About PMQ For Two
OK, we’re not familiar with what a PMQ exactly is, so we asked Ariel what is a PMQ? “A PMQ, otherwise known as Private Married Quarters is what the Canadian Military calls the base housing that members of the Canadian Armed Forces can rent. Unlike base housing in the U.S., we pay rent on our units (cat rates comparable to the local economy). The PMQs vary in size and style from base to base, but a row house is a row house, and an A-frame is an A-frame. My husband is a member of the Canadian military, so we live in PMQs. There are quite a few advantages to living in Q’s, namely the cost of rent, proximity to work, the sense of community, and the fact that if something breaks we’re not liable to fix it – housing is. The downside is that we can’t do much to them in terms of “improving” or customizing them, and we’re not even supposed to paint – but I do. Everything I do in our PMQ must go back to the way it was when we leave so that the next family gets a blank slate. Creating beautiful, temporary and movable décor is what I specialize in. You can read more about PMQ’s here.
When did you start your business? “I started PMQ for two when my husband and I moved into our first base home a few postings ago. It was our first real home; you know the type – the first place where you own appliances and nice furniture that wasn’t exclusively second hand. I knew no one at our posting, and didn’t have a job yet, so I was lonely and bored. I thought I’d try my hand at blogging, if only as a way of doing something, and then sharing our décor process. It was definitely not a business then, just something I did in my off time and a way to connect. Over the years it grew to be my second full-time job, and is now what I do for a living!”
Even though Ariel has no background in the design field, she realized through one of her blog posts that she has been working towards this goal most of her life. “Last year I wrote a post about why I was meant to be a Home Décor and DIY blogger, and it looks like I’ve been working towards this field for a while! I thought back on all the events, all the habits and all the anecdotes from my childhood through till the beginning of the blog, and it was pretty clear – this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I actually went to university for a HBA in International Relations and Political Science, and then went on to get a MA in War Studies with an emphasis on Strategic Communications. I’m quite far from where I intended to be, but I’m exactly where I should be.”
Ariel for sure has the drive and ambition to create new things. We always love to ask people where they gather inspiration from and what makes them keep going on creating new projects because, well, not everybody has the gift. It’s a common denominator in almost all artists. The feeling you get the instant the idea comes to you, and Ariel knows all about that. “It’s hard to explain this one without sounding crazy, but there’s a feeling I get when I can perfectly translate what’s in my head into reality. It’s a feeling like no other, and it’s what drives me to create; whether it’s a simple DIY project, styling a photo, or creating a space. There’s something about combining the colors, the patterns and the textures that is so very satisfying to me. I’ve been told I have an amazing eye for colors and it makes total sense – I see colors in ways most people just don’t, so mixing them is like conducting a symphony. I’m inspired by a bit of everything. I actually just wrote a post detailing what’s inspiring me for 2017. Books, fashion, nature and my community of online makers and entrepreneurs are top of the list. In the past I’ve been inspired by objects and overall interior design trends, but this year I’m looking past that to fashion for the textile element, and nature for the deeper colors and hues. We love fashion!!!
With all the inspiration that has shown through her work, we asked her what her favorite makeover has been. “That’s a tricky one to answer! They’ve all been my “favorite” for one reason or another. The One Room Challenge space I completed in a local family’s home this fall was a delight to do! I got to challenge myself by creating what another family wanted while infusing my own flair. It was hard to listen to other people’s choices and have to abide by them, but it was a good exercise in compromise and pushing my own design boundaries. You can see that reveal here including a chair Ariel reupholstered using fabric from Online Fabric Store here. I also really liked creating the renter-friendly built-ins in our family room this fall. I’ve always strived to elevate PMQ living, and creating built-ins that can be moved when we’re posted was such a crucial part of the space’s design. Now that it’s complete, I can’t believe we ever lived without them.”
Ariel also participates in house tours. “They’re insanely hard to put together, but also tons of fun and always worth it. Whether you’re organizing one as a blog hop, just participating in a hop, or doing one of your own home. It requires the house to be finished, and any good designer will tell you the spaces are never quite done. Not only that, but they need to be clean and styled before you can even start photographing them. Styling comes very naturally to me, and it’s where my eye for colors and patterns comes into play, but if it’s not flowing easily that day your entire shoot can go down the drain. Not only that, but you’ve got to catch the right light. My current PMQ has odd exposures, so I can’t shoot the house from top to bottom in one go. I need to shoot different spaces at different times, and even then it requires some editing in Light Room or Photoshop; things like exposure, color correction, editing-out extension cords etc. I also tend to complete the rooms in our home at different stages. So the main floor may be completed early-on, but upstairs may not be ready for another few months. I’m not made of money, so budgetary constraints as well as the content calendar all play into when spaces can be finished. Often, by the time the whole house is done, something no longer feels right on the main floor. It’s a vicious circle, and knowing when is the right time to just “go for it” can be tricky. I’ve done a few house tours where right after going live I’ll change something major in a space. I can’t help myself! You can view my the house tour from our last PMQ here and you can see other seasonal house tours from our current PMQ here.
Like for everyone else, social media is very important for promoting businesses and talent. We asked Ariel how important collaborating with other bloggers is and using social media. “Both are key to any blogger’s success. There’s no way around that. Social Media is how your readers find you and engage with you past blog posts. I treat my Instagram like a living, breathing portfolio for my work and aesthetic. Pinterest is the lifestyle magazine that accompanies my blog, while Facebook is where you can find everything and then some! The ability to cross promote, engage, and tailor our content is key to growing my brand. Other bloggers are invaluable for business tips, industry contacts, support, and mentor ship. I’ve been very lucky to have a few blog mentors in the past (unofficial of course) that have helped me grow, and now I try to give back as much as I can. I’m still “young” in the blogging world, but I’ve been able to pass-on what I do know to other smaller bloggers. Having a community of people who are in the same industry as you is what makes working alone from home, bearable. They’re the ones who will reach-out and include you in blog hops and round-ups, they’re the ones who will pop by with a nice comment on a post, they’re the ones who are awake at 4 a.m with you while you’re waiting for a link-up to go live. More importantly, they’re the ones to help steer you towards acceptable business practices in our industry, and they’re the ones with whom you can commiserate when Instagram and Pinterest have changed their algorithm for the 10th time this month.”
With all that Ariel has done with PMQ For Two thus far and all the inspiration and desire she has, we asked her where she sees PMQ For Two in 10 years. “Good question! I’ve debated a re-brand a few times. As my audience changes and grows, I’m not sure if I want to re-brand and steer away from any connection with the military since most post people don’t understand the link immediately. Or whether I want to separate the home décor from the DIY. There’s also something to be said for continuing to grow the brand equity I have and just finessing it. I’d love to pursue other design ventures one day and own my very own interior design company. That being said, a TV show that lets me do everything I currently do and more would be just fine by me.”