The idea that women need to put their home-owning life on hold until they get married
or find a partner is a stereotype Rebekah Higgs is trying to break.
Higgs, 34, has launched The Welcome Home Project - 10 episodes of her web series
DIY MOM - dedicated to the purchase and renovation of a 1951 colonial style home.
The Halifax native has reinvented herself as a producer and host after spending most of
her 20s as a touring, solo musician in the electronic outfit Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful
After moving to Toronto, she found herself pregnant at 30 and a single mother at 31.
Feeling like the big city was draining her creative energy, Higgs and baby moved back
to the East Coast when her dad offered her the opportunity to live rent-free in a rundown
rental property in exchange for updating the house. In the right place at the right time,
Higgs lucked into an associate producer role at the now-defunct Egg Films, where her
interest in advertising, film and television was sparked. Her love of storytelling took on a
new form with the launch of DIY MOM in late 2015.
“Between my interest in renovation and my experience in film and television, I was able
to amalgamate the two and took a stab at making DIY tutorial videos on various small
home reno projects, like hanging a sliding door or upcycling a yoke into a pot rack,”
explains Higgs. “That’s kind of how DIY MOM came to be. I was a single mom. I was in
a hard place. I needed to pick myself up and get my life together and I was lucky to find
a new creative career, thanks to timing and generosity.”
A fourth generation home builder, house flipping is in Higgs’ genes. Her great
grandfather was Halifax builder Walter Havill, who developed much of the city’s Armdale
neighbourhood, where her new home, featured in “The Welcome Home Project,” is
situated. 10 mini-episodes take viewers from closing sale walk-through, financing,
demolition, floor plans, trouble-shooting, inspections and choosing finishings. Higgs has
dubbed it ‘DIY project management.’
So far, she’s getting great response, particularly from women.
“A lot of people have said to me that they’re really inspired. Some women have told me
it made them feel like they could pick up a power tool or grab a camera and make their
own video series, so that’s exciting.”
Higgs recognizes her biggest audience is her daughter Lennon, 3, who has been telling
her early child care teachers that when she grows up she’s “going to be a home builder,
“Having a daughter, I wanted to show her that we can build our own life. How many
times have women been told ‘to wait to buy a house until I have a partner or spouse’ or
that ‘buying your first home is something you want to do as a couple.’ There are all
kinds of reasons that people put their life on hold, but in my situation I didn’t want to wait
for a partner to come along before I really start living. I have a daughter and I want to
give her a good life and I want to live in a good neighbourhood and be successful on my
own terms,” says Higgs.
Season 1 of DIY MOM is available on Bell On Demand October 2017