With 70 photos (all of which you are going to be tempted to pin to your home board), today’s home tour is our biggest yet. While it might have made sense to deliver in deux parts, we had to keep this beauty together as one tour—a masterpiece from the wife/hubs, design/build duo that is Gather Projects. Fallon and Chris are so incredibly talented, as you’ll soon see after poring over these images by Rennai Hoefer. Not only do they run a successful biz together, they’re parents to four handsome boys, and they’ve been featured in HGTV magazine and on two HGTV episodes. So, cozy up, dive into the full tour, with beautiful staging from Lexi Grace Design and make sure to read every inspiring word of our interview with Gather Projects.
Tell us a bit about your story. What was your journey to becoming a builder and designer duo creating beautiful spaces?
Our journey started as we were first married and bought, gutted and renovated a home to live in. We loved working together through the process, dreaming up the spaces, and making it our own. Fast forward 15 years, 12 moves, 4 kids, 3 homes renovation companies, failures, successes and some huge life lessons later, here we are, living this design/build duo life together as Gather Projects. This duo has been something we have dreamed about since that first remodel. We gained so much experience, and have had some incredible opportunities, which have all helped push us towards our dream of stepping out together and starting Gather Projects.
What does the ‘Gather’ in Gather Projects mean to you?
For us, Gathering is the greatest gift a home offers. Whether that looks like gathering around a table for dinner, hosting friends, quiet conversations, movie nights, or neighborhood barbecues… they are the moments that make our lives more rich and joyful. A house provides a special place to come in, be known, heard, and loved. Creating spaces that offer that opportunity for others is the heart behind what we do and why we do it.
In a nutshell, what does your design/build process look like?
We use the tagline “Dream Build Gather” and in a nutshell, it’s as simple as that. We start by dreaming together before we ever make formal plans. What will the space feel like, who will live here (or who could we imagine living here if we are renovating to sell), how will they use this home, and how can we make it beautiful and flow well for their life. Fallon does the Interior design and Chris is the General contractor. Although we have separate roles, there is constant creative crossover during the entire process as we collaborate, encourage each other, and work together towards the same goal.
What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?
Hands down, seeing a home we have poured so much into creating, being lived in well. Because we do most of our work in our neighborhood, we LOVE that we have the opportunity to see our clients/new homeowners settling into our community. It is such a gift to us to be able to get a glimpse into their lives as they host friends and family, make dinners, enjoy their patios, decorate for a holidays…
You’re parents to four handsome little guys. What does your typical day look like and how do you juggle work and family life?
Wow, our days are definitely a constant juggle! Our boys and business are both ever changing and each day looks a little different. Typically, our days involve getting 3 of the boys off to 3 different schools. Our youngest is in part-time preschool and Fallon attempts to schedule design meetings and projects in those small windows of time. In reality, that often looks like having a ‘not so silent’ member at our planning meetings and a “special helper” at our job sites. Chris works full-time running our projects but is able to keep his schedule flexible so we can tag team between kids and work when needed. While we face inconsistency in our daily schedules, we try to reserve regular dinners together as a family. We go around the table doing our highs & lows of the day, which has become a sweet time of connection for our family. We also love going on adventures together as much as possible. Getting away from the busyness of daily life helps us all unplug, relax and enjoy our time together. Work hard, play hard.
Aside from those sweet boys, what is your proudest accomplishment?
We purchased Christophers’ grandparents home in 2012 and it ended up in HGTV magazine. What!!?? At that time, we would have laughed if you told us that was going to happen. We remodeled that 1950s ranch house very specifically for our life. Fallon was pregnant with our fourth child and we had just moved back to the neighborhood she grew up in. We had settled into a great community of friends and desired to create an open floorpan for entertaining, with a great front patio for gathering. We worked hard to plan through the flow of our life and created ways to minimize the never ending messes we always had piling up. We added a drop zone for shoes and backpacks, and desk for all that mail that always ended up on the kitchen counter, a large pantry (hello 4 boys)… and converted two bedrooms into a double bunk room.
