Sometimes you meet someone and think - they’re awesome! So much so - that you want to share your little corner of the Interweb with them!
So please meet my friend Teri Moore. An Interior Designer living in Nashville with her wife, daughter, two cats and two fish. She’s very funny, talented, extremely helpful and likes wine - I’ve already said she’s awesome!
I asked Teri what she was like growing up. “I was always one of those kids who wanted to be with adults. I craved attention from teachers, aunts, women in roles of authority my entire childhood. I abhorred being around people my own age. I have distinct memories of being forced to play with the other kids at social gatherings and thinking to myself that their conversations were so boring and remedial - AT AGE FIVE!
I think I came out of the womb as a 40-something.”
She went on to add: “Similarly, when the other girls my age were only focused on caring for their dolls, I was busy organizing and decorating my playhouse. No joke: I hung my first piece of framed artwork over the baby’s crib in my childhood playroom. I was probably six at the time and I found a hammer and a nail and installed it by myself.”
By the time Teri was in school she realized all the “good” TV came on during the day - when she was forced to be away - totally bored at school. “Learning came naturally for me. I was always the first to finish my lessons and the lack of stimuli really annoyed me. So I became very good at feigning illness.”
Teri and her older sister were latchkey kids because their parents worked two jobs. Teri often stayed home alone and spent her childhood “sick days” watching Martha Stewart, Christopher Lowell and Debbie Travis. “I baked myself cakes and pretended I was the head of the household. Have you ever known a child who spent her free time reorganizing the kitchen? No. Well, now you have! That was me!”
Teri can look back now on her early years and see she was destined to be a designer. At the time, however, it wasn’t her life’s passion. From the youngest age she’d always wanted to be a performer. From about 5th Grade she made a plan to become a stage actor and spent all of her free time working towards that goal. By 18, she was working as a professional actor and also teaching improvisation classes with a local group. She enrolled at Columbia College Chicago to study Theater but, only stayed a few weeks before having to leave and head back to Nashville to find a job due to finances.
At the same time, she began experiencing what she now knows were panic attacks. As her anxiety grew, she could no longer perform onstage.
“I would feel a shortness of breath - even at the thought of being in front of a crowd. By my early 20s, I’d stopped acting altogether and had taken a job as a Sales Director for a local publishing company. My sales career was a successful one, though short-lived.”
In 2007 Teri bought her first house: a 1920s Craftsman Bungalow in desperate need of repair and renovations. Shortly after she and her partner began working on it, the recession hit and Teri lost her corporate job. It would be three years before she was able to find steady employment.
Luckily, Teri had honed a lot of renovation and DIY skills during the remodeling of that first house. Thanks to knowledgeable retired contractors at the local hardware store and a plethora of up-and-coming DIY blogs, she was able to teach herself how to use both hand and power tools. Those skills sustained her life during her unemployment.
While Teri was still job hunting she had a brainstorm - she started walking up and down the alleys in her neighborhood looking for discarded, broken furniture.
In 2010, they’d sold that home and were living in an apartment; that didn’t really leave room for furniture refinishing projects. Teri took a job in Corporate Healthcare, she loathed the work both mentally and morally; but it allowed her to work from home. Because her panic attacks had become debilitating during her 20s, she couldn’t drive. As a result, she staying in that position for seven years! “To offset my boredom at work, my wife Christine and I began buying and renovating houses. We sold each house for a profit after the renovations. Once again, a lot of the work in each house was completed by us. Our friends and neighbors noticed that our homes were always beautifully designed and would ask for our decorating sources and contractors (spoiler: it was me!)”
She went on to say that for six years she assisted friends and family with renovations and designing their spaces. Still she never once considered doing this for a living. She didn’t think anyone would actually pay her for the work she was doing. After all, she had no formal education in design.
I asked Teri if this was when she made the leap and started T. Moore Home - she paused and said it’s wasn’t a direct route.
Teri openly shared her struggle after giving birth to their daughter. “After our daughter was born, I suffered a long bout of Postpartum Depression that kicked my anxiety into high gear. For nearly two years, I could barely leave our home at all without a panic attack. My mental health was in shambles and it was taking my marriage with it."
