Taking on your first fixer-upper can be daunting process, even for a designer like moi. You never know exactly what you’ll find when you start knocking down walls, and you have to live in the construction chaos. Now that the major kitchen demolition is behind us, I’m feeling much better, but it was not without some kindness from the charming Erin Francois of Francios et Moi.
I connected with Minneapolis-based blogger, Erin on Instagram where I discovered her and her hubby had just renovated a 1930’s bungalow of their own. I reached out to Erin to see if she’d be willing to share some of their trials and tribulations based on the renovation experience. Erin answered my many questions, and of course, we hit it off on that first phone call and have collaborated several times since then!
Did you see our posts about the best places to shop for vintage and thrift in MN and Chicago?
What I love most about Erin are her practical design mottos, Handmade Modern Home and Love your Home through DIY. She offers the most fabulous, current and do-able DIY projects on her website. One of my favorites is THIS guide to power tools that every person should know.
Here is Erin’s interview, Women Who MAKE: Francois et Moi. Enjoy! And see Erin’s HOME TOUR for more pretty pictures.
What is Your First Memory of Being Creative?
I’ve been attempting to make things for as long as I can remember. But my first faint DIY memory was around age 7, involving a hot glue gun, some dried flowers (from my mother’s craft supplies), and a large brim straw sun hat that I felt needed embellishment. My mom is also very much into crafting, sewing, etc., so there was always supplies close at hand for me to experiment with.
How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business / full time blogger?
More than anything my interior design education and industry work experience has given me the confidence to trust my design eye, make gut decisions on the fly, and to put myself and my work out for the world to see.
Tell us about the process of launching your blog? Best parts? Biggest challenges?
I launched my blog at the end of 2012, as a casual creative outlet and a way to keep in touch with far away family, not really knowing where it would lead. As my DIY projects started gaining traction, I began to realize that my creative hobby, could potentially become something more. So about a year into blogging, François et Moi began to take on a much stronger focus on home DIY.
My biggest challenge came when I realized I wanted to turn blogging and freelance writing into a full-time hustle. At that point, I knew I’d need to build up my email list, pageviews, and social media following, as well as my freelance client base before I could even think about leaving my day job. I sprinted like crazy for the next year, spending early mornings, evenings, and entire weekends (basically anytime I wasn’t at work) blogging and creating content for other brands. I finally made the leap last fall, and it’s been an exciting ride to say the least! Striking out on my own hasn’t been without its challenges, but it’s also more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why?
My favorite part of the creative process is seeing an idea or project come to life, after lots of hard work, planning, ideating, and creating.
Nothing is more inspiring to me than experiencing a thoughtfully designed and styled interior space with unexpected details. I can’t help but go into sensory overload taking in every detail and cataloging DIY and design ideas for future projects.
What is the best advice you have for other DIY enthusiasts?
If you haven’t explored the world of power tools yet, give them a try! They’ll drastically open up the range and quality of DIY projects you can create for your home….a.k.a furniture and accessories!
Do you have a design philosophy, and if so, what is it?
I strive to create handmade pieces for the home, through DIY tutorials, that add originality, beauty and functionality to our everyday. François et Moi is a creative online space dedicated to helping others love their homes through DIY.
Imagine your business in five years. How would you like it to grow?
I hope to continue growing the François et Moi community, outreach, and relevancy through exploring new ways of communicating and connecting with readers. I also hope to be in a place where I can focus a bit more of my efforts on François et Moi and a bit less on the freelance portion of my business.
You recently launched a shop on your site, congrats! What are you offering and do you have a most popular item?
I offer indigo hand-dyed tea towels in my online shop, and I also sell mud cloth and batik pillows locally at Ciel Loft & Home here in Minneapolis. Much to my surprise, the Hmong Batik pillows have been the most popular item.
What do you enjoy most about the creative community in MPLS?
I’m continually blown away at how kind and giving the creative community is here in Minneapolis. There’s such a willingness to share knowledge and help one another. I feel lucky to live in such an abundantly generous and creative city. You know that phrase, ‘Minnesota Nice’? It’s a real thing.
Centered By Design is my business name, but it’s also the idea that we can find a bit of sanctuary each day through design, that good design can center us and make us feel great. Does your design process center you in any way? If so, how?
I love the idea that with our own two hands, we have the ability to make pieces for our homes which help to tell our unique stories, define our personal styles, and feel connected and centered in our surroundings.
Erin’s Mpls Favorites:
Photo credits to Eliesa Johnson and Erin Francois.
Thanks for sharing with us today Erin! Next month, it’s all about back to school and we’re featuring some kiddos too. Tag your creative endeavors #womenwhomake and #handmademodernhome to inspire this community of makers, shakers, and DIY enthusiasts.
XOXO – CLAIRE
Claire’s creative energy comes from her unique perspective on the world as both a trained interior designer and a passionate yoga teacher. Her affinity for kitchen design, timeless style and eclectic decorating are shared here, along with lots of interior design education and tips. Thanks for being here, please enjoy!