Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

3 new (to me) hybrid Design/DIY blogs

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:

rosa-beltran-blog

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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

    1. 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/

      1. 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!

  5. 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!

    1. 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 : /

  6. 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)

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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!

      1. 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!

  9. 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. 🙂

  10. 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!

  11. 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 🙁

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

    1. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

    1. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

    1. 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! 🙂

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

    1. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. Great post! I can’t really add to your awesome list of bloggers to check out. Plus, the previous commenters have already mentioned the other sites I enjoy. But I so appreciate you letting us know some of YOUR faves. I just wanted to comment to make sure you knew that I loved the post. As for watermarking, I have never noticed this, but it sounds like a hassle among bloggers. Maybe just watermark the ones that matter, like the “after” pics? Now to bookmark this post…

  40. hi, love a lot of the blogs mentioned above. And thanks for some new ones.

    A great diy blog I read is addicted2decorating. Kristi is one amazing gal. She has tackled some heavy projects especially her green kitchen. Truly stunning. She posts daily and her instructions are detailed. She’s on a budget and what she can make is inspiring. Check her out. Cheers

  41. I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now, but only recently began putting more effort into and using original photos in a lot of posts. I hadn’t thought about watermarking, but I’m glad you brought it up. I’m not really against them, if anything they tend to make an image look more professional as a lot of magazines use them.

  42. I’ll put my hand in for the watermarks. I hate finding a really inspirational photo that isn’t credited properly (pinterest + tumblr, I’m looking at you guys) and then going down this weird reverse search root to find where it came from and if there’s more inspo where it came from. A light, subtle watermark just brings you right there.

  43. One of my favorite bloggers is Jackie at Teal and Lime (www.tealandlime.com). She has really great tutorials about design topics like mixing patterns, choosing paint colors for you home based on the undertones in your current fixed elements etc as well as very accessible DIYs. I highly recommend her blog if you are not aware of it.

    For the record, I love watermarks on blog images. When I find an inspiring image, I ALWAYS go back to the original post and that watermark is so helpful in figuring out the original blogger.

  44. Whatever happened to The Brick House (Morgan Satterfield)? I miss that blog SO MUCH!! Emily, do you know if she’s ok?

    I need more DIY remodel blogs to fill the YHL hole! I really hope Grace Bonney goes that direction with her new old house.

  45. House Tweaking, Smitten Studio, LaLaLovely, The Hunted Interior, 6th Street Design School, and yours of course are my daily reads…Amber interiors as well, glad you mentioned her.

  46. I love The Makerista! She’s pretty new to the blogging world but growing fast! She does some beautiful designs, shes a really great seamstress and crafter, and her photography is on point!

    Not sure how I feel about watermarks. I mean, I get the point. We don’t complain when a painter signs their canvas do we? So, I do think it’s a way to “sign” your own designs but sometimes I think it can take away from the images a bit.

  47. The blogs I read EVERY DAY are Emily Henderson (of course), LGN, and Vintage Revivals. Blogs I check out periodically include HOUSE*TWEAKING, Dans le Lakehouse, Go Haus Go, and A Beautiful Mess. I also drop in on Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy, tho’ I don’t know if those count as blogs per se.

    I absolutely love the design blog world. I discovered LGN at the end of 2013 (via The Homies) and quickly became obsessed. I can’t believe we can access all of this amazing content for free. I can certainly see why bloggers might find burn out a problem–the amount of work involved looks staggering. Yet another reason why it’s so amazing that we readers can peruse for free!

  48. Emily, please check out The Cavender Diary! I love these guys. It’s a mix of DIY, décor, drink recipes (adult beverages) and just all around awesomeness! I think one of the guys works or worked for Ralph Lauren. Great photos, great writing, terrific directions — what’s not to like?

    http://thecavenderdiary.com/

    And gotta put in yet another vote for Manhattan Nest, too.

  49. I love all these blog suggestions!

    As far as watermarks, I think it matters what the purpose of the images are, and therefore the audience. I feel they are more likely to be distracting on interiors photos and less likely on DIY photos: when I pin DIYs I NEED to know where it came from. When I pin a beautiful inspiration room, I want an obstructed view of its loveliness.

