John and Whitney Spinks have been together most of their lives. They met in middle school in Indiana, when they were 14, and John says he was still afraid of “girl cooties.” They dated through high school, and John joined the Navy in 2008. They married and moved to Jacksonville in 2010, and purchased their new home one year later.

It was a typical boy meets girl story, until John was deployed overseas. While he was gone, Whitney started Drab to Fab Design, an online blog about interior design, which is her passion.

After John left the Navy, he went into the construction business. The couple enjoyed doing a few do-it-yourself renovations and improvements to their home, with Whitney providing the interior design, and John providing the construction. In the meantime, Whitney continued her do-it-yourself interior design blog. In late 2013, her blog caught the attention of HGTV’s new show “Flipping the Block” – a competition among four skilled teams of two to execute room-by-room renovations in a dilapidated condo for a chance at a $50,000 cash prize. Thousands applied to be on the show, but Whitney and John made the cut. They didn’t win, but when the filming finished, they realized it was the right time to start their own business, in part because the show generated significant local response. In April of 2014, 27 South Design Group opened for business.



How to Make a House Number Sign

Materials needed:


Several tiles

A piece of wood (sized large enough to show your house number)

Miniwax English Chestnut stain

Mancala marbles

Clear construction adhesive


1. Trace out your house number on the wood in pencil.
2. Stain the wood with the Miniwax and let dry.
3. Hammer tiles into little pieces.
4. Arrange the pieces on the wood with adhesive, in the shape of your house number.
5. Add color around each number with the marbles.
6. Hang or post the sign.

They truly are a team and agree that they work well together. “We grew up together and lived very similar lives,” John says. “We set goals and work together. Working through a small do-it-yourself project helps prepare the relationship for more serious issues. It’s good practice for things that really matter.”

“We respect each other’s ideas,” Whitney says. “And the experience of having a husband who was deployed makes you value your time together.”

We asked them to come up with a fun home DIY project for a couple to do together over a weekend. What better way to enjoy Valentine’s Day than to bond over a creative project with your partner!

To learn more about what this dynamic duo does, visit their website at