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Women in Real Estate: Healthcare Hero and Home Renovator

There are some people who just stand out and Sachi @ThesSandyandtheSalty is one of them! She is a nurse anesthetist working on the frontline during this COVID-19 outbreak, and she still manages to be an incredible mom and get in time to work on her amazing renovations. Talk about a superwoman! In addition to that, her cool, beachy, boho mid-century style just makes all of her work seem so effortless.

Sachi in her Remodeled Kitchen

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

I was fortunate enough to learn more about her between her shifts. I really wanted to share her story with you because I think it is important to recognize that people are multi-passionate and that investing in real estate doesn’t have to be the center of your world. It can be a component that you use to create a better life for yourself while pursuing other interests and goals along the way.

Sachi is showing us how that can be done. She is another young investor who is learning as she goes, sharing what she knows with others, and having a blast doing it. I am so excited for her and blessed that she took some time so share her journey with me. And if she can do it in Hawaii, in one of the most expensive real estate markets in America, it shows that it really can be done anywhere. You just have to look for ways to get creative and be open to putting in some elbow grease as you go! Check out her story:

@MackofallTradesNY: When did you first become interested in home renovations and interior design?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: Looking back, my interest in interior design and decorating started pretty early. As a young girl I would constantly be rearranging my room, experimenting with different themes and colors. Throughout high school I started small projects like sewing my own curtains, and buying and painting furniture off Craigslist. I always seemed to like to get something for a good deal and give it a new life. To this day I’m still pretty obsessed with getting a good deal, but who isn’t? Shopping at garage sales is still one of my favorite things to do. Fast forward to when I was in college, I started watching HGTV and was hooked! I loved watching Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper. I was fascinated seeing them turn spaces that were so ugly and decrepit into trendy, fashionable living areas. It really has inspired me.

@MackofAllTradesNY: What made you decide to buy a fixer-upper, not once but twice? :)

@TheSandyandtheSalty: The real estate market in Hawaii is unique. Because Oahu is an island, there are only so many single family homes. The high cost of living forces many people to live with their parents or grandparents well into their adulthood years. It’s very common to see multi-generational living. With all of that being said, purchasing a starter home in a safe, family-oriented community that is already turnkey is pretty pricey. A 1200 sq ft. single family home could easily go for somewhere in the $800,000’s. While I would have loved to purchase a turnkey home that was styled just to my taste, that home didn’t really exist. And because I didn’t want to pay for someone else’s remodel, my husband and I discussed buying a home in original condition (with hopefully good bones) that we could remodel exactly to our taste. So that is what we ended up doing.

In 2017, we bought our first home together and it was about 1100 sq ft. It was a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom starter home. We basically tore it down to the studs and we even scraped the popcorn ceilings ourselves! My husband is incredibly smart, and while he didn’t have much construction experience prior to the house purchase, he learned to do a lot along the way, and so did I.

Her first house renovation where she stripped everything back to the studs

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

We loved the neighborhood we were in but we realized that we wanted to give living closer to the beach a try. Of course since we already had one renovation under our belt, we wanted to do it again, but do it even better the second time around! So we saw that we were able to make a small profit by putting in the sweat-equity, and used that to go toward our second home.

@MackofAllTradesNY: What is the biggest challenge you've faced when renovating your first home? How did you overcome it?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: TERMITES. When we were looking at the house we saw that there was some exterior termite damage from over the years. Every home in Hawaii has termite problems, but when looking at a house it’s hard to see how severe the damage is.

The home was built in 1977 and we ended up getting a professional termite inspection during the home buying process. There supposedly weren't any live termites but in retrospect, I doubt that. So we ended up taking a gamble and purchasing the house and decided to fumigate after some live termites were later found. We had to make quite a bit of repairs to the eaves and fascia of the exterior. Together, my husband, dad and I put in a lot of hours replacing pieces of wood on the exterior of the house. But in the end, our buyer wanted even MORE cosmetic repairs to be done so we ended up hiring someone to do the remaining work quickly so we could close.

@MackofAllTradesNY: Is there a particular room or project you were most proud of and why?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: The kitchen! We originally started off with a small, galley kitchen, and took a risk and got rid of the formal dining area. This then made a huge, open concept kitchen, which looks amazing now! I also took a risk with incorporating open shelving (not everyone likes it) but I loved it! And because I loved it so much, we’re even going to do open shelving in our current home as well. The kitchen was definitely the most dramatic transformation and I wrote about the process on my blog!

Installing new cabinets in her first kitchen renovation

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

First Kitchen Renovation Completed!

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

High End Look on a Modest Renovation Budget

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

@MackofAllTradesNY: What made you decide to sell it and tackle another renovation?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: While I grew up in Hawaii, my husband is from the East Coast. He loves to surf and it’s a huge passion of his. The neighborhood we bought our first home in was in the center of the island. It was very family-friendly and safe, but felt like it was a “regular” suburban neighborhood which could have been found anywhere. And, in addition to that, it was further from the beach. My husband would tell me that he didn’t really feel like we were in Hawaii and since he works from home, the location of where we lived was important to us. We also decided that in the next year or so we would want to grow our family, so maybe while we only had one child, it would probably be easier to do another renovation now rather than later.

