Syd and Shea grew up in very different places and with very different life philosophies. Syd was raised in a very laidback California family that always told him he could do anything, and not necessarily need a college degree to achieve it. His family and friends were open-minded about the fact that success wasn’t necessarily a result of years of studying. They encouraged Syd to follow his dreams and just do what he wanted.
As for Shea, she had a more conservative upbringing in Utah. Shea was taught from an early age that going to college and getting a degree was essential for success later in life – and that’s exactly what she did. What’s amazing is that despite their differing views about life, Shea and Syd made it work.
Shea’s Brother Introduced Her to Syd McGee
When Shea McGee made the journey to Utah from Texas to help her brother move to a new apartment in 2006, her brother warned her: don't fall for his roommate Syd. But fate had other plans! As soon as she arrived and saw him in that parking lot, it was like love at first sight.
The feeling seemed to be mutual; Syd noticed right away how well their music tastes matched and asked boldly for Shea's number despite having an audience of family and friends. After just one date together the next day, these two were inseparable; now known all around our TVs with their "Dream Home Makeover" show on Netflix. They got married in 2008.
Their First Apartment
Shortly after their beautiful wedding in Utah, Shea and Syd made the move to California and rented their first-ever apartment in Laguna Beach. They were both in their early twenties and had very little savings, so they settled for a one-bedroom apartment that you would never believe belonged to world-famous design pros.
Shea remembers that it wasn't much, but it was theirs and they loved it. The design queen could only afford second-hand Ikea furniture and resorted to painting the few walls of the place herself. The McGees explain that the apartment was so small that if you stood at the front door, you could see the entire place without moving an inch.
Neither of the McGees Studied Interior Design
Syd and Shea McGee may be two of the hottest names in interior design, but shockingly neither one has a degree from an art or design school or any background in the field. It was only after studying Public Relations at Brigham Young University that Shea finally mustered up enough courage (thanks largely to Syd) to pursue her dream.
Despite working full-time in public relations, she couldn't contain her passion for decorating — obsessively pouring over design magazines during what little free time she had left. Now, all these years later, they are leading forces in the modern home makeover industry thanks to their hit Netflix show "Dream Home Makeover".
Syd Encouraged Shea
After some loving encouragement and inspiration from Syd, Shea decided to dedicate most of her time to interior design and enrolled in some introductory classes at a community college. When she realized that it was possible for her to test out the industry without leaving her job, Shea got the idea to start her own design studio.
Although she may wish sometimes that she had dived into interiors earlier, enrolling in school helped hone other skills necessary for business growth which were vital when starting up — like promoting herself and marketing savvy — which paid off as discussed with Guy Kawasaki on his podcast "Remarkable People".