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3 new (to me) hybrid Design/DIY blogs

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I’ve been reading blogs FOREVER, like 10 years (yes, I love the irony in that) and there are times when I know i’m just checking them because I always have. But lately (as in the last year) I’ve found some new ones (new to me) that you all should know and they are doing a lot of things really, really right.

These blogs bridge the gap between DIY blogs (which can be smart and resourceful, with lots of information and process shots but often not the best styling or inspiring photographs) and Interiors blogs or web-sites (which can have pretty photographs but often not a lot of information or process). To find blogs that have great ideas, information and pretty styling and photography is super rare.

And from one blogger to another trust me that creating this content takes so much time, effort, money and brain cells. It’s a legit JOB, and these guys are killing it at their careers.

Rosa Beltran Design. She is an LA based designer (Silverlake in fact) that just does really beautiful attainable room makeovers. I found her during the ‘One Room Challenge’ thing that produced a lot of good work (and a lot of mediocre, as well, but that’s kinda the fun of it). This is what she did:

It was a modern Parisian theme, for her sister and the amount of DIY’s in here are actually hard to spot because they don’t look like they could possibly be DIY’d. Just so pretty taste and not all mid-century so it’s just so refreshing to see (especially in LA, and yes, I’m talking to myself right now). Nice job, Rosa. Please continue to kill it.

Next is Design Confidential. Rayan creates these crazy smart build plans for tons of pretty and simple furniture. She includes materials needed, costs, step by steps with tons of really intricate measurements that are VERY impressive. You would think that she had an architectural background but I’m pretty sure she is just really smart and good at things. These are some of my favorites:

 

 

design-confidential

But it’s not all renderings, nay. She does normal design/style posts with some secrets and lots of resources.

People make her projects and share them on her blog. I think that these two shots are of hers. If I were ever to be someone who builds furniture (which is exactly what I wanted to do 12 years ago) I would be so psyched that Rayan exists to do the heavy thinking.

design-confidential-diy

All done with a real, engaging, down to earth voice.  Please check out Design Confidential.

Last up is Vintage Revival. Many of you probably know Mandi, but honestly I didn’t til last year so clearly not all of us are trolling new sites as often as we should be. Mandi does awesome makeovers, styled and shot beautifully. They are ambitious, smart and just so well done, with mistakes and all. Take The Nugget – a vintage airstream that was disgusting but now is this really amazing, beautiful little gem of a space. This is what she did to the kitchen area:

vintage-revivals

Ridiculous. And in that after photo you can barely even see the flooring which is one of the most spectacular things i’ve seen on a blog in a long time. I might steal that pattern for my bathroom surround. Check out Mandi’s blog, now.

There was a lot of hub bub 2 months ago about the death of the design blog (after YHL called it quits, sadly). The critics said that people (namely first generation bloggers who now have kids) were getting burned out, unable to keep up the projects and creating the content they did in their 20’s, and eventually closing their doors. Not only was there ‘blogger burnout’ conversation but many people claimed that people were leaving blogs and just trolling Pinterest. And some people have, and some blogs have suffered.

But Pinterest doesn’t show design process or personality, only blogs can do that. And these ladies are proving that as long as they remain a destination full of information, process, resources and personality with beautiful shots, they’ll grow and grow and become even more of a destination. But creating that content is insanely time-consuming and exhausting, so hopefully they’ll do what I wished YHL did, and hire help before said ‘burnout’ takes full force.

So my two questions are:

1. What are the other good design/decor/diy blogs that you guys can recommend? Especially the lesser known ones …

2. I realized that all three of these blogs use watermarks (logos in the corner of pictures). I’ve been on the fence for a while about that: it’s so great that the credit doesn’t get lost and where the idea originated is ALWAYS remembered (and therefore you get more traffic). But I also fear that it keeps larger websites from reposting photos (Lonny, Domaine, Domino, etc tend to stay away from Watermarked photos) and that people will pin them less, which is a huge source of traffic. But these watermarks don’t bug me at all and if a larger site wants to post your photos they should ask you for a high res photo and credit in the copy anyway, right? What are your thoughts on watermark? Does it make you pin it less? Or do you really care?

Check out Rosa Beltran Design, Design Confidential and Vintage Revival for good DIY and Design blogs.

