Last year I participated in Dream Year, an experience that helps people accomplish a dream over the course of one year. A month into the program, Ben asked a few questions about the logistics of my dream, how it could become sustainable and eventually profitable. The questions did what good questions do.

In waltzed clarity.

A week later I emailed Ben: “I cannot stop thinking about our conversation. I have to change plans. Forget the proposal I submitted. What I really want to do—and I mean really, really, down-deep-within-me want to do work with Brad to design and build houses—that’s my dream. Help me figure out how to do this.” And just like that I jumped the tracks.

I spent a few months doing the not-so-fun parts that come with establishing a business: paperwork, bank visits, repeat. And, I needed a name.

Creating a brand. It can be so brutal.

For me, it’s an act of self-awareness and hope, a thoughtful process of articulating the essence of who you are and where you want to go. (Unless your Bing or Twitter and you just make or reinvent a word.) When Ben asked me to articulate my strengths or what this brand really is one word continued to resurface:


I am a gatherer. I gather people. I gather pretty things. I gather ideas and inspiration. I’m good at gathering.

But what to name a business and a blog: Gather. Gathered. Gathered ideas. Gathered home. Gather up. Gathered. BLAH. NO. Gather. Gathered inspiration. NO. Blah. What? Gather. Gather and Build. 


Gather and Build.

I will gather what we need. Brad can build it. It has this go-forth-and-prosper sort of feeling to it. It’s all action. Go and do.

I emailed the exceptionally talented Matt Lehman and gave him my “I have a dream” pitch and said could you bring it to life? In a logo? And will you help me brand myself? Matt came back to me with 7 logo options and 30+ variations of those logos. Killing me with beauty. He almost killed me with beauty. This particular logo and its variations captured it. UGH. So. much. to. love. 

Logo options // Matt Lehman

Here’s some advice from Dream Year: Always work with people who are better than you—find people who are among the best in a field and surround yourself with those people. In practical terms, do not design your own logo. Unless you are a professional graphic designer, you should step away from InDesign or Illustrator or whatever and hire someone who is smarter than you. 

That advice served me well. Here’s the winner:

Screen shot 2013-01-24 at 2.56.15 PM

Someone much smarter than me is helping create Gather and Build (dot. com) and eventually, this blog will have a new home. I’ll highlight the projects Brad and I work on along with other fun projects I’m working on the side—like house staging and such. And, of course, inspiration. Lots of inspiration.

You are kind to stay tuned after all these months—I’m really grateful. Thanks for sitting tight through the silence. I hope you like where we are headed. To quote Sleeping at Last, “The future is brighter than any flashback.”

Thanks for reading,


P.S. I love that gathering has ties to farming. My father would be proud. Did you see the “So God Made a Farmer” spot during the Super Bowl? Tears. In my eyes.