During the pandemic, Valencia couple Andrew and Jessell Martinez wanted to upgrade areas of their home, but realized it would cost them thousands of dollars to have a contractor work on their house.
The two decided to combine Andrew’s brawn with Jessell’s brain to become a DIY, power (tool) couple improving their home one Target trip at a time.
The couple got their hands dirty and worked on their home improvement projects themselves while posting their progress on their TikTok page, The Martinez Casita. Thousands of followers and millions of views later, Andrew and Jessell’s DIY projects went viral and led them to be featured on the “Rachael Ray Show” and Target’s official Instagram.
“People were messaging us to say how excited they were to see our content,” Jessell said. “We’re not designers or contractors, but doing something that we enjoyed and seeing people get inspired from that motivated us to keep going and try more stuff.”
Jessell said their first viral video on TikTok was on her 30th birthday when they showed the process of remodeling her closet and it received a million views by the next day.
“I felt like, from then on, we just kept doing it and we got a lot of engagement,” Andrew said. “I feel like we’re still growing because we’re always getting better and trying different things.”
Before they became the Martinezes, Andrew and Jessell both grew up in Santa Clarita. Andrew went to Canyon High School and Jessell went to Hart, but neither of them knew of each other then.
It wasn’t until they both attended California State University, Northridge, that they met, like most college sweethearts, at a college party. As they exchanged phone numbers, they both recognized each other’s identical Santa Clarita area codes.
“We were like, ‘Wait, you’re 661?’” Jessell said. “So we bonded over our area code and that’s when we found out we both grew up in Santa Clarita.”
The couple would eventually move into an apartment together in Sherman Oaks, but said they weren’t satisfied with the restrictions in place when it came to remodeling their space.
“[The restrictions] definitely sparked our love for decorating, though, because when we did have the apartment we were constantly trying to redecorate, but we just couldn’t until we moved into our own place,” Jessell said.
After living in Sherman Oaks for five years, Andrew and Jessell decided to move back to Santa Clarita because it was closer to their immediate family.
With having the freedom to remodel their home, Andrew said he is able to execute Jessell’s vision for what she thinks would be a perfect house for them.
“If it were up to me, I would be happy with just a couch and a television,” Andrew said. “[Jessell] and her vision is really what makes this a home.”
The Martinezes refused to pay a contractor because they felt like they can try their hands in redecorating their home without having to shell out a ton of money.
When the couple remodeled their bathroom, they said it took them almost three months to complete, but they ended up saving thousands of dollars by working on the project themselves.
“We received a lot of quotes saying it would cost us over $12,000 to redo one of our bathrooms,” Jessell said. “We did it for under $2,000.”
Andrew said their bathroom remodel tested the couple’s DIY skills due to all the moving parts involved with the project such as the flooring, plumbing, waterproofing, painting and more.
“The bathroom was everything,” Andrew said. “That was probably our toughest one, but also our most proud accomplishment because it looked a lot different and it worked.”
“I feel like after we did that bathroom, every project after that was way easier,” Jessell said.
Andrew and Jessell said they started posting their projects on TikTok during the pandemic and eventually resonated with the DIY home improvement enthusiasts on the app. They amassed thousands of followers and millions of views and their popularity eventually landed them on the “Rachael Ray Show.”
The couple said the show’s producers found them on social media and loved their style and how they were giving advice to other homeowners interested in remodeling their own homes. Their notoriety in the social media world also led them to create content for Target’s official Instagram and TikTok.
“It’s just so crazy, but we’re so excited that we’re able to have these opportunities,” Jessell said.
As first-time homeowners, The Martinezes said they understand the hesitancy when it comes to remodeling their home. They said they didn’t know where to start or what to do and many people told them the only way to do home renovations is to pay a professional to get it done.
“It’s hard to find people that really care about putting effort into your home because they just want to do it quick, fast and easy,” Jessell said. “But being involved in creating the home that you love, makes you love your home even more and being able to show people that it’s possible is exciting because we get to see them be proud of what they’ve done as well.”
For homeowners who want to redo their homes, but don’t know where to begin, Andrew said it’s best to start with something small in an area of your house that isn’t in one of the main gathering places.
“If you go too big, too fast, it’s going to be so overwhelming and so stressful,” Andrew said. “Do something small just so you get the feel of it and get used to the tools and the craft.”
Jessel said to not underestimate the preparation and the time it takes to complete DIY projects.
“Prepping the space and getting all the materials is important and if you don’t, it could honestly delay the project even longer than it should take and you could end up making more mistakes,” Jessell said.
The Martinezes said they aspire to continue creating content and have a goal to start a YouTube channel this year. For a long-term goal, the couple eventually wants to save up enough money to purchase an old home and completely renovate it.
“Our goal right now is just enhancing the space we have, but it would be really cool to actually configure a whole new space,” Jessell said.