Oh and be sure to check out Amber Interiors and Justina Blakeney who are less DIY (which is why they aren’t in the list above) but are  two really awesome inspiring interior design and styling blogs with great personality and photography.

Fin Mark
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I appreciate the watermarks. That way, if someone pins incorrectly, I can still find my way back to the site that originally posted the photo. I am a bit biased though. I’m an artist, and want to have all my online photos of my artwork watermarked to prevent theft of my artwork.

And, I’m super happy to see you featured Mandi. I love her blog, and have followed her for awhile. I could have sworn I found her awhile back from your blog, but maybe I’m just confused.

Emily

You probably did, but just the fact that she’s been around for like 4 years and I just found her last year or so is surprising, right?

I have been folllowing Rosa for awhile…she IS fabulous! Appreciate you filling us in on good ole design blogs. I didn’t even realize that YHL quit blogging. I lost all of the “faves” on my blog roll, so added others (including YOU!) Will check out the other two you mention.
Watermarking? Wish I had or would do it…but eh. I haven’t.

Amanda

Seconded! Love Rosa Beltran’s blog; it’s one of my favorites.

There are a few blogs that I read every single day no matter what. For sure my favorite is a mommy/design blog. Amanda from Dixie Delights has created a beautiful traditional home with a coastal twist. She also posts incredible information on Disney, DIY craft projects, and great kid activities/celebrations. Of course Centsational Girl is always on my radar, although she is really a big blogger. I have also been loving two fairly new blogs that I am going to keep my eye on: 11 Gables and The Heathered Nest.

Nancy! You are so sweet to mention my blog! Big hugs to you!!! You made my day! xox

Emily, here is my thought on watermarking… I am fairly new to blogging. I worked very hard at my home’s design and decor. One day soon after I started publishing my work on the blog, I came across an image of mine that someone else had watermarked with THEIR watermark. I literally cried and felt stolen from. I have made my watermark much smaller than when I first started blogging. Watermarking gave me a sense of ownership on my images. If a magazine really wants to use my work, of course they can contact me directly for an unwatermarked image. 🙂

Love this topic today!!!

xox,

Emily of Eleven Gables

Emily

WHAT??? someone else watermarked it? That IS a good case for watermarking, for sure. Good to know. And good luck with your blog. I’ll check it out now!

This happened to me too. Amidst my ugly crying, a glass of wine, and huffing and puffing, I typed an email to the (bigger) blogger (who shall remain nameless). Then 10 minutes later I edited it to sound less “Step off, bitch!” and more, “Hey, I’m super flattered, but what the heck??” Never heard back, and she left up the image. It’s all over Pinterest leading to her site.

Super infuriating.

I tried watermarks for a while, but I just like a clean photo, even if that means I get ripped off from time to time.

Manhattan nest!

Emily

Oh yes!!! I love them. Good call.

Stacy T

YES!!!

marina

Yellow brick Home!

zandi

I came to say the same thing! they were the first blog i got into (I even found YHL through them!) and love love love everything they do. they are a budget-friendly blog without being a budget blog, are totally upfront about sponsorships and how much the work really costs (time and money-wise) and are just the best.

http://www.yellowbrickhome.com/

Danielle

Me three for Yellow Brick Home…and Chris Loves Julia

Kathleen

I third this! Yellow Brick Home is great. Not only do they have great posts but they seem like great people.

Emily

So good to know. I think I used to have them on my radar but somehow lost track. Will check out again.

Oh my word. You guys made my day! So much love back at you.

I was going to chime in with a blog that I’ve been enjoying a lot in the last year: http://atreefor2.com/

Their pup is Jack’s twin (it’s what drew me in, not gonna lie!), she takes beautiful photos and their renovation on their “tree house” is just beyond inspiring!

Natalie Grace Wilson

I appreciate no watermarks. I understand the need to keep credit with the content creator, but I think it visually distracts from the image and I instinctually do not pin a watermarked image. Thanks for trusting us with you no-watermarked images!

Ditto!

Susie Q.

Agreed!

Kimberly

Well said!