  50. What an informative and generous post! I am so excited to read Rosa Beltran’s blog. I am familiar with the others you mentioned…Mandi is FANTASTIC…that brain of hers goes in the most interesting directions, and she is a rare find. I replicated one of her “sharpie” walls, which has now married my husband’s beloved western painting and we are living happily every after with that!
    Funny you should mention Amber and Justina, as I just posted a response on the Chairish instagram this morning trying to guess who would be their “mystery” designer shopper at the Rose Bowl Flea this weekend (most everybody mentioned you – I was trying to muster another guess). They are all fantastic.
    What I’d love to find is a blog that “mixes it up” a bit more. Some are outstanding for boho, mid-century modern or classic design. Me…I love pretty much all of it and I’d like to see something more eclectic (like Rosa). The closest I’ve seen is Jenny’s Little Green Notebook blog (not exactly undiscovered). I’ve been watching Centsational Girl (would like MORE mid-century stuff from her), and I think Sarah M. Dorsey Designs has great instincts. I look forward to reading the comments above and discovering some great new blogs! Great post, Emily. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  51. This is a really great idea Emily, thanks for sharing, I’ve been looking for some new blogs to follow!As soon as I’m done checking out these three blogs I’ll go exploring the websites mentioned in the comment section 🙂

    I really really really like Smitten Studio, everything Sarah does feels just right. You’re obviously welcome to check out my blog, I write about interior (& the renovation of our flat) as well as fashion & pop culture.

    To answer your second question, yes, a watermark would keep me from pinning… I think it clutters the image.

  52. Great topic Emily. I read your blog, little green notebook and YHL and was gutted when they left! Seems like Jenny is scaling back a little too which makes me sad. I’ve been looking for new blogs to fill the void so thanks for the suggestions!

  53. I’ve never thought about it before, but I think that I generally associate watermarks with a lower-rent look. I’ll still pin it if it’s useful info, but I won’t pin it just because it’s beautiful. (However, I pin a lot of not-that-beautiful stuff because I have a sort of different approach to Pinterest than most folks; I use it like bookmarks that happen to be public.)

  54. I read Victoria’s blog over at sfgirlbybay.com – she is likely going to be moving to LA soon…not so much DIY but she finds some very unique images from international sources, has a great eye and beautiful photographs.

    Personally, I love Jenny at MFAMB.com (my favorite and my best). Not so much DIY but if you appreciate her sense of humor, always a treat.

    So very glad to see you give a shout out to Amber – I love her style and she has a wicked sense of humor. Like you she is running a business and blogging about that craziness and how it impacts life as a mother and wife. She tells it like it is and takes lots of risks. Love her.

    I was interested to read the story about blogging “slog” in NY Times but I don’t think blogging is going away. I can see why some bloggers hang it up – I don’t know that it is a lifetime gig for most people – but I think blogging is here to stay. Too many of us love the visual candy, the ideas and the connection to someone’s style and personality to stop reading . As seen here with your post and the comments – there are still fresh new places to go to – as well as the staples – like your blog!

  55. Thank you for this post! I feel like maybe this was written just for me… I asked for this in your reader survey 🙂 Anyways, I always appreciate finding new design and DIY blogs to peruse (after I am finished reading your latest post, that is).

  56. I think you should get credit for your work, but agree that watermarks are a bummer when I want to pin a beautiful photograph.

    SUGGESTION: Instead of putting the watermark over the photograph and thus covering up part of your work, what if you added it like a text photo credit underneath the photo in the lower right, like you see in a magazine — but the text would be saved as part of the image, not as an actual caption. It could either be on white, or you could put it on a colored band to preserve the boxiness of the overall image.

  57. Some people I love to follow that I don’t see mentioned are Angela @ The Painted House and Albertina @ Mimosa Lane. Also Christine Dovey and Jamie @ Design Daredevil. These are all a bit less minimal/mcm, but I think it’s great fun to follow people who do any and all design well.

    As far as watermarks go, I do watermark things that are my “work” per se, but I think as long as it’s done tastefully most people don’t notice or take any issue with it. I’ve had instances of people taking entire blog posts and claiming them as their own, but at least my brand is getting out there a bit through the images. 🙂

    This was a fun post, thanks for sharing!

