Meet Rebekah Higgs a.k.a DIY MOM. Rebekah is an expert in home renovations both personally and professionally. She has inspired others to not be intimidated by trying out DIY projects in their own homes. We caught up with Rebekah recently to check out her latest house renovation project and ask her some questions about her style, DIY projects and design aesthetic.
Did you go to school for interior design? Tell us about your background.
R: I’ve always enjoyed making spaces beautiful. When I was a child my parents were frequently fixing up our homes and decorating them with DIY thrifty ideas. I learnt ingenuity and resourcefulness from them. In university they nicknamed me the trailer park Martha Stewart because I would take bed sheets and turn them into curtains and throw an electric circus party by hanging black garbage bags on the wall. When I started DIY MOM my daughter was an infant and I took on small projects that I could do while she was napping. As my daughter has grown, so have my design skills. Now 9 years and 3 major home renovations later, I’m working with a number of clients on designing and renovating their spaces. So I guess you might say I’m self taught.
Tell us a little bit about your first DIY project!
R: I think the first big DIY project I did that involved power tools, was building a bed frame from old doors. I got the doors from an old building in downtown Dartmouth that I was helping some young adults fix up. I took the doors and created a king bed frame. This was my first bed frame too, as I think I only had box springs and mattresses before then.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
R: I think the reason I like renovations so much is because I have to work within the constraints of the home. So I think my style changes with every project based on what suits the house. For instance I’m in a craftsman style home now, but before this I was in a mid-century modern bungalow. I would say the designs of these homes are completely different but the colour pallet is similar. I love tone on tone, texture, soft neutrals and pastel pinks and greens. I enjoy wallpaper and unique art. Plants and heirlooms. I use my instruments as art pieces, collect old things and gravitate towards warm golds and brass.
What is your everyday fashion work uniform?
R: I love a good pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Often if I’m dressing up to meet a client I throw a blazer over my t-shirt and jeans. When I am doing a DIY project I just take off my blazer and mess up my jeans. Everything I wear is collateral damage when I get pulled into a reno project.
Photo by Anna Gilkerson
What does the relationship between sustainability and interior design mean for you?
R: When I renovate an old home I try to restore and reuse everything and anything I can. It’s important to me to preserve the history and the character of a home. To respect the craft of those that were built before me. For instance in my new reno I reused all the old doors and trim, it took longer and more skilled carpenters to reuse the old verses bringing in new trim, but the result is a warm and homey vibe. I also restored and reinstalled the original clawfoot tub from my 1922 home. They don’t make them like they used to!