Alexis

Agreed! I find that I don’t pin watermarked images, and as the owner of images online I don’t watermark for that reason. I often can find the source for images I pin by ctrl+clicking on the image and choosing “Search Google for this image” in order to give credit in the caption. But I’ll admit I don’t always take the time to do that : /

Hanna

I love 6th Street Design School, A beautiful Mess, Elements of Style, Desert Domicile, East Coast Creative, Little Green Notebook, The Handmade Home (a little more DIY)

Emily

Ooh, I don’t know some of these. Good to know. Of course, Jenny but i’ve featured her a lot and she’s so big, but always great.

I’m on the fence about watermarking my photos as well. I feel like it’s the smart thing to do, but then not sure how to integrate it into the photography of our projects and spaces without compromising the integrity of the composition. My current solution is to create an intro graphic using a representative project shot, sort of a visual summary of the post. That way, people can pin that image or the other non-textual images.

I’m a fan of Making it Lovely, Chris Loves Julia, and Design Improvised! All different, all really interesting.

Emily

Thats what I try to do. One photo at the beginning that I pin out and hopefully gets people back to the blog, but then the rest of the photos without watermarks. People are making a good case for them, though. Love making it lovely – don’t know the rest, good to know.

i tried watermarking and decided i just hated it on my pics…. i know i will lose out if images are stolen or pinned incorrectly, so it’s a catch 22, but in the end i want it off my pics.
thanks for the intro- rosa is new to me and off to check her out!
i love too many blogs that are amazing- the talent pool out there is HUGE. cuckoo4design, sarah dorsey designs, annabode, the gathered home, go haus go, bliss at home, a home full of color, and those are just a small percentage of the ones i love!

Emily

Woah, i don’t know ANY of those. thanks for sharing. will check out.

Thank you!!
I do a weekly blogger and their pet series on my blog and have been dreaming about having you, Bearcat and Mimi on it 😉
I had yellow brick home with their adorable gang in the series. I saw them mentioned above. Love them!

I prefer watermarked pics because I like to be able to quickly get to the original site to see more content. If the original Pin is compromised, the watermark may be the only way to identify the image owner. I really enjoy Kristen Krason, Jenny Komenda (Little Green Notebook), Thrifty Decor Chick and Emily A. Clark. TDC isn’t your aesthetic, but she does have great DIYs. 🙂

Kates

I think watermarks are great in being able to find the original source of any image. I find it very difficult when I pin an image and it isn’t tagged properly or even sourced properly on a blog. So essentially you have a blog, reposting from another blog which is too much. I pin regardless. I think it is only right that the designer/original blogger gets full credit for their shots. But if you don’t that is fine just make sure when you post the photo the notes field is filled out with the information. There is never too much information attached to a photo (in my opinion)! Excited to start following the new suggestions!

Jody

Great list, I have never heard of the first two but will definitely check them out. Mandi from Vintage Revivals is SO great, I’m glad she made your list.

The end of the YHL blog was a bummer, I read it every day and agree it would have been awesome if they could have managed to keep it going by hiring help or something. Blog audiences can get pretty demanding with the frequency of posts and the content they want all while hating on sponsored posts – like bloggers are not doing this for a living?! I don’t get it and I think it adds to blogger burnout.

I just started following The Makerista, I like her writing and decorating style. Also, I miss The Brick House 🙁

Jody

I forgot about Sarah Dorsey, she has some pretty incredible DIYs and good style: http://sarahmdorseydesigns.blogspot.com/

You’re sweet to mention me, Jody, thanks!

I really love Manhattan Nest as well.

I’ve noticed the blogger burnout across all channels of blogs (lifestyle, fashion, etc.). I think there’s this weird pull of people wanting to read genuine blogs that are never sponsored and bloggers needing to sponsor to keep up the blog.

Emily

Yep. Its hard. But its all about good content and the audience will stay (I hope). xx

Tracy

Door Sixteen is great! Anna’s got a punk/goth Scandinavian style that she integrates beautifully with restoring her Victorian home. Rosa lost me with her plumbing pipe shelving unit – so many bloggers saying they “designed” this Brick House creation. I mean I guess she measured it out? It’s just so misleading … Like the watermark question – credit should be given where credit is due.

Emily

Yeah, she is awesome. So big that I didn’t include her but she really does beautiful things and I like her vibe.

