Monday, January 19, 2009

House Beautiful Magazine asks: Who are design bloggers, really?

This month House Beautiful Magazine asks: Who are design bloggers, really?

Can you match the number under the photo with the blogger who did the room that HB featured?
Most of the bloggers have posted about their good fortune, and the answers are in the magazine and on the web site, so maybe this isn't going to be too hard. Whoever gets all eight correct first will win a prize, some worthless trinket of my choosing.

Match the names of the blogger to the numbered photo and leave your answer on the comments screen.

Your multiple choices are: Mrs. Blandings, Design Sponge, Hollister Hovey, Peak Of Chic, Decorno, Habitually Chic, Easy and Elegant, Cool Hunting.
All photos from House Beautiful web site.


Lately alot of bloginistas are getting ink in newspapers and in the very shelter magazines they are usurping. It's always interesting to see how style bloggers decorate. We all have points of view that we offer profusely and unabashedly. Some of us are design professionals; some of us are writers; some of us are wannabe professionals; some of us are design students; some of us just like pretty things. It's all good.


It's fun and surprising to see how our personal spaces match up with what we advise others to do, what we promote as good or bad, or if it really plays as magazine worthy, which is still the holy grail for everyone who decorates. If you want to read something about being magazine worthy go HERE to The Design Geek. It's the best thing I've read on the subject.


Lots of blather always gets bandied about about the young person's take on things, I guess because they're still the biggest shopping demographic, and advertisers want to know what the kids are buying. I used to think that decor was ageless, but maybe not. I think you can tell the generation of the person by looking at their rooms. You can probably figure out gender, and how much money they have too, and maybe what they like for breakfast.


I get huge crushes on other bloggers. I really admire so many of them. In my mind's eye they're an accomplished lot. So it seems to follow that their homes would be put together well, with thought and wit, and know-how. I'm not talking about expensive impressive decors, I'm just talking about a room looking like someone with style and savvy put it together.


Above all I don't expect the rooms to be ordinary, because the bloggers are so not ordinary.


I don't know how House Beautiful chooses the pictures, what professional criteria they apply if any. After all we're just bloggers working for free. Maybe they just feed the hungry editorial machine, and pick anyone who sends in a photo. You can send yours in. I just sent mine in!
Send your photo to:


Because no matter how successful you are, whether you've had editorial a zillion times, or you're just starting out, it's always nice to see your name in print (with hopefully a favorable mention ha ha), and then blog about it. Everybody likes bragging rights for the hard work we do. We're a polite group, so we brag while thanking the person who mentions us. It makes it seem less loutish, and that way we can toot our own horn and still be a lady (or gentleman) about it.


I'd really like to lean on the horn and shout ME ME ME. They picked ME ME ME. And I'd like to think it really means something to have been chosen ha ha.
Do you care if the room of a fellow blogger disappoints? We know we love it when someone knocks our socks off.
I feel sad if I like the person, or if they're really trying hard and just not getting it. I feel validated and bitchy when I think the person is smoke and mirrors with imaginary skills and clients and a big pontificating mouth.
Do you think you have to be a good decorator or designer to know what's good or bad and comment about it on a blog? Probably not ha ha.
But really what does it matter? In a way the blog is a persona we create, with bits of our reality, and a bit of a fantasy life too. And magazine life as portrayed in a published room (even your own), and real life are certainly very different even if you're a pro being paid to design and decorate.

I respect and support the work of my peers, and rely on their honesty whether they're in the business or just love pretty things. And I want them to respect, and yes like me, and my decor ha ha. I want them to rely on me. I used to think style bloggers should be groomed and attractive too. But what do I know since everybody thinks we're unkempt bums living in raggedy pajamas.

One of my favorite blogs is Petunia Face. Some people write it off us a mommy blog. And I don't know what's wrong with a mommy blog, or what's right with putting them down.
This cool little image was posted HERE, and you can make one for yourself HERE. Or at least you can if your computer is not a four year old iBook ha ha.
I couldn't make one, but maybe you can. It might be fun to use the image of one of your rooms on it. I thought about doing one of our tango pictures too.

Anyway, leave me your answers and a comment!
Be brave, maybe say which rooms you like, which rooms work, which rooms are so-so. It's okay to have and express an opinion about one another. You do it about everything else you blog about ha ha. You can give it the old blogger YES? or NO?
And I'll announce a winner by the end of the week.


niartist said...

