Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephen and David St. Russell.
Stephen and David, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We met in the fall of 2008 when Stephen was starting his senior year of high school.
Three years later we moved into our very first apartment in the Boston neighborhood of Fenway. David had just completed his Masters and Stephen was two years into an Architecture Program.
We were ecstatic to finally share a home together (and with our puppy Dexter). The apartment was classic to the Fenway neighborhood: tiny kitchen, clawfoot tub, and coin-operated laundry. We loved it.
After the first year, we were notified that our rent would increase by $400/month. With our already expensive rent, high student loan payments, and a single income we felt that rent was the equivalent of putting our money into a paper shredder. We decided that we needed to act quickly and look for something to buy. It turns out, this decision is one of the best we have ever made.
We purchased our first home in Walpole MA and became frequent flyers on the commuter rail. The home had not been improved in decades, but it was livable. Over the next two years, the projects we undertook gave us the foundation of everything we know today.
Over the last 18 months, we have been restoring our current home, a Victorian in Dorchester. We pinch ourselves every day that we get to live in such a beautiful home. The result of years of hard work and a dash of luck.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We often discuss how we got where we are. We are both extremely motivated individuals with a common goal (even though we can’t always put the goal in words). We attribute much of our success to persistence and an ability to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. Every step of the way has presented us with a unique set of challenges and struggles.
When you look back at where you have been the challenges turn out to be your greatest points of pride. Home renovation is a continual learning process. We are still running to renovation projects that we have never done before. Luckily, a challenge doesn’t intimidate us. We get excited about learning a new skill, tool, or workflow!
Place St. Russell – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We purchase our 3rd and current home in May 2017. This project is certainly the largest undertaking we have ever had and so we decided to document the renovation process on Instagram. It started as a way to share the process with our close family and friends but has since grown into a larger community. We love being able to share what we know and learn from the Instagram DIY/Professional community.
That said, we are not a company (yet!). However, we love what we do, and being able to do that for others is a very exciting idea for us. We also know first hand how hard it can be to find reliable, high quality, professionals in the Boston area. We will just need to see where we go next!
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
We measure success by taking inventory of how much happiness we get from a project. Sometimes it’s the small things… like a window that now has trim.
And sometimes it’s larger… like hosting your closest friends and family in a home that now has walls. We have moments when we look at each other and our faces say, this was all worth it.
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- Instagram: place.st.russell