Throughout my entire life, I have always said that home improvement is all about hugs and kisses. This idea didn’t just come to me out of thin air; rather it’s something I’ve learned going back to when I was very young.

I grew up as one of six children. Living with all of my siblings, I’m sure you can imagine that there was often competition for our parents’ attention. More specifically, I often tried hard to get closer to my father.

As kids, there were many times that we broke everything in the house as a result of, well, being kids. My father often spent his weekends fixing everything in the house. I took this opportunity to be his helper and right-hand man, starting out first by just being there to lend a hand to then eventually, handing him nail after nail.

My parents made the decision, later on, to purchase a house on the Magothy River in Maryland. It was their lifelong dream to live on the water. The house was a fixer-upper, just a shell with nothing inside but bare 2 by 4 stud walls.

My father and I spent years transforming that ‘house’ into their ‘dream house.’ We worked hard every single weekend, and, at the end of each long workday, my parents smiled happily at each other and us and exchanged a hug and a kiss. It was always a moment I loved to be a part of as I could tell that working on this project together brought us all closer together as a family. The feeling of seeing our hard work and efforts pay off—bringing such happiness—was priceless.

As I continued to work as a carpenter throughout my life, I’ve helped families to create and realize their dream homes and achieve their goals. Helping to build happiness and love through home improvement for these families is a rewarding experience.

As I have moved forward in my career, I can remember some of my favorite moments. For example, when I was cleaning up a job site after a hard day’s work—getting ready to go home—and the owner would arrive to see the day’s work completed. Whether it was an individual, a couple, or a family, seeing them happy and smiling at each other and sharing a hug is what assured me that my work really mattered. Kids looking at us—the carpenters—like we are heroes after seeing their parents so very happy brought me back to the days of helping my father and mother achieve their dream home.

In this profession, our bodies take on wear and tear as we strive to make people happy. We help to make a house a home by creating a space that people love – a space where you and your family can create happy memories. As craftsmen, we work hard for this. We love, relish, and embrace recognition of a job well done, further pushing us to do our very best.

These moments I’ve described are the meaning behind my belief that home improvement is all about hugs and kisses. I’m thankful to have a job that pays me in daily recognition of love and appreciation. Receiving those warm and heartfelt “Thank You’s” from happy clients is a feeling that cannot be bought, but only achieved through hard work and dedication to a craft.

From all of us a Northern Craft, we wish every person, family, and homeowner a Happy Valentine’s Day.