Once upon a time, there was a couple who argued over the placing of an outlet. Though they ditched the project for the day, they did complete their work in the end. Now they do much more than brilliant restorations, crafts, and flips: PJ and Thomas McKay have become an ever-so-sought-after, “perfect” couple as they work toward their own happily ever after.
They became known as co-stars on Down to the Studs, a show on HGTV that unfortunately didn’t make it past the pilot. PJ, however, felt it "opened up doors that none of us thought it would.”
The show led into a second opportunity with the online series, Clash of the Crafters. The couple was featured on one of the five initial episodes, enhancing their presence within a newfound fame.
However the couple feels they are more “influencers” than famous. When asked if they ever imagined their social media presence would grow into what it has, Thomas said, “I don’t think so. We certainly didn’t have any idea it would go this far….”
The McKays first boom on social media began with posts showing projects they completed together, photographs, and anecdotes about themselves—whom some now refer to and idolize as “Golden Gods” of true love and relationships.
This power couples’ history dates all the way back to their being born and raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, where they still reside. Although they attended the same schools their entire lives, with PJ having five years on Thomas, they weren’t in the same classes. They were both blindly unaware, as they walked the same halls, that they would one day be building halls of their own together.
Having initially met at a mutual friend’s in 2009, they didn’t begin dating until 2010. The end of PJ’s prior relationship made the fairytale ending of his and Thomas’ story possible.
After the break-up of a three year relationship, PJ sent Thomas a Facebook message to reconnect. Two days later, Thomas showed up at PJ’s with flowers, and what he thought was PJ’s favorite ice cream. This turned into a late night of getting to know each other and sharing their goals for the future until 4:00 AM in the morning, and lead to the guys…
Just kidding, Thomas gladly slept in the guestroom. Early the next morning when PJ was departing for work, he first wrote a little note to Thomas on a torn envelope that they still possess and treasure to this day.
While this encounter started a life-long project, the building process wasn’t perfect. PJ, having a recent break-up, was concerned that his relationship with Thomas might be moving too fast. Regardless, while both were conscious of the haste of their relationship growth, they both agreed, “With such a connection it was hard to take it slow.”
However, after pouring the concrete for four years, Thomas and PJ temporarily paused their relationship during the summer of 2014, due to mutual differences. Not ready to scrap the project, though, they resumed construction of their life together before the cement could dry, resuming in October 2014.
At that point it was clear to Thomas, “I thought if we were getting back together, this is it. We’re going to be with each other forever.” It wasn’t long after this that Thomas took it to the final level by proposing on Christmas night, 2014.
“For me I had always envisioned being the one to ask,” PJ said. So, in March, PJ did just that on Thomas’ birthday while the couple was in NYC. He explained, “In New York, it was so obvious that Thomas was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.” They would later marry on October 17, 2015.
While building a “buzz” in the media, PJ and Thomas took on more than just ratings, followers, likes, comments, etc. They painted themselves into a corner to become a beacon of true happiness for a group made up not merely of fans, but students, if you will. Again, the guys feel they are more “influencers” than famous, and they make good on that by being an inspiring example to follow and learn from.
Thomas and PJ, with their ultimate love, help people learn that not all is lost out there. This moved the masses to contact the McKays, letting them know just what their influence put into motion in many lives.
PJ described this experience of admiration, “Hearing hundreds of people say that you helped them come out or want to be in healthier productive relationships,” has affected him personally. He explained, “Knowing what people go through, it really puts it into perspective how lucky we are to have such a close relationship.”
Thomas added, “It goes back to meeting people from many different walks of life…” that has helped them make such an impact in peoples’ lives.
Currently, the boys are still working on flips and design. “The plan before the show which is the plan now,” PJ said, “is that Thomas will leave his 9-5 to help me flip houses.” Thomas has been a realtor for several years; however, he would like to host a show if given the opportunity.
Thomas and PJ let out of the bag that they are currently working on obtaining a 20 acre plot of land on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. The deal is expected to finalize as this article goes to print. Their undisclosed intentions for the property will be unveiled in 2018. Thomas simply said that they “want to ensure everything is going as planned before announcing.”
Thomas did hint that the project will be the culmination of a 10 year dream of PJ’s. For all those that know the couple personally, I hope that gives you a better idea as to what these guys are up to.
Meanwhile, PJ and Thomas McKay will continue to work together towards mutual goals build with their love that which the big bad wolf couldn’t blow down. Here’s to building that fairytale!