Michelle Minner, the creative force behind the blog Blue Roof Cabin, has always loved DIY. When she discovered the world of DIY blogs online a few years ago, she had no idea how much that discovery was about to change her life.
“I discovered DIY blogs and it blew my mind,” she said. “I felt like I had found my people.”
After reading blogs for about a year, Michelle decided that she wanted to start a blog of her own so she could join link parties and share her projects with the rest of the DIY community. She named her blog Blue Roof Cabin, inspired by her home.
“My house has a blue roof,” she explained. “It was originally a catalog cabin and has been added on to. It’s been in my family forever.”
At that point, Blue Roof Cabin was primarily a blog about Michelle’s home and projects and upgrades that she did for the house.
“It’s the perfect house for me because it’s already quirky so I don’t have to worry about drilling or making holes in the walls. I’ve been able to pour my heart into it,” she said.
But it wasn’t long before Michelle realized that doing her DIYs part time wasn’t enough.
“I’ve always had a passion for DIY and when I discovered blogs and found all this free advice, it was great!” she said. “I knew I couldn’t do a nine to five that wasn’t creative anymore.”
So Michelle took a big risk. She quit her full-time job at a bank and started her own business refurbishing furniture.
“I thought I was going to build small furniture, but I started doing more painting and fixing up existing furniture.”
Michelle turned a free garage sale sofa into this beautiful piece.
Now, the majority of Michelle’s business is refurbishing and reupholstering furniture and sharing her projects on her blog. She does both custom pieces for clients and her own pieces that she sells in local stores on consignment. Michelle said that she enjoys making pieces that are all her own style to sell, but also loves working with clients.
“[With clients] usually I get to reinvent a family piece that they love. Something that belonged to the grandparents, or a piece that they found that they just really love,” Michelle explained.
To meet the growing demand for upholstery work, Michelle taught herself how to re-upholster. She started by taking chairs apart, putting them back together and watching online videos to see what she could have done differently. Learning to reupholster also meant that Michelle had to brush up her sewing skills.
“I’ve always sewn, but I didn’t have a lot of patience for it,” she said. “I started sewing more and more for upholstery and cushions.”
If she was going to keep doing upholstery work, Michelle knew she’d need a better sewing machine than the “$3 garage sale machine” she had been using to sew her upholstery weight fabrics. When looking for a heavy-duty sewing machine online she found the Sailrite Ultrafeed and how-to videos.
“Being a DIY person, I just really loved the videos,” she said.
Michelle said that she appreciated all the support she found for the Ultrafeed and the wealth of information about the machine that was available online.
“With another machine, there is no one to tell you how to use it,” she said. “I was really impressed with what there was available online [about the Ultrafeed].”
She ended up with the Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1, selecting it for it’s needle-positioning capability and has been thrilled with her choice.
“It’s been great! There was a learning curve, but you just have to use it,” she said. “Thick and thin it walks over it all, I barely have to adjust it.”
Her pride and joy, a custom faux mantel
As her business grows and evolves, Michelle still says that building is her first love. Although she doesn’t get much business for custom builds, she tries to make time to build for herself and shares her projects with her blog readers. Her favorite DIY project is a piece she designed and built herself—a faux mantle for her living room.
“I love it,” Michelle said. “It really gave a focal point to the living room.”
Her advice for current and aspiring DIYers is to “just try it.”
“Find an inexpensive piece of furniture and just try it. You have to do it to learn how to do it,” she said. “Don’t be afraid, it’s just furniture.”
Michelle still marvels at her unexpected path to success in a creative career.
“It’s funny how you keep going and you find your way with the business,” she said.
To learn more about Michelle and see more of her beautiful furniture pieces visit her blog, Blue Roof Cabin.