  58. Psyched to be on your list Emily! Thanks for the shout-out and for taking notice. Today I was all like “huh?” when the waves of new Instagram followers started rolling in. Mystery solved 🙂 From one East side LA mom/designer/DIY decorista/blogger to another … YOU certainly rock it too lady!

    Rosa

  59. Hauswitch does some pretty amazing stuff for some unbelievably cheap prices. Also, Reading my Tea Leaves is not DIY or design, but has a beautiful aesthetic.

  60. Little House Big City!

    It’s a really fresh perspective on DIY and design. The blogger lives in a row house in D.C., which has it’s challenges when you’re talking DIY, reno, and design, but you’d never know it when you see what she’s managed to do so far.

    That, and she has fun time-lapse videos of her BIG projects so you can see the DIY in action.

    http://www.littlehousebigcity.com/

    That, and the writing is on point.

  61. Art of doing stuff….she is hilarious! And I love her chickens!

    Manhatten Nest, Brooklyn Limestone, 4 Men and a Lady (But she has scaled back),Jones Design Company, White Buffalo Styling Company.

  62. I’m all for watermarks as long as they aren’t loud! Sometimes I do think about how I’d rather keep it clean and not put one on, but then I’ll come across a pin of my image with a dead link (uploaded by user without a source link) and I feel WAY better that my watermark is at least there!! There are some who have taken my images and removed the watermark themselves, but having to go through that effort I believe reduces how much image stealing happens. And you’re right, if ever a publication wanted a watermark-free image, they emailed me.

  63. I’m so glad you put this post up, Emily! It’s always so exciting to get new recommendations. I read design/diy blogs daily but only started a little over a year ago. Ones I’d add to the list that I check out regularly are handmade charlotte (esp for kids and diy), cocoon home, apartment 34, and lark&linen.

  64. I read so many blogs that it would be impossible to list all of my favorites! Many are already listed but I love the DIYs on A Beautiful Mess, A lovely Lark is bright and colorful and inspiring, I love the ‘living with kids’ series on Design Mom that show beautiful homes around the world, I like looking at all the eclectic homes featured on Morning’s Light and Design Attractor always inspires.
    Watermarks have never bothered me. I barely notice them and think that photos should be credited properly.
    Love your blog Emily! Your style is killer.

  65. I love Kate at Centsational Girl, Sarah Dorsey, and lately I’ve been loving to read through http://jennasuedesign.blogspot.com/. We are hoping to buy a home next year and her style is similar to mine, and I love all her tutorials.

    Watermarks are awesome. No one questions when an artist signs their paintings, and as you can’t sign someone’s living room wall after designing a space, watermarking photos is the next best thing.

  66. I just popped over to check out Rose Beltran Design, who I had never heard of, and she lost me pretty much with the first post I read. She credits herself with designing the now almost iconic plumbing shelf, when I remember The Brick House posting her Plumbing shelf five years ago, which she says she copied from the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs!
    Not Cool.

    1. Awww come on now … just because I used a plumbing pipe shelving unit doesn’t mean I think I invented it. Sure it’s been done before (I’m a huge Morgan Satterfield/The Brick House fan too), but the semi-industrial vibe of that style of shelving just lends itself so perfectly to our vintage industrial loft space that it didn’t make sense to use anything else. I’ll tell you what … stick around for the final reveal and you might just decide you like me again! 🙂

      xo, Rosa

      1. I appreciate you responding and I am glad to hear that you don’t feel you designed the plumbing shelf. Maybe I misunderstood your wording.
        I’ll have a second look for sure!
        Happy New Year

  67. OMGosh please, please watermark! Bloggers, such as yourself, who have the energy, dedication and drive to produce content deserve to retain lasting credit. Furthermore, artists, photographers, writers, etc deserve to have their work attributed. Forever.
    WHY is copywrite is so lax in the blogosphere?
    There is a ‘blogger’, DesignHunterLA, who with the only exception of repetitive ridiculous pictures of her shoes, continuously and shamelessly posts the work of others. No credit, ever. And when she is complimented on ‘her photography’ she offers neither credit correction nor clarification. Her defense is she didn’t know she should. “Oh my God, sorry, sorry.” But she absolutely does, and does it anyway.
    Please, blog readers, consume and ‘follow’ responsibly and with your eyes open. Do not support those that steal and present other’s work as if it were their own.
    There is another designer using my interiors on her website….to get work!
    If we all watermark, this thievery is moot. And the question of watermarking is no longer a question. It is a standard.
    Also please know that people want to know the original source. When I see really good work floating out there, I WANT to know the mind behind it. It’s personally important for me to be aware of and value the original creator.