Sachi and her adorable family

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

@MackofAllTradesNY: What project in your new home are you most looking forward to and why?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: I’m actually looking forward to the master bathroom. We are totally reconfiguring the space and I’m incorporating some pretty unique tile. Choosing tile is one of my favorite parts of renovating, and I’ll be doing a cool hex tile on the floor, and a herringbone slate tile in the shower.

Master bathroom inspo for her upcoming renovation

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

@MackofAllTradesNY: How do you decide which projects you will tackle and which projects you will contract out?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: I think anytime you do electrical and plumbing it’s wise to have professionals do the job. I won’t say that we haven’t done some of our own electrical and plumbing, though. Also anything that involves hazards like asbestos or mold, I would leave to the professionals.

Sachi tacking some of the build herself

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

@MackofAllTradesNY: How do you juggle all your work, being a mother, your other passions and still have time for your reno?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: This is the most challenging part! The first renovation we did, we did not have our son and we moved SO much quicker! We could put in late hours at night, and work full time on the weekends. With a baby, things are much slower. And now with the current events in the world, things have slowed down even more. I am a nurse anesthetist and work is my main focus at the moment.

Originally we had expected to be done with our entire renovation by June, but now that is looking less realistic depending on how things go. Even though Home Depot and Lowe’s are open, we believe controlling the spread of coronavirus is more important than our remodel so we have put some things on pause.

@MackofAllTradesNY: Do you have any design tips for beginners or purchasing tips for first time buyers?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: This is a great question! As far as design goes, I would tell people to gather as many samples as they can ahead of time, and create mood boards. For me I am a visual person and I need to see the colors and textures together. If you can make some big design decisions such as flooring or bathroom tile ahead of time, you won’t feel rushed purchasing materials when the time comes. Also, save your receipts for the remodel so if you end up selling the house, you can account for that. It also helps with taxes.

@MackofAllTradesNY: What is your design aesthetic?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: I would say coastal, with boho and a mid century influence!

Sachi and her signature style

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

@MackofAllTradesNY: What are your favorite materials to use when you get the chance?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: I think vinyl plank flooring is really great for durability, pets, and kids. We are using that in our rental renovation. We had the perfect vinyl flooring picked out for our main house but it was recently discontinued, so we have been looking everywhere for a similar color. We haven’t found one we liked, so we may consider engineered hardwood. Also, I. LOVE. TILE. To me splurging on a pretty tile is totally worth it. It’s pretty permanent, so choosing something timeless is important as well.

@MackofAllTradesNY: You have created this awesome blog to show people how to tackle projects themselves. You also share your projects, successes and failures on Instagram. Is it ever challenging putting yourself out there? What advice would you give for someone who is shy or unsure of whether they can do something like what you are doing or not?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: The blog platform is very new to me! I first started out sharing projects on Instagram, but I found I wanted to share more tutorial-like content, and a blog seemed like a better platform. I was encouraged by a couple of coworkers to create a YouTube channel, and that intimidated me, so I wanted to start blogging first. I have made a couple of YouTube videos, and I will make more, but I definitely don’t consider myself a professional at anything.

So in that sense, it is challenging to decide what to share because I don’t necessarily always know the best way to do things. As a result, I don’t want to give people the wrong information since I am a DIY-er, but what I DO want is to give people the confidence knowing that if I can do it, so can they!

I am really passionate about encouraging women and girls to do what they can with what they have. We don’t all have a budget for big projects or remodels, but a little paint can go a long way. If you haven’t tried something before, and fear is holding you back, take some time to do some research and just go for it. Getting started is often the hardest part. The advice I would give is- even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned, the worst case scenario is that you learn something!

Sachi building out the hood for her kitchen

Photo Credit: @TheSandyandtheSalty

@MackofAllTradesNY: Do you have any other mentors who have helped you along the way? If so, how, when did you meet them and what advice did you find really valuable from them?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: Not personally but I wish I did! But there are a few women that I really look up to and admire.

@MackofAllTradesNY: Who are those favorite interior designers who have inspired you? In what ways have they influenced you?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: I really look up to Erin Conway from Kismet House. She has an online class called “The Kisment House Method” that I would highly recommend. She helps you define your style and gives you great tips from choosing the right artwork to sizing the rug for your rooms appropriately! I follow her on Instagram @kismet_house and on Facebook.

I also really like Lindsey from @frills_and_drills, and Angela from @angelarosehome. Those girls are awesome DIY moms who seem to tackle any challenge, and Angela and I have very similar styles!

@MackofAllTradesNY: After you finish renovating your dream home on the North Shore, do you plan to tackle any more renos? Would you consider investing in flips after that? Or starting your own interior design firm?

@TheSandyandtheSalty: I would LOVE to tackle more renovations in the future! I find it so satisfying to find a property priced well that needs some love, and turn into something special! I do think that I would love to help other people with their renovations or designs one day, and that is definitely a dream!

So thank you so much Sachi! Your home renos and tutorials are super inspiring and helpful and you are already helping more people than you realize. It's always incredible and inspiring to see a woman who isn't afraid of a power tool and takes on a challenge to improve her life and finances for her family through real estate investing! Plus, it's fun to see you design and think outside the box! Your design solutions are super helpful and help us keep more pennies in the bank. :) So thank you so much for sharing your story and thank you for all you do as a health care professional on the front lines! You are truly amazing!

Forever Grateful,


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