your fiance, and also invest in the home value, elevate your confidence level, and really bring you and Dre together much closer, and also at the same time, celebrate this signature home of yours.

Camille Yameen  33:57

Mm hmm. Yeah.  No, that's right. It has been really transformational in so many aspects, but also being able to, you know, really see, to see your partner discover something new about themselves, I think is really special. And when we first started, of course, Dre was nervous, just like I was nervous to, you know, use a drill. What does this even do? So, seeing our apprehension change into so much certainty and knowing I can install curtain rods, no problem, right? It's a huge thing to be able to do that. Or I can install new blinds or new fixtures or you know, switch out a fixture in the bathroom or things like that, seeing him achieve that and himself has been so special for me because it's a new hobby. It's seeing so much growth happen right before your very eyes and knowing that he's doing that to, not only maybe better himself, but also to challenge himself. And when you come out on the other side of it, it's just so nice and reassuring to be able to cheer your partner on. For me to cheer him on in that way, and to really uplift him when he completes projects. For him to cheer me on, when I completed the bathroom was so special, because I knew that he supported me just like he knows that I support him. And really gushing over, you know, “Wow, like you did all this drywall by yourself. That's incredible.” I don't know, if we could have done that six months ago. So I think you know, really investing in your partner in the way that you want to be invested in and celebrating their successes, the way that you want to be celebrated and recognized, I think is just for the betterment of your relationship. Being in it together truly and supporting each other from beginning, to middle, to end, and then any other details that you need to tie up because there's always something left.

Grace Mase  35:46

But I love it, this is actually true where you guys, it feels like every couple should do this. The beginning of, before they actually tie the knots really, right? So you really get to know the other person, you really are committed to be there for the other person as well as you're for yourself, invest all this together, your relationship, yourself, your home, building your future together. Truly started physically building your future together.

Camille Yameen  36:17

Yeah, absolutely. And I think too, when you're able to trust each other, knowing that is not going to be a perfect process. Of course, there's times when, you know, we get frustrated and, and we're mad, and we want to throw you know, the piece of wood down onto the ground, and we want to yell at it because it's not working, or won't hold or something, you know, nothing, no project is perfect, ever. No such thing as a perfect project. We are learning that really fast. But seeing it through, I think has been really, really good for us. And we kind of joke that we got the best pre marriage counseling out there, we got it from not only buying a home, it's a big step for someone, you know, going through that process and understanding financials, being able to communicate about money and things like that, but also going through a global pandemic, and now going through, you know, renovations and then postponing a wedding that we had already planned completely. So, you know, we're finding out a lot about ourselves and our relationship. But I think it's all been for the better. I'm really proud of how, how we're getting through it, and that I feel like our communication skills are so much better than they were a year ago. And I feel like we've always been pretty good at that. But being able to really say no, we've come a really, really long way since you know where we were 12 months ago, is pretty cool. So I'm excited for the next 12. And then the 12 after that, see how we continue to grow and change and transform as a unit, and individually.

Grace Mase  37:42

Yeah, that's beautiful. I mean, I think you talked about how, because of this project, you guys are pushed to the edge. And I think when you're in the moment at the edge where it’s so uncomfortable, you kind of have to redefine yourself, yeah, through that rebirth or whatever you want to call it, you actually find a new version of yourself, the new best version for yourself together, and kind of encourage each other along the way through that journey, and getting to the other side is really special. I love that!

Camille Yameen  38:14

Yeah, yeah, it is. And you know, each time that we do a project, we try to learn at least one new skill. So even if it's just something really small, like being able to tape before you paint, if you've never done it before, you know being able to do that, and then growing so then the next time, it's, you know, creating an accent wall the next time it's switching out a light fixture, things like that. So we try to do at least one new skill, so that we're not just repeating the same projects over and over and over again. But we're really pushing the design of our home, and our rooms and our spaces, but also ourselves, we're challenging ourselves to learn something, and then apply it, and then to celebrate it with each other. So that's definitely been fun. Once you know, when I changed out the light fixture in the bathroom, Dre didn't even know I was doing it. So for me to do it, and then surprise him with it was awesome. It was such a good feeling to be able to do that for him. And then the same thing for him when he's doing stuff in the basement. And he just built out all the corners in the walls and was able to show me you know how sharp they look and how nice they look. And I didn't know he was going to be doing that last night. So just things like that are pretty fun for us to really keep pushing ourselves and learn more about the process on purpose. You know, we don't want to just fall into everything but be really intentional with your projects and what you're trying to accomplish.

Grace Mase  39:32

I love these stories, just like you mentioned, intentionally delightful and doing not for yourself, but for another. They really want to create, transform these spaces as you go through the house. Yeah, it's for each other, and that's just absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing. The last question I have for you is what advice would you give to other homeowners who are interested in this type or just going through this journey?

Camille Yameen  39:57

Yeah, that is a good question. I would say advice that I have for homeowners embarking on the DIY sphere is to first to not be afraid to make a mistake. Because nothing is unfixable. Doesn't matter what you did. It's not unfixable. You can change, redo, call somebody who knows how to fix it. Even if you do something that feels terrible, there is someone who can help you always. So nothing is unfixable. And the next thing that I would say is, I think it's really important to have good expectations for the cost of things. It may not be like the fun side and talking about money. But I would say that a huge piece of it is being able to understand the budget side, and how much you're willing to spend on something. And then what that investment gets you so maybe it is an expensive tool. It's a new drill, but you're going to use that drill for the next ten, fifteen, twenty years, maybe who knows, as opposed to getting, you know, a $50, one that's going to break in six months. So I would say those are probably the two best pieces of advice that I can give someone who's new, who's new to the sphere.  

Grace Mase  41:07

Well, thank you so much. Camille, you share so much great wisdom. As you can see I was taking notes left and right, that I love how you, how you go through the process. And also just the willingness to try things so willing to fail and willing, but not take it as a failure. Failure is a negative association. But failure is an opportunity to learn and taking those moments of learning opportunity to actually expand to the next project, next efforts, and taking the next level up, which is really incredible. And I love that. Thank you so much.  

Camille Yameen  41:40

Yeah, well, thanks for the opportunity. And for everything that you're doing in the design sphere, you're so wonderful, I'm so grateful that I was able to chat with you. And I learned so much from you every time we talk and I can't wait to check out and finish your book.

Grace Mase  41:55

Well, I truly appreciate you taking the time, I know what you share with all of us will have a huge impact for many homeowners, as they're embarking on a project because it is scary. And for people who didn't spend seven years schooling to figure out how to do simple things like changing light bulbs, unfortunately, is daunting. And yeah, you realize, in reality is not that bad. You just go on. Try it. And also, like I mentioned, know your limits, no words, you need to seek out other professionals to help you to get things done. And also understand how do you calibrate what your needs are? And how to start finding the right person, a right partner to help you to expand that effort in a meaningful way that's respecting your needs, and at the same time willing to educate you and take you along the way of this journey.

Camille Yameen  42:45

Yeah, absolutely. I'm right there with you.

Grace Mase  42:48

Well, thank you so much for listening to this episode of Revivify podcast where we're speaking with Camille Yameen. I hope you enjoy hearing from Camille about all the how she took control of her life, pivoted and upgraded her home and her life, her journey through her home remodeling. We hope you enjoy her story and are inspired. Hopefully you'll take it to the next level as she did. Take control of your creativity during these uncertain times. We're committed to support you through your home improvement journey. Thanks for listening, and we look forward to seeing you next time.