While I am known for many things, do-it-yourself projects -- aka the ubiquitous DIYs -- are not something that will ever go down in the history books as my expertise. That is exactly why it is important to have good friends like Carter Oosterhouse, as he is that go-to guy that everyone needs in the name of all things design.
During a recent chat, where I was secretly hoping Carter would show up sporting bad hair and a pimple (no such luck), we focused not only on his design talents and carpentry skills that are seen on TLC's Trading Spaces and HGTV's Carter Can, Red Hot & Green, Million Dollar Rooms and more, but also his dedication to helping children through Carter's Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and promoting awareness of fitness and self-esteem for America's youth, and his most recent project, a partnership with Great Wolf Lodge, which supports the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Joshua Estrin: 'Tis the season... to be cranky. How do you stay in the holiday spirit?
Carter Oosterhouse: I definitely leave it to the power of music. Music moves my soul and keeps my head in a good space, so I highly recommend a few good holiday playlists to keep you sane.
JE: What is the best advice you can give for anyone who decides to take on a DIY project?
CO: When you decide to tackle a project on your own -- preparation is the key. I believe that with a good plan in place, things turn out five times better than expected in half the time. You also have to be realistic about the space you have to work with, which means that just because you might love a piece of furniture or something might catch your eye, you can't expect the desired outcome if you have pieces and parts that are just too big or too small for the room. Finally, all your hard work will go to waste if you don't have the proper lighting. Keep it soft and inviting, and your DIY will be camera-ready.
JE: Tell me about some of your latest projects.
CO: My book Carter's Way is something I am really proud of. It is truly a no-nonsense approach to interior design. I have done hundreds -- if not thousands -- of design makeovers, and this is my way of helping people avoid some of the pitfalls and realize their vision without all the drama.
JE: In the spirit of giving, what are you working on with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America?
CO: I have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who may be struggling or just needed someone to show them they are not alone. This year, I have teamed up with Great Wolf and Big Brothers Big Sisters in a way that is simply the "sweetest" idea I could think of -- to bring all of my talents and blessings together.
JE: What do you say to people who might doubt that with a face like yours, you really can build a house and know your way around a construction site?
CO:That's simple -- the proof is in the proof.
JE: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
CO: My wife and I catch up with the rest of the family and we keep it eco-friendly. We like to visit a tree farm and choose a tree together, knowing that we will enjoy one in our home and one will be planted in its place, so others will continue to enjoy as well.