We can’t tell you how delighted we are to have the very talented Amy devers as our guest blogger today. If you don’t already recognize her from the slew of television shows she currently hosts or is a part of, or by her incredible talent designing and building furniture, you should–what can we say? The woman has serious talent (and she’s beautiful, witty, delightful…yes, we could keep going)! We asked her to tell us a bit about the evolution of herself. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Start with a happy childhood in Detroit-area Michigan, the offspring of an English professor and an accountant. Throw in a golden retriever, a green station-wagon and a healthy dose of rebellious teenage years, for good measure.
2. Add in a ton of college, work and life experience, including an AAS from F.I.T. in New York City, a month long road trip with two hilarious friends, a poverty- stricken stint in Orange County with four people living in a one bedroom apartment, an MA in Furniture Design from San Diego State University, attendance at more small venue indie-rock shows than can be counted or remembered, a job as a machine shop foreman, and an MFA in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design.
3. After grad school in Providence, move to Los Angeles, work as a finish carpenter and an art handler, then open a design/build studio. Do some big jobs and some unpleasant ones. Engage in the never-ending hustle for work of a freelancer.
4. When the handsome and talented musician you’ve been dating asks, say “yes.”
5. On a lark, answer a casting-call for a home-improvement show. Go to the audition with rhinestone safety glasses of your own creation.
6. Get the job and start hosting DIY to the Rescue, DIY Network’s flagship show that ends up filming over 100 episodes and is still airing today.
7. Figure out that while television is really hard work, it is also really fun and challenging. Consider that maybe you’d like to keep doing this. Acknowledge that it doesn’t hurt at all that the cast and crew is the motleyest bunch of golden-hearted, hardworking, professionals you could ever hope to party work with.
8. Flip-out with excitement when the network picks up your own furniture design show, Freeform Furniture, because now you’re going to be doing YOUR thing on tv (while still traveling to do DIY to the Rescue).
9. Get crushed from the experience. Due to your own ignorance about tv production, the production company’s ignorance about the process of original furniture design/construction, a lack of resources, a boatload of miscommunication, and a slew of unforeseen outside circumstances like record rainfall and a sieve-like studio, 112 degree temperatures inside the studio, toxic mold, etc. and despite top-notch backstage furniture help, behind-the-scenes the show is an utterly traumatic epic disaster. Console yourself with the pride of having created twenty-six good, hard-won episodes, and wine.
10. Be both terribly saddened and tremendously relieved when Freeform is cancelled (network says it’s “too niche”). Spend first few months catching up on lost sleep (you only slept about seventeen hours that year) and the next several years trying to regain love of furniture-making and salvaging health and marriage.
11. Keep hosting DIY to the Rescue, delighted that the series is now doing special episodes that include things like the rebuild of a home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the renovation of outdated dressing rooms at the historic Grand Ole Opry.
12. Host the first season of Blog Cabin, DIY Network’s interactive series about building a log cabin according to viewers’ choices and have the time of your life! Partly because it’s in the Smoky Mountains (best office ever,) partly because the crew and cast is awesome, and mostly because, for the first time, you’re allowed to just be yourself while the camera is rolling.
13. Realize that health is salvageable (no gluten! sleep!), but unfortunately marriage is not. Begin the most amicable divorce in history. Cry a lot, but to keep mascara camera-ready, stifle it until you are not shooting.
14. When Trading Spaces comes knocking, answer the door. Commence one year cycle of building-your-ass-off-with-a-gun-to-your-head-while-a-time-bomb-is-ticking. Sigh, because after grad school and Freeform Furniture, that sh*t is a piece of cake. What else you got?
15. In an effort to incorporate more design-related material into your tv work, court arts network Ovation, and end up with a hosting gig for two international design shows: Designer People (profiling the world’s leading designers in fashion, interiors, graphics, architecture and industrial design) and Designer Travel (profiling the world’s most creative cities through the eyes of it’s top creatives).
16. As the host of these programs, travel the world at warp-speed (thirteen cities on three different continents in thirty days) interviewing your idols rockstars of design, while wearing dresses and high heels. No tool belts! Engage in mass amounts of schlepping, hoisting, hauling, driving and changing clothes in the back of rental cars, and very minimal amounts of sleeping. It’s soooo worth it in order to tour the job site of the Metropol Parasol project with Juergen Mayer H! Or have a casual conversation with Marc Newson on his couch at his home in Paris! Or spend a couple of days with the absolutely legendary Zandra Rhodes! Michael Young, Marcel Wanders, Bjarke Ingels… love every single nano-second of it.
17. While waiting to find out if Designer People will get picked up for a future season, get tapped by A&E to be a host and designer on a new series, Fix This Yard. Begin two (+?) season cycle of working (hard) outside in the sunshine (and rain) with flowers (and bugs) and occasionally alligators. Laugh to yourself about how unpredictable the journey has been — how you were always taught to have a plan, but that you couldn’t have planned ANY of this, then pick up the shovel and get back to digging holes.
18. Meanwhile strike up a conversation with ReadyMade, that handsome magazine you’ve been eyeing for some time. Enjoy the instant chemistry and take them up on their offer to write an advice column in every issue. Get a kick out of solving readers’ dilemmas in written form.
19. Next, host a web-series launched in July called Urban-Eco, and teach people how to make homemade cheese, grow herbs and re-purpose their wine corks, among other totally useful and interesting bits of information.
20. The next steps are TBD as this project is still unfinished. However, they will probably include: designing, making, hosting, hustling, writing, trying to be a better cook, staying connected with friends and family, a few dating misadventures, hopefully a hypo-allergenic puppy, and a plan, even though it is understood that things will most likely not go according to that plan. Because plans, like pants, can always be changed, but you really shouldn’t leave the house without them.