I really like Manhattan Nest, Door Sixteen, and Honey Kennedy (the last one is not DIY, but a neat blog with fashion and other interesting items). Nordic Design, A Merry Mishap, and 47 Park Avenue are great, too.

I still miss YHL. Still half hoping they’ll come back.

Emily

I like all of those, although I didn’t know 47 Park Avenue. Good to know!

Hannah Rose

Watermarks don’t bother me at all! Take credit for all that amazing work you do!

kelly

Thanks for sharing, I’ve never heard of the first two but I read Mandi all the time. I browse designsponge and apartmenttherapy, but I don’t think those are considered blogs. I found you and Mandi around the same time, a few years ago –I think from Pinterest. I can’t remember the first blog post I read of yours but I remember thinking, this girl is hilarious, I want to read her all the time. And I became obsessed. I think you kept comparing things to Ryan Gosling or something.
PS, The watermarks don’t bother me at all. I don’t even notice them.

Emily

Ha. THANK YOU. xx

thea

if its small and unobtrusive, watermark until the cows come home! I didnt even notice the watermarks on these until you pointed them out. I get annoyed when I can’t find an original post via a pin or tumblr image click through, so watermarks are always helpful. and I agree, if lonny, domino, etc. really want to use it, they should contact you for an unwatermarked copy of the image.

Karen

Yellow Brick Home! Love that one. I also love the Inspired Room – not much DIY, but a very comfortable style.

Alicia

Great suggestions! Thank you!

I am honestly just about over Pinterest except to pin images to my personal boards directly from my favorite blogs. There is just too much junk. Maybe I am using it incorrectly. But I definitely appreciate and prefer a curated blog. It is so much about the designer and their process for me, not just quick eye candy. Thank you for your blog!

Emily

I kinda agree. If I have a use – like for projects (but often those are secret boards anyway) then its good. But i’ve stopped trolling just looking for random pretty things these days.

These are all some of my faves! I also really enjoy House of Earnest and House Tweaking.

Emily

Oh yes, i love House of earnest. I forgot about house tweaking. will check out!

2 thumbs up for these two — both on my daily reads. Also enjoy Deuce Cities Henhouse

zandi

i actually didn’t even notice the watermarks until you pointed them out. i think if they’re small/not ugly they don’t bother me.

i even appreciate them when i repin something that actually was pinned from tumblr/just by the photo url since it saves me the frustration of trying to reverse google image search or typing in ridiculous queries just to figure out, say, where the rug in the photo is from.

Emily I love your blog and I have been a fan of Mandi’s for a while now but I have to admit I have not read the other two (I will now) always love to find a great blog.

I have been blogging about a year and a half and do not watermark my photos. If I share another blogs photo I also prefer it not be watermarked (this is purely aesthetic since I source my photos whenever possible.) I find watermarks distracting and sometimes just plain ugly. Although watermarks can help with sourcing they are time consuming to add, they can be cropped out by others and if I change my logo I now have a bunch of photos with out of date watermarks. I don’t see all the extra effort being that much of an advantage. I have also read that watermarked photos are shared less frequently across social networks. But that is just my perspective. Now I can take all that time I would have spent watermarking reading awesome blogs!

Emily

Thats what I thought, but I think that people are right – if they are small and look nice then it really doesn’t bother me. I’m getting more convinced.

Heather

I love Yellow Brick Home. DIY Diva is a fun one to read as well since she is a single girl who does some amazing work while raising chickens and mini donkeys. 😉

Just FYI: Mandi didn’t overhaul an Airstream, it is a Bell Travel Trailer.

Emily

WHAT. mini donkeys? WHAT????
And i’ll edit the bell travel thing. It was late. I was watching Prince Farming. 🙂

mandi continually kills it. she’s one blogger who i never tire of seeing featured, and deserves all the traffic that comes her way. good for her. i watermark, but i feel unless it’s plastered clear across the page, if someone wants to crop it out, they can. most people put it somewhere inconspicuous, but easily crop-able.
b

Margaret

I long since abandoned Pinterest, but I can say that when I did use it, I did not mind the watermarks, nor do I mind them now – in fact, when I see something I like, it encourages me to check out that person’s blog so I think it does help those bloggers not only get credit, but hopefully also boosts their readership.

