Meet the creator of Home Buddies, our fave Facebook group for home improvement

preen home buddies interview
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preen home buddies interview

In the past year, it seems that everyone and their moms got into DIY home improvement. This is totally understandable since we’re all stuck at home for the rest of the foreseeable future. [Cue: loud groans] But for a number of people, it’s not just a phase anymore but a lifestyle. There’s a group that’s been making waves on Facebook as the local hangout for all home enthusiasts. Does the name Home Buddies ring a bell?

Whether you faithfully apply the KonMari method or you’re a self-professed maximalist with a penchant for bright and zany designs, Home Buddies can be your go-to source for home improvement inspo. We had a chat with group creator Frances Lim Cabatuando of Nobi Home to talk recommendations, the members in the running for the “Most Helpful” title and even the celebrities who helped grow its following.

What’s the origin story of Home Buddies? 

Home Buddies was borne out of my Instagram account, Nobi Home. When the lockdown got extended, all I could do was update my Instagram with my home improvement stories. [There were] people asking me where I buy my things [and I noticed that they often] asked and reacted to the same stuff. One time, I wanted to play the Minimalism Game and asked my followers if they wanted to do it with me. Since many people said yes, I decided to create a group where we can post our decluttering journey. And from there, I started sharing less filtered home updates [compared to what’s on my] Instagram. People just followed [my example] until the group grew and grew!

So basically, Home Buddies started as Nobi Home’s friends. But now, we’re way, way, way beyond that and it makes me happy! Seeing how active some people are in the group, I invited Pamela Racho of myhomeinterior.ph and Celestina Ava Su of Coffee-colored Casa to be moderators. I met them online via Nobi Home—never pa in-person.

 

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A post shared by Pamela R. (@myhomeinterior.ph)

Unfortunately, Celestina got busy, so I got my ex-officemate Isai Martinez of Izzy Pad to join the team. Then, it was Monique Caparros, my friend from way back who became super active in the group. [We needed] a mom in the team for a different POV, so I got her as a “tanod.” [laughs] And lastly, our only guy on the team is Jeano Cruz.

When did the membership spike happen? Did you anticipate the warm reception?

[The group currently has] over 290,000 members na! When we reached 100,000, it just went crazy from there. I think the first spike was when Macoy Dubs shared the group. Then, Mommy MK, Mae Layug, Megan Young-Daez and Thea Sy-Bautista [did, too]. 

For new members or those looking to join the group, who are the “Most Helpful” members to look out for?

Oh noooo! This is so hard! I don’t want to be the admin na may favoritism. [Laughs] No names nalang buuuut there’s the guy who first made the DIY Asahi fan and the people na masipag magreport ng “bawal” posts. I can give a shoutout to Kevin Cheung and Christopher Ng, the super-smart boys of Home Buddies who explain difficult concepts to us in easier terms. [They talk about] topics like thread count and gas vs induction. There are also people who keep the group light and fun. Madami talaga, so I would say everyone’s helpful!

 

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A post shared by Nobi Home (@nobi.home)

Can you describe your favorite types of posts in the group?

The joke is that members want to call the group Budol Buddies na. [laughs] When you join the group, prepare to want to buy things you never thought you needed.

But every Monday, we have Monday Market. And that’s when you can find curated products that are patok to Home Buddies. In the group, we’re one big happy barangay but may mga sub-teams: #TeamPutiPuti, #TeamKahoy, the Mediomalists, #TeamPink, #TeamKulayful and the biggest group of all, #TeamSanaAll. [laughs]

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from forming the group?

Design-wise, I think [it’s how a] nice comfortable home is achievable with any kind of budget or resources. I see DIY makeovers sa group and I’m so amazed how they’re able to do it by themselves. Also, we should consult professionals pa rin lalo na when it comes to structural concerns kasi it will just cost us more money and sakit ng ulo.

 

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A post shared by Nobi Home (@nobi.home)

[I also learned that] if you treat people with respect, kindness, generosity and all things positive, mahihiya sila to be pasaway. That’s how we keep the group really inspiring, helpful and positive. People work hard on their homes and I know they wanna share it in a space where they won’t be seen as nagmamayabang. I’m glad people openly share [things in the group because] their hard work deserves to be seen by the world.

Who are your fave interior design icons?

I don’t think she qualifies as an interior design icon but Nobi Home is heavily inspired by _ondo. Since I’m not a professional, I get my inspo from YouTube channels like Never Too Small, 一条Yit, _sueddu and haegreendaal. And a lot of K-drama. 

Time for some bonus questions. 

Curtains or blinds?

Curtains!

Scandinavian or industrial?

Scandi!

Team Kulayful or Team Puti Puti?

Puti Puti!

Best item that you bought from the Monday Market or Budolletin Board?

My smart home things from SBRF Smart Home Gadgets!

Want to join Home Buddies? Click here and we’ll be waiting for you.

 

Art by Pammy Orlina

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