    1. Agree wholeheartedly! I have had too many photos stolen by people who make money on them, had watermarks removed and replaced, etc. Maybe for the bigger bloggers who make tons of money it’s not an issue, but for someone like me, watching someone else make money on my work is devastating. And I could also care less if the watermark is “distracting,” and it makes no difference in whether I pin the photo. I get really tired of seeing other people have their work stolen as well. I prefer to to know where the work came from.

  68. Yes, watermark. So many attributions are lost as images travel around online, and it’s terrible. And Domaine, Domino, etc SHOULD ask you for the high-res original; if they don’t, that’s lazy.

  69. I say watermark everything. Nothing is free, not even inspiration. The designer/blog writer that created it should always get credit. Plus, the watermark helps me to find the original content and read it if someone repins without linking properly.

  70. Two that haven’t been mentioned yet is BowerPowerBlog and DreamGreenDIY. Katie Bower delivers her posts with personality (like her BFF Sherry from YHL). Her and her husband have recently started Bower Power Build Offs which are great! Carrie Waller has a great range of DIYs and loves anything vintage almost as much as you do. I might be a little biased seeing she only lives like 45 minutes away from in Lynchburg, VA!

  71. Sarah M. Dorsey Designs and Danillele Oakey Interiors are always on my peruse list for their beautifully detailed projects and bright, fresh designs and home furnishing sources.

  72. Yellow Brick Home is great, and so is Vintage Revivals for sure. There are so many good lesser known’s out there. Thanks for sharing and boosting bloggers!

    A newer one I’m catching onto and maybe doesn’t always have the best photos at times is Flipping the Flip. Fun read! The address is http://humboldtartdept.blogspot.com.

  73. I like watermarks personally. I scroll pinterest for design photos a lot and end up having to google image search pictures constantly to find sources which is annoying.

  74. Thanks for the recommendations! I love Vintage Revivals but haven’t checked out the other blogs until now. I’m also a fan of Little Green Notebook, The Makerista, Inspired by Charm, and House*Tweaking.

  75. So glad to see you mention Mandi, I’ve been reading her blog since her very first post!

    Call me silly but the YHL thing makes me so sad. I was devastated when they called it quits and I do feel like it left a big hole in my blog list.

    That said, there are obviously so many that are still amazing and I hope they will continue to be that while doing what they need to find balance. The design/DYI blogs I check daily are: Yours :), Vintage Revivals, Little Green Notebook, A Beautiful Mess, and Bower Power. All are very different which I love! I will need to check out the other two you called out!

  76. The only blogs I consistently read have true wit as well as interesting content. design-crisis.com and mfamb.com are far and away my faves.

  77. Wow, thank you so much for probably the sweetest write-up ever! This made my year for sure! Big huge appreciative (and glowing) hugs from up north! Xx
    P.s. Mandi is one of my faves in real life so it is lovely to be mentioned alongside her sweet self. I met Rosa briefly at ALT last winter and she is also quite adorable, what good company!

  78. Housetweaking. Check it out. Love your blog, the design stuff, the mom stuff–all of it! I used to have a blog myself (not design–fitness/wellness) and I know how much work it is. Good on ya!

  79. As an English teacher, I appreciate the watermarks. It’s like a little “Works Cited page” in the corner of every image, which is especially helpful on Pinterest. Sometimes pins lead to dead links, but the watermark means you have a chance of finding the original post and repairing the link. Additionally, the watermark makes it much more difficult for unscrupulous bloggers to steal your images for their own gain, which is plagiarism, and therefore the stick-on vinyl flooring of my English-teaching world.

    At the same time, I can see why you would hesitate. Your photos are all professionally shot, and your blog is part of a traditional design business. From what I’ve seen, watermarks are more common with home-grown, author-produced blogs. Typically, you don’t see them on higher-end images.

