Want an exclusive look behind-the-scenes at Houseplay? This is your chance! Each month we’ll interview a different team member for a window into how we make your home renovation magic happen.
Today we’re talking with Tamara (Tammy) Templeman, Co-founder and Creative Director of Houseplay Renovations.
Can you give us a peek into what a typical weekday looks like for you?
I typically wake up early and spend an hour catching up on emails before anyone else is awake. If it’s my turn to take the kids, I get everyone dressed, give them breakfast, and pack lunches. I get my two sons off to the bus and drop off my daughter.
Then I head off to meetings or get on the phone for consultation calls with new clients. I might meet with someone to review details of a design/construction agreement with them, or conduct a Visioning Session. I check in with our office manager, Tracey, and our lead designer, Veronika to make sure they have what they need and to check in on design progress. I also oversee all our marketing efforts.
In the evenings I come home, have dinner with the kids, hang out with Niall. I often keep working on new marketing projects and new ideas to keep our business evolving and meeting our clients’ needs in the best way possible.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I really enjoy the moment where pieces start to fall into place for a client. I like taking what might be a general idea of what they want to do in their house and helping them break it down into tangible parts: the project, the budget, the timeline. It’s like a strategy puzzle I get to solve with them.
Within that part of my role, I enjoy getting to know the family I’m working with a little bit so I can really support them in making the decisions that are going to serve them the best.
In the end, hearing people say things like, “You’ve changed the way we live in our house,” “Having this renovated space has totally transformed our day-to-day experience,” or “We’ve asked so many other people for solutions and no one else came up with this idea” – that’s really satisfying.
How did you first come to this work, and then come to co-create Houseplay?
When I finished high school I deferred from college and took 18 months off. I wanted to help people, so I was planning to study social work. The time off was just to have a pause and be more intentional about the direction I wanted to go in my life and career. Plus I wanted time to travel and have a break.
I got a job at Gap Kids to raise cash for traveling. Soon, I started supporting the manager who was doing visual merchandising – laying out flow of new merchandise and managing that process. Gap would send us guides for how displays should look – but our store was in an old building with quirky spaces, so we would have to strategically design their vision and instructions into the space we had. I realized that I LOVED this work of planning out spaces, making things look beautiful, and creating displays that were strategic and visually appealing. So I decided I wanted to study interior design.
I was studying at Parsons The New School for Design when Niall and I got married and he moved here permanently from England. We quickly figured out that if he got a job working for a builder it wouldn’t be enough to support us because I was still in college. So instead, we started marketing his services as an independent decorater/builder/renovater.
It took us a whole year to come up with the name Houseplay Renovations. The name stemmed from the vision: the reason we loved our work was because we were able to give adults a chance to do something different, have fun with their space and personalize it, and be lighthearted in how they approached it. We realized that renovation could feel more like play for them if we were doing the hard part, so we took on more of the hard parts as we grew so it could be more enjoyable for them to watch the process unfold.
What is one of your favorite moments on the job?
In one of our early design/build projects, we were completing a full apartment renovation. Near the end of it, Veronika and I stopped by the project. We found the homeowner there (they had moved out for the renovation) – she was wandering around just in awe of the transformation.
She said, “I just come in here everyday and sit and cry because it’s so fabulous, it’s such a huge transformation.”
She told us that she’d just found Houseplay on Instagram. She said, “I was looking through your feed, and it was the first time I realized you have other clients too! I had this flicker of ‘they’re cheating on me with other clients!’ – but then I realized, of course you have other clients!”
It made me so proud that we’d given her the type of attention where she felt so cared for that it was as if she were our only client (even though she wasn’t!).
Thanks to Tammy for offering us a window into her work at Houseplay! Next month we’ll have another team profile, so stay tuned!