I really enjoy Making It Lovely, Manhattan Nest, and Our Home Abode – and moreso for lifestyle reading, Semiproper and Bower Power. Roo and Katie are charming and funny women. And Nicole Balch’s Victorian home over at Making It Lovely is a refreshing challenge to follow when there are so many MSM focused blogs out there. And all of these blogs post at a reasonable pace, so I feel like they actually have lives, which I appreciate.

Emily

Agreed. I like all of them, except I didn’t know about Semiproper. Good to know.

Alyssa

Are you referring to Our Humble Abode? I’ve never heard of Our Home Abode, but am following the kitchen remodel on Our Humble Abode. Manhattan Nest is also a favorite. Daniel is hilarious! Other favorites are Yellow Brick Home and Pure Style Home/Lauren Liess. Beautiful designs and great people.

Love finding fresh blogs to follow! I agree with Cassie, Sarah M. Dorsey is a fabulous mix of perfect DIYs and gorgeous styling. Also love Little Green Notebook!

And watermarking… such a toughie! I really don’t like them on my photos but don’t want my photo getting lost, either. Such a hard decision that I can’t make up my mind about.

Laura

Manhattan Nest is killing it. I like that he doesn’t post all of the time, because when he does it is filled with a ton of content and great writing. As an architect I appreciate all of the technical details he includes about gutting and renovating his house (and the new cottage). But also his style and taste is amazing.

I also read house tweaking, door sixteen, and brooklyn limestone. Chezerbey still posts once in awhile and I always enjoy her work. I also miss the brick house.

As far as non-design blogs go, I read ohdeardrea (lifestyle) and thesmallthingsblog (beauty/fashion).

Thanks for this post! I am always looking for new reads.

Emily

All those blogs are up my alley (except I didn’t know thesmallthingsblog). But I need to check the others more. I used to ALL the time, but kinda got out of the habit!

Katie

Little Green Notebook is eclectic and refreshing.

Lauren

Ditto to everyone else’s recommendation of Manhattan Nest. Especially if you’re a lover of old houses and seeing them restored to their former glory.

For accessible, classic, preppy style done well, check out Simply Seleta. I have a major crush on her design aesthetic. Her house has been published in Southern Living.

So excited that Rosa is on your list! We have been working with her over the past year on our Year of Change Challenge and that girl has mad skills! She can DIY just about anything and her rooms are always styled perfectly (and photographed so well). I can’t wait to see where Rosa goes as her career takes off- it will be beautiful whatever it is!

Kari

I’m so desperately about Door Sixteen and Manhattan Nest. They are everything. They give amazing in-depth DIY and restoration information that makes me feel educated enough to tackle my own home (something “project” sites don’t give). The only bummer is that they don’t post mega consistently. I wait breathlessly every morning (drama? yeah) to see if they have something to give.
When they don’t, I still (really) enjoy Yellow Brick Home, Chris Loves Julia and Vintage Revivals – even if their styling choices are a little off from mine. Still amazing sites.

Nina D

Red House West

Two friends, one in the PNW the other in Alaska, staying in touch through their blogging. Warm, creative, often hilarious, lots of DIY. I think (not sure) they were new last year, and so the mood is pretty small and intimate. I guess what you’d expect a blog about and by two old friends to be.

The whole YHL thing…I think they handled it badly. I miss them, but the way they just sorta pulled up stakes so suddenly really colors how I feel about their blog over all. I was surprised not to read a lot about it during the aftermath. Guess I don’t know where the cool kids hang out on the interweb!

Laura

There is a lot of commentary on YHL on GOMI.

Thanks for the Vintage Revival recommendation. It’s been a long time (since I found your blog) that I’ve wanted to sit down and read someone’s entire site!

Emma

I am not a blogger, just a pinner, and watermarks do not bother me at all. Especially not unobtrusive ones like these. I didn’t even notice the last one until I went back and looked. So go ahead and own your content!

Teresa

These blogs are great! I’m always looking for new design/DIY blogs to follow–especially one with before and after renovation pictures! My new favorite blog is The Grit and Polish at:

http://www.thegritandpolish.com

Cathy is great and her kitchen before and after pictures should not be missed! Hard to believe she does much of the work herself with a baby in tow.