Finally in 2017 Teri sought help from a doctor who was able to differentiate her symptoms from Depression. The doctor immediately took her off her Depression medicine, diagnosed her with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and prescribed an SNRI (Serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor).
At that same time, the family moved into a home that didn’t need any renovations. However, their new next door neighbor had completely gutted his house after a fire and was in the beginning stages of renovation. After a few weeks of chatting casually about his design plans, he asked Teri to oversee the project as the Lead Designer. She was thrilled and shocked! “He wanted to pay me to do that thing I’d always just done for free!?!”
Within a month, Teri had gotten her business license, registered an LLC and built a website. Without even discussing it with her wife Christine, she began calculating business costs and building a new dream for herself.“It took me a while to feel confident enough to leave my corporate job and there are times when I still feel the pressure of running a business by myself and being solely responsible for producing income. But in 2018, I decided to focus all my energy on my business and left the corporate world behind.”
I complimented Teri telling her that not only did I love her design work but, that I am so impressed with her as a blogger. She offers a plethora of DIY knowledge along with information about websites and the back end of blogging to her readers. I asked her if she’s always had this easy I’m here to help philosophy. “Aw, thank you! That makes me feel so good! That’s exactly why I do it, I’m sure! I love praise at some inherent, visceral level. Ha! But seriously, I grew up in a house that wasn’t a home. I dreaded walking through the door every afternoon and I couldn’t wait to build my own life with a home that felt like a sanctuary for me.”
Teri went on to share: “In my adult life, I’ve extended that theory that everyone deserves a home that evokes solace through my business. However, I don’t believe that right is exclusive to those who have a lot of money. I keep my rates as low as I possibly can without bankrupting my family. Even then, I know the majority of people still can’t afford to hire someone to come make their homes beautiful. So I like to provide tips and tutorials for people so that they can experience the luxury of having a beautiful home, regardless of ability to pay for it.”
She went on to add that she’s going to her grave as a DIYer. She likes getting lost in a pile of scrap wood and coming out the other end with something she can be proud of. Since she’s doing the project anyway she muses: “Why not photograph them and let other people get inspired to tackle their own projects?” She did admit writing the blog is a ton of work and might stop some day. But, for now she’s enjoying it and while not massively financially rewarding, it makes her happy to do it.
I asked Teri what her goals were for the rest of 2019.
When I started my business, I was offering only eDesign services to nationwide clients. Slowly, the business has evolved and I’ve begun taking on more full-service, local design projects. My goal for 2019 is to shift the focus of my design work to 90% local design.
I also plan to open a very niche service that will assist in designing, organizing, and planning home offices for the large portion of Nashvillians who work from home. Working from home can be difficult without a good plan in place. Since I have so much experience with the ins and outs of telecommuting, I want to pass along my knowledge to those who find themselves in this lucky position.
On a more personal level, I want to simplify my life. The past few years have been really hectic. My work hours have been kind of crazy and I’m finally in a place with my business that makes a more traditional 40-hour work week feel achievable.
We recently moved back to our beloved neighborhood of East Nashville, where my home renovation journey began over 12 years ago and we bought a much smaller house. Our house is almost 100 years old and needs A LOT of work. While I’d really like to start tackling projects straight away, I want to take it all in first. I want to walk to the park with my wife and daughter; to enjoy evenings on the front porch with friends. I want to get back to living again. I love my business - I really do! - but I love my family and I’d love to see them more.
I want to share with you all that Teri is always accepting new design clients. Her phone consultations are free and all rates are posted on her website.
For free design tips and project ideas, everyone can follow the blog at T Moore Home.
Teri LOVES her Instagram family. She’s a huge fan of supporting other designers, bloggers (I can attest to this - she has shared me and her logo in my sidebar). Her actual family is also super funny, she shares a lot about her personal life in her Instagram Stories. Teri also looks to amplifying the voices of the undeserved communities worldwide. She offers mindful talk about many subjects the human race struggle with. Follow her here.
I hope you have enjoyed getting a peek at this talented lady - I’ve enjoyed introducing you!
Til next time friends!