Besides the obvious keepsake we have in those magazines (we may have bought out every local store) it was such an unexpected accomplishment to be featured in HGTV magazine and have others appreciate the finished project.
Meanwhile, we had recently started a home flipping company with our friends, called Rafterhouse. We were just starting to remodel more specialty flips in our neighborhood and ended up incorporating many aspects from our home into our designs. We incorporated things never typically found in flips at the time, like the drop zone, built in desk, and pantry’s with antique pantry doors ( thanks to the inspiration from our friends at Junk in the trunk Vintage market).
When the crew from HGTV came to photograph our house for the magazine, our business partner stopped by to say hi and half jokingly mentioned, “Hey, how do we get a show on HGTV?” Long story extremely short, that eventually led to the incredible opportunity of us filming 2 episodes for HGTV, which was another cherished moment in our lives.
What did that process look like, filming for HGTV?
Filming for HGTV was surreal, very fun and a lot of hard work! The process started with a producer at HGTV requesting a video of us, followed quickly by ordering a “Sizzle Reel,” which they flew into town over a weekend and filmed. Its basically a 3 minute snapshot video of our company and families. After they saw that, they ordered 1 Episode, followed by a second Episode, which each took about 12 weeks to complete. From the beginning conversations to the Airing date, it was about a 3 year process. It was long and definitely took a toll on our emotions, business plans, etc. Creating a show that the would be viewed by the general public was intimidating. Working and having conversations with a camera on us while trying to act naturally, wasn’t very natural. In order to stick to a tight filming schedule, we designed and built those two homes at a faster pace than we had ever done before. Our lives were turned a little upside down with the long hours and some all nighters. Designing and building homes was already a full time job, so adding filming was a stretch.
Although it was busy, we really had the best time filming! We were called “talent” which always made us giggle. Our favorite snacks and drinks were readily available and although it may sound silly, being in a season of life with 4 young boys, having snacks given to us all day long felt heavenly. We made some great relationships with the crew and still maintain them today. It kind of felt like being at a 12 week summer camp – there was just something special about all working tirelessly towards the same goal and wrapping at the end was such a victory.
Finally, we waited and waited for the show to air. We had no idea what was going to be included in a 30 minute show after 12 weeks of filming. We saw the show for the first time when it aired, in a room full of friends and family. We have such sweet memories of filming and a couple commemorative DVDs that we treasure.
What (if any) challenges did you encounter in your first year of business?
Our first year as Gather Projects definitely came with some challenges. It was our first time working exclusively together so defining expectations on our roles and deciding where design ends and building begins, took some work. Additionally, when we leave the office, and have to do our best to leave work at work. Transitioning between roles has taken discipline and continues to be something we have to guard well. It has been a journey, but we are loving the freedom of dreaming and working together.
What does a beautiful home mean to you and what is your number one tip for crafting a space you’ll love for years to come?
We think the true beauty in a home comes from its use and the memories made within its walls. One way we craft a home that will last for years to come is by keeping the main design timeless and being more creative with easily changed fixtures. Lights, mirrors, hardware… lets have some fun! In 10 years, if brass is so 2018, you can swap a few things out for a quick and more affordable update.
Instagram account(s) you’re currently crushing on:
deVOL Kitchens – so many moody, english farmhouse kitchens, cannot get enough!
Current favorite book and/or podcast:
3 apps you can’t live without:
Spotify for Music – we play it nonstop
Busybees Babysitting, which is a local babysitting app. Think Uber for babysitting with highly qualified babysitters. With our crazy schedules, it’s a lifesaver for meetings or date nights!
Goodnotes – We use it all the time for space planning and field notes
Favorite beats usually playing in the studio:
Chris would work to instrumental covers all day long but Fallon loves the 80s throwback or some quality 90s hits.