Hi there. I’m Rachael Gibilterra and TerraMade is my passion project / hobby / side hustle.
We all live in a dwelling of sorts, and I’ve found that having a place to come home to that puts my mind at ease improves my mental well-being in a major way. A space that doesn’t feel like a hassle, reflects who I am, and brings me comfort and peace. It doesn’t have to be a large space or be lavishly furnished — it just has to feel like it is yours and be what YOU need it to be. To that point, I think we can all benefit from sharing ideas, big and small, that make our homes and, in turn, lives a little better. Why not share mine with you?
I’ve always been into creating thoughtful spaces. My aunt is an interior designer, and gifted me an architect’s ruler when I was young. You know, the triangle ones with all of the different scales on it? I’d take that ruler and draw a scale model of my childhood bedroom and furniture on paper. I’d cut out and rearrange my little paper bed and dresser in all sorts of configurations until I found a new one I liked and would get to moving the real pieces into place to match my design. I can’t even count how many times I “redid my room” in my youth — it was a hobby of sorts for me.
My husband, Virgil, also grew up a problem solver, but more of a practical one. His dad would hand him a broken vacuum and a screwdriver, along with a “fix this.” As the oldest boy in a family of four children, he developed independence earlier than most. He learned how to properly install a new shower head, teflon tape and all, at 12.
Between his aptitude for problem solving and mine for conceptualizing project that required creative solutions, we bonded over this process early in our relationship. We’d watch home renovation shows on HGTV and DIY together — something none of my previous boyfriends had ever done willingly, hah! We built a bookshelf for my bedroom and stripped and painted an old dresser. In college, I studied graphic design and Virgil, engineering. We joke that he has half of a graphic design degree for all of the hours he spent helping me craft my various projects — ask any one of my fellow design classmates. One night, he made a whole crown of paper flowers for my tequila bottle packaging project. Talk about love, folks. This guy is the king of selflessness. This all eventually evolved into my insane and reckless idea that we buy a vintage Airstream and renovate the whole thing ourselves. I won’t go into details, but you can read about it all here.
So recently, when my parents decided to build a house upon relocating to the Midwest, Virgil and I jumped at the opportunity to help them with the mammoth process. We wanted to help them make the most of this project and be sure they considered all of their options through each step. Through this project, we learned SketchUp together and had a ridiculous amount of fun designing their house as a team. It was a next-level project for us — grander than even the Airstream. I shared a few snippets of the process on Instagram, and it seemed like something people enjoyed watching. That got my wheels turning, thinking about all of the things I do on a weekly basis that others could benefit from. All of the pinning and ideating and designing — if I’m already doing it, why not share with the world? And so, TerraMade came to life. I hope you find something here that inspires you or helps you make your home more yours. Thanks for being here, I’m grateful that you are!