Hi vamp! I'm not a follower of any of those blogs, and *gasp* I don't subscribe to House Beautiful. I've come to find that design is so subjective that it doesn't matter much what one person thinks about it, especially when it's a space you live in. It only matters what you think. I admire other bloggers for having the metaphorical balls to post pictures of their own rooms, and prefer them 10times over the rooms from magazines and websites - though I've been known to host a list of those on my blog too. I agree with you totally though, on ever degree of this post, and think it's beautifully written. My last addition is this: at 26, I'm not too far from High School, but I feel everyday when I log onto the pages of Color Outside the Lines I'm instantly taken back to a place where people say one thing to your face, and another behind your back. You bring that one "new kid" into the clique, who gloms onto all your friends, then leaves you standing at the curb. The constant need to impress the people you'll never meet, or never really know, who might give you two minutes to say, "Great post" or "I like the music" and still - everyday, I wake up, wash my face, grab my bagel, and play the game. Happy Monday!

Unknown said...

Well, since I have the mag sitting right here, I won't enter the contest. But, I did want to say that I love #2's living room - so dramatic and bold! Almost like a movie set. And, I do like the wall paper in #5 and, of course, the dogs in #8 - although the whole room is also fantastic! All three wouldn't be amiss in a regular House Beautiful editorial spread.

I was a little surprised about some of the spaces making it into a mag such as HB - but then I don't think they made selections by normal editorial standards - but by the popularity of the blogger. Which is fine - always fun to have a little sneak peak into how our compatriots in the blogging trenches live. Given the wildly different life stages and financial means of those in the blogging community, it's hard, if not downright unfair, to really compare spaces. But I do like it when the writers personalities really come out in their own homes!

Great idea for a post, VV!



The Blushing Hostess said...

Yes, it does matter to me when reading design blogs that the authors have some talent in that area. But it does not matter to me whether or not I particularly care for their own stylist preferences, I always learn something new from great shelter blogs and their shots of their homes, whether I dig the chalk board paint or not. If their rooms look like a Rooms to Go ad... well... okay, I admit it... I read them last... okay, there, I said it...

Alkemie said...

What a Fantastic post and very well put. I liked #1 and #8.

For #1, I thought the faux architectural detailing was done in a very clever way. I liked #8 because it is a very bright and modern place with some character. The angle of the photo and the space planning are very appealing to me.

I would say that "mom" blogs are what probably rule a lot of the blogopshere. Definitely not to be looked down on as many of the most visited blogs are "mommy" blogs like Dooce or Frontier Woman.

Just my 2 cents.


Karen O.

pve design said...

I took the test and got them all right. I know all of these interiors, just like them for who they are and the fact that they stepped up and showed their spaces. I like that they are real.
I recognized them right away!

simply seleta said...

I'm amazed at the media attention that design blogs have been getting. It's wonderful to see all of that hard work paying off.

Great job to them all!

Rattlebridge Farm said...

This is such a thought provoking, beautifully written essay...I enjoyed it tremendously.

Suzy said...

1 - Peak of Chic
2 - Hollister Hovey
3 - Habitually Chic
4 - Easy & Elegant
5 - Design Sponge
6 - Mrs Blandings
7 - Decorno
8 - Coolhunting

How'd I do?

Visual Vamp said...

The "contest" is rather lame I admit. I'm really trying to start a dialog among the bloggers.
I love the HB question of 'who are we really'.
Bloggers wield influence for sure, and it's a new kind. Credentials and credibility are kind of out the window. One can construct a blog that is savvy and smart with nary a design degree, or a client, or really the talent to decorate in sight ha ha. As long as the blog is sharp, a patina of expertise is accepted. I like to think it's more democratic.
You know Joni Webb's feeling about the ASID, and I agree.
And with a blog, it's free and easy advice being offered, and I doubt anyone is harmed by it, and most are definitely helped and entertained.
The way we do things is changing in every way. Even in the world of design and decor. While a full fledged professional will never be usurped, the design blogs are certainly a force to be reckoned with. It's a new and exciting addition to business as usual.
Thank you all for reading my humble rag. As the junior girl I appreciate all the interest and support given to me by the senior class.
Have a wonderful inauguration day!
I feel blessed!
xo xo

Anonymous said...

I'm a faithful Vamp groupie, but don't have time to follow all the other blogs. Therefore I'm clueless about who is who in the contest. As for my opinions about the photos, well, I'm always a sucker for a classical image like #1. But if the stuffed wildlife were removed from the walls and if I could make sure the zebra rug was faux, then I say image #2 rocks. I'm not in the know about Design politics, but will say a formal design education must be a wonderful thing! We need it out there. But it shouldn't rule the roost, and even those who have it need to keep learning and growing informally. Also, there are not a few people out there who possess exquisite design skills innately. I've known many of them personally and their homes always make people gasp with delight. Not only that, they have always put those delightful homes together very inexpensively. I'm grateful for easy access to all the good design information available these days. I can't afford a pro, so the free or less costly design resources are making all the difference in my home. Not only that, becoming good at design is helping me make connections with new people and has given me a skill to share informally with friends and family. Thanks for doing your part Ms. Valorie.