Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder & Wander
Jolie Sikes & Amie Sikes
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
New York Times bestseller
In their first book, the Junk Gypsies—sisters and stars of the popular Texas-born brand and HGTV show—combine big dreams, stories of roadside treasures found, and down-home design projects inspired by epic makeovers for friends like Miranda Lambert, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Sadie Robertson.
Amie and Jolie Sikes, the Thelma and Louise of the design world, are the Junk Gypsies: a family with an addiction to flea markets, wanderlust, and Americana inspired design. In their world, cowgirls are heroes, road trips last forever, and junk is treasured.
Beginning with a little bit of faith and a whole lot of heart and soul, the sisters travelled the back roads of America like gypsies, collecting roadside trinkets and tattered treasures while meeting kindred spirits and lively characters along the way. With a mix of hippie, rock n’ roll, southern charm, and big dreams, these small-town Texas girls became restless wanderers and owners and operators of their dream business and bohemian brand, Junk Gypsy.
Filled with stories from their unique journey as well as DIY projects and bohemian inspired designs, Junk Gypsy is a tribute to all the rowdy gypsies, crafty junkers, free-spirited romantics, and true-blue rebels who have ever dared to dream big.
In a world full of conventional designers and DIYers, Texas sisters Amie and Jolie Sikes have spent almost two decades cultivating a unique style all their own. So much of design today is all granite and marble and stainless steel, the type of luxe layouts that make Martha Stewart swoon. Enter the Junk Gyspies. Their style is a joyfully low-couture break from the mainstream. Take a little bit of glitter, grit, Texas twang, sass, bohemian, gypsy, rock n’ roll, country, chippy-peely paint, down-home, and biscuits, mix all of that together, and that’s Junk Gypsy.
To those who aren’t interested in haute couture decor or home makeovers, these gals have a unique, refreshing take on design. Shabby-chic is nothing new, but the Junk Gypsies take it to a whole new level. They began their design careers repurposing used items they found at flea markets and fairs throughout rural Texas. They’d take second-hand items like old chairs and tables--and just plain ol’ junk--and remake and re-imagine them into statement pieces for house, barn, or vintage Airstream. Theirs is flea-market design with a “Funky shway” vibe, a harmony of junk refinished and distressedinto DIY art.
Designing a Life is a fun and folksy introduction to the world of the Junk Gypsies. More than just a business, the Junk Gypsies have built a lifestyle empire that encompasses apparel, entertainment, design, and the joys of rural life. The book brings you into their world, introduces you to the Sikes family and how Junk Gypsy came to be. The sisters give a wonderful first-person insight into the early experiences that shaped and inspired them. They write poignantly of growing up with their entrepreneurial parents in their smallEast Texas town. They especially emphasize the family values and work ethic they learned through the joys and struggles of running a family business. Family truly is the heart and soul of the Junk Gypsy brand, because family ultimately inspired the girls to take the leap into their own business.
The most fascinating parts of the book detail their struggle to find careers they loved after college, and their into-the-unknown decision to leave 9-to-5 America for a less-settled life. This story alone really is worth the price of the book, if only because it’s as improbable as it is inspiring. But the book is far more than just biography. There’s a collection of photos showing everythingfrom their family life and early flea market outings in Round Top to their famous Junk-O-Rama Prom. And not least of all, the girls include a sampling of Junk Gypsy-inspired DIY projects for readers to try. I love their projects because they aren’t week-long torture-sessions that require you to be a finish carpenter. These are fun, doable projects that only require a few basic tools and some DIY imagination.
For me, Designing a Life is about so much more than finding junk, DIY, and the open road. This book is about discovering your true direction, following your heart, and pursuing the very thing that inspires you. These gals started out working 9-to-5 jobs like most new college grads. Somehow, though,they found the courage and grit to give up their corporate careers to follow theirdreams of becoming DIY junkers—even though they had no idea how they’d make it work when they started. I can’t honestly say this about many people, but Amie and Jolie are truly role models. They are proof that if you are willing to dream big and put sweat equity into achieving your goals, you can make your dreams into a reality. More importantly, they’re proof that we often don’t even find our dreams until we consciously decide to give up our safe lives. In their words, “Grit doesn’t happen when things are good. Grit happens when we’re tested.”
Designing a Life is a great book for those who are passionate about everything Junk Gypsy and are interested in getting their feet wet in the second-hand/DIY world. But even more so, it’s a great read for anyone who feels stuck in their life, and anyone looking for the inspiration to strike out on anew path. In the words of Amie Sikes, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do it my way.”Kim Johnson (aka “PearlGirl”)