  80. Remember when you did that high end nursery and several people said “I could never afford that.” Wow i felt so bummed out. I could never afford it either but I could certainly appreciate it and would have hated to piss on your parade.

  81. I am totally going to check out these blog recommendations! I’m a new blogger and still trying to figure out my voice and what exactly I should focus my content on because I have a million ideas. I want to do both tutorials AND inspiring photography so these definitely look like they’re worth checking out! Regarding the watermark thing, I am going to read more comments because I’ve been wondering about that myself. I can see the value in it but I also find them distracting.

  82. Not to be weird but id like to plug my wife’s blog, Planning Pretty! She works so hard on it day and night, but gets little recognition. She’s building her own career so she can live her dream. Super proud of her! She’s done so many diy and projects around our home.

  83. I think watermarks are a great idea to keep traffic coming back and giving credit to the source. So many blogs, pinterest and other sharing sites often forgo giving credit and if it gets repinned without credit no one will know the source. It’s good that watermarks allow people to know who made it and allow them to search and find the original post. Reverse image searches aren’t as efficient if people keep repinning or reblogging without any credit. I feel big design sites should probably ask before hand anyway so it shouldn’t deter them.

  84. When watermarks are smaller it doesn’t bother me. Rosa’s is borderline – though if a pic is awesome I’d usually still pin. What does bug is a watermark (thin or larger) that goes through the center of a page. I dislike it even in artist’s gallery renderings – though I get it.

  85. Just found Mandi at Vintage Revivals too. I remember stumbling on her stuff a couple different times, but didn’t start following along until this year and boy was I missing out. I love Justina too! Even though her style is different from mine, I love reading her blog because she always has great content.

    Watermarks don’t deter me from pinning and I like that people can’t get away with stealing other people’s content.

  86. I despise watermarks. They can ruin what is otherwise a great image. I don’t use them and try to avoid pinning or otherwise sharing images that do. (And often if someone has the poor taste to watermark, I’m not interested in their blog anyway.) As a creator of content (which I’ve had misappropriated) I understand the urge to protect it with a watermark, but to me the “cure” is worse than the disease.

    Sorry for the strong response, but it’s a pet-peeve 🙂

  87. My favorite blogs to read right now are A Beautiful Mess, Aunt Peaches (She’s hilarious, true to herself and super creative!), The White Buffalo Styling Company and your blog (because you seem honest about you and your content).
    Watermarks do not bother me. A person has the right to put their name on THEIR work. You wouldn’t expect an artist not to sign a painting or a piece of pottery.

  88. The feedback on this post was fun to read. I was glad to see Bower Power mentioned (Will is adorable) as well as Inspired by Charm.

    I miss YHL the most. I met them twice, once before they really “exploded” and while I could sense the end was near (it felt like so much canned content near the end) – they really were the nicest people in real life. I’m intrigued to see how this second book sells with a lack of promo on the blog.

    Also, thank you Emily (Ginny and Brody and Orlando before G+B) for keeping this piece of internet alive even when no one would blame you for leaving to sail off in the sunset with Brian and Charlie.

  89. Wanted to chime in and say thank you for this post! Between the debate over watermarks and mentions of newbies on the block that everyone’s so excited for, it gave me the extra push to finally launch my blog after years of hesitation. THANK YOU!!!

  90. Hi Emily,
    We’ve been renovating a boarded up home in central city Milwaukee for the past year and a half. While raising four kids. And remediating mold. And chasing squirrels who have taken up residence here for the past several years. It’s been a crazy cool journey and in the next several months we will be focusing on renovating the basement. I’d love a shout out from you! Thanks for being awesome.
    Laura

  91. Ok, I am SO impressed how you replied to your readers in your comments Emily. That takes a lot of work especially since you get so many comments! One of the blogs I love to read is Design Manifest. She doesn’t post often, but man that girl can design! I watermark everything, but do it hopefully in tasteful way.

  92. Very late to this party…but watermark or no, I can always pick out an Emily Henderson design when I see it pinned or featured. I have been right at least 9 times out of ten when I go ‘that looks like Emily….’ and sure enough, it’s yours.

  93. I personally like them as long as their not obtrusive. I like to credit the original source when pinning as a courtesy to followers and for ease if I need to reference it later. I absolutely love this series and discovering new to you, new to me blogs!