Sometimes following a dream means sleeping on the floor… the cold hard truth about living on creativity plus new house tour!

*This post contains affiliate links.


It’s taken awhile to write this, as nobody wants to say, “Hey guess what?  After 30 years I decided to sell all my belongings and move back in with my parents!” Um yeah..humiliating.

But, two years ago that’s  exactly what I did, I gave notice to my landlord, and moved out of a quaint beach cottage and into a sleeping bag.

I sold all of my things except my clothing and essentials which I kept in my parents garage.

Actually I do still have the sofa pictured here in this photo of my old house, I’m selling it, it’s in perfect condition, please contact me if you’re interested.

cottage del mar sofa

I feel like it’s time to share my story,  It might encourage you or it might be a cautionary tale let me know what you think in the comments.

I’ve had many dreams over the years, one was to open a world famous retail store! I did open my dream store, 20 years ago, it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long!

My shop has been featured in lots of Magazines like Coastal Living and Where Women Create. There have been days when customers have been lined up to shop and days when we have made zero dollars in sales.  I worked very hard to build my business and  I succeeded and failed many many times. Even today, after all this time, I’m writing this post on Christmas Eve and there have only been a handful of customers in the store. Christmas is not our busiest time of year, it’s actually our slow season. My store sells primarily furniture, paint and supplies.

I’ve tried many things to build my business, things like hosting monthly flea markets, teaching classes, renting space to other vendors, taking items on consignment and stocking my shop with goods that are manufactered as well as things that are handmade.

In the last decade as online shopping began to grow, it made sense that selling on the web had many advantages, like lower overhead and  a much wider customer reach.

In 2005 I launched my first website, and thanks to a feature article in Coastal Living, we had  lots of orders!  The online business eventually became stronger than the brick and mortar. This was great except that packing boxes and answering email was not my dream and I was really missing the creative part.


I have struggled with how to balance what I love to do with what I need to do to pay bills since the beginning of time. I’m a very determined girl but there have been many days of discouragement and complete burn-out.

Three years ago, on the day after Christmas I left a note on the door of my shop, it said, ” Closed until Jan 7th Happy New Year!”.   The end of the year is  a time to reflect and come up with new plans. I was thinking hard about change and I had just  watched a news segment about the power of  Youtube and how it could be a full time income. Enthusiastically I hoped that video would be a fun way to share my work, increase my revenue and drive business to my website.  I took that first week in January off to make as many Youtube videos as I could, using just my iPhone and a Gorilla Grip.  

Thankfully, people seemed to enjoy my content, and my Youtube channel started to grow!  I wanted to spend more time creating video but just one 5 minute project was taking 20 hours or more to produce.

Because my store  and online sales was still my main source of income. I was struggling to manage it all, and everything was suffering. I wanted to limit the time my shop was open down to 4 days a week, hoping that my customers would adjust so I could create video on the other days. This didn’t work.  I simply could not do both. My videos became increasingly popular, and the viewers asked for more content.  Youtube recommends at least 1 video a week to be favored in it’s algorithm but this seemed like the impossible dream. I would pull out the determination and crank out the videos for months on end until I crashed or something dire  at my shop would call me away. My store sales declined as  my subscriber count went up and the bills kept rolling in.  Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  I had to make a decision, close my shop or keep it open and move in with my parents.

Video was the most fulfilling thing I had ever tried, my life was a  wierd mix of excitment  and frustration as I struggled to support myself.  To many people, it might have seemed like things were great, lots of views, wonderful comments, requests to speak at conferences about how to run a successful business and emails form viewers telling me about their dreams asking if I could share some tips?

If If I closed my shop  I would have no place to stock paint or ship orders, and I missed my Mom.

The heavy work load kept me away, I was worried about her and I wanted to help, so the decision seemed clear.

The last two years have been crazy hard and so precious to me, My Mom is still fighting we are still praying, she almost died a year ago. I was able to spend time with her when she needed me most, a week on hospital cot next to her, begging God to let her live, very scary days but also some of the most beautiful moments i’ve ever had with her.

My mom is slowly improving and so is my business.

Sleeping on the floor motivated me to get up early and work late. Not having a bed helped me focus on what was really important  and allowed me to to turn my business into something that pays the bills and makes me happy.

I’m glad I stuck to the decision to make video a priority even though it meant sacrificing a lot of other things.   Doors have opened doors that would have been closed with out my video platform. I now have DIY Paint my own Paint brand and work with other small businesses who sell DIY paint across the country.

carnival red

The best part  of being a Youtuber, is the connection that you make with people that you might never meet otherwise.

Last month I moved  out of my parents house and into a new/old house, suddenly things that have been collecting dust in boxes are now happily hanging in my walk in closet!


The rest of the house is pretty much empty.


But, I’m very excited that it’s empty!



Because I have an idea!



I’m starting a new series on my Youtube channel! i’m going to furnish this entire house with things that are handmade, repurposed thrifted or found. I plan to paint walls, build furniture, sew curtains hunt for dishes and lamps, coffee tables etc, At the thrift store, and yard sales!


The only exception will be a new mattress, sheets and towels, because, bed bugs.

Even though this air mattress is heavenly compared to a sleeping bag, I’m really looking forward to getting a big fluffy bed!

There’s wood under the carpet, and the fridge is blocking my view of the pacific ocean, so there are a few design challenges to tackle.

I’m giving myself a year to complete the house. The first item is already finished,  if you missed it,  watch this video showing how I transformed this $20 velvet sofa with paint!

velvet sofa #1

Yes I painted it.

No it does not rub off on your clothes.

And it feels soft and velvety….

My previous post will answer every question you may have about painting upholstery.

Stay tuned for the house tour video, and help me decide what to do in the next project!

UPDATE here is the house tour video and slink to my Patreon profile, if you would like to find out more about my new video series, click here


As the end of the year is coming to a close I hope my story will encourage you to take more risks in 2016 and go after those dreams that you may have set aside because the sacrifice seems too overwhelming. The truth is I didn’t  really sacrifice much, they were just things in a box, I gained precious time with my family and perspective about what is worth working for. I’m blessed that I have a family that allowed me to chase my dreams. I challenge you to dust one of your dreams and consider running after it, because you can!

One more thing, if you are near San Diego, we are having a blow out day after Christmas sale!  Our garden is overflowing with tons of vintage furniture at slashed prices and DIY Paint will be 20{5e62096f11cd115efe5b7844d56c8a16bfa9fa0d3c0285231e5ea9c5a6d2e2c2} off for one day only!

Come join us for bargains galore, the paint bar will be open, free demos all day!

Click here to find out details!


Merry Christmas



Please share your hopes and plans for 2016 in the comments!


Follow Debi


Pin It on Pinterest