Thanks for mentioning my blog, Teresa! That is about the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to/about me….totally made my day!

Amie

Watermark away! In a Pinterest world, you need to make sure you get the credit for your work, or your images will end up as a dead link.

I think it’s great that you have help with your business and your online content. It must really hard to make that decision to ask for help in a space that was previously personal. But for the sake of growth, both in your family and business, it’s important.

jeannette

yeah, i was always curious why YHL didn’t hire a couple of interns and/or a nanny.

Emma

Also, I don’t really understand why everyone is so upset about YHL. Yes, it was a great blog that I miss, but people’s lives and goals change. Could they have handled it more delicately? Sure. But I think it is pretty selfish for the rest of us to be giving them such crap for making a tough and very personal decision. Or am I missing part of the picture?

Nina D

Hi, Emma,

I am not upset about YHL or giving them crap. Just saying the way they handled the kiss off was poorly done. They asked people for honest feedback and, it seemed, when they got a lot more honesty than they had perhaps bargained for, they simply picked up their marbles and didn’t want to play any more. And as much as I admired their blog and their abilities and talents, that affected my on-going perception of the whole enterprise in retrospect. That’s all. I’ll live! 🙂

Ditto (or triple) for Manhattan Nest! House Tweaking and A Country Farmhouse are some of my favorites too. I love blogs and all the personality that comes across in posts (and doesn’t on Pinterest)…I for one will be reading them until I’m old and gray. I’m not a huge fan of watermarks, but if they’re small and tasteful they don’t distract too much.

carolyn

Manhattan Nest is one of my favorites in general, mainly because the author is hilarious. It’s such a good balance of details and DIY info (that I may never actually use, but still), a bit of design when he gets around to completing a space and my favorite – just the nitty gritty stories of renovating (since it’s mainly personal projects he really doesn’t hold anything back). I would recommend going back in time and reading from the start (at least from the start of their home purchase), because it really reads like one long story, kind of a renovation reality show in blog form.

Lori

I love Remodelholic. They do some absolutely amazing work.

I think Architectural Digest does watermarks really well. They just put a simple “AD” in the right-hand corner of their photos. I like their subtle watermarks, especially when trying to find the original source of a photo on Pinterest. I think the hang-up with watermarks are when a blogger tries to add a cutesy logo that ends up taking over 1/3 of the photo.

Try to just add a simple “EH” to your photos and see if there is a huge fall in traffic. I doubt their will be.

*there will be.

I love Manhattan Nest, Door Sixteen, House Tweaking, Yellow Brick Home, and Sarah M Dorsey Designs!

Vicki

OK Checked them all out. Some nice stuff but i gotta tell you…You rock. Still my favorite, hands down. In content, ease of finding stuff, et al. Thanks and Happy New yea!

Tricia

I don’t mind the watermarks on these images, and if a magazine is doing their job correctly, and I hope they are, they would ask for a hi res image and give the originator credit! Now, sometimes people put huge distracting watermarks or logos on their images and that drives me crazy.

Well aren’t you a dear! Thank you for the kind mention, my friend. <3

I love checking out Jenna Sue Design http://jennasuedesign.blogspot.com/

She has a really beautiful rustic/modern style and some great DIYs as well.

Hill

Oh I love Jenna Sue!!! That girl has such an eye for design.

I also really love blogs that are rough around the edges and show real life, Domestic Imperfection is an example. It’s hard to find blogs where the undercurrent isn’t buy, buy, buy.

Lexi

I love Vintage Revivals! I also read Little Green Notebook (love her use of bright color), Dans le Lakehouse (recently found her turquoise kitchen) and Yellow Brick Home (they make over amazing vintage pieces they are the new YHL, for sure). Making it Lovely (a little less now), Sarah M Dorsey (she’s a standout and takes the DIY blog thing to a whole other level) and A Beautiful Mess of course. I think A Beautiful Mess might be my favorite of these ones because they have a whole team and post many times a day. They make my work day suck less. I really miss Young House Love though because they left a whole in my coffee breaks so I wish they’d come back even if it was just for a post or two a week. I need more YHL replacements. Of course I love your blog too.

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