Well today’s the day. From today you will be able to join me over on Substack where I have been busy behind the scenes hanging the curtains, unpacking the archive and arranging the furniture ready to welcome you in. Some of you will have already seen the email I sent on Monday in which I said I would explain in a little more detail while I have decided to move house.
I have been very happy here in my little corner of the internet but times have changed and it’s time to move on. I very much hope you will come with me to Substack. There’s room for everyone in the new house and there are lots of exciting new ways to build a community.
I have been writing a minimum of three posts a week for nearly 12 years. That’s a lot of free content. This was one of the first interiors blogs in the UK when I launched in 2012. It’s one of the last ones standing in 2023. I love our community and the support you have given me over the years but the landscape has changed and I must change with it.
Mad About The House has always been supported by sponsored posts and collaborations. This is what allowed me to continue writing for free. But those partnerships are harder to find these days with the move to video content and the dominance of Tiktok and Instagram. As you know I love a still image and a word (or 500!) but it has become harder to support this kind of digital magazine without some form of financial recompense.
The other option is, of course adverts. I have resisted this with every fibre of my being. I never wanted to spoil a post about beautiful design with banners and pop-ups that interrupt your reading. It’s like being shouted at by a stranger as you stroll down a beautiful country lane. That said, in the drive to support writing as a career there’s barely a magazine, blog or even newspaper and magazine these days that doesn’t use ads whether it’s for designer handbags or garden sheds.
For the last few months I have considered putting the blog behind a paywall. But that felt like a punishment to all of you who have been here for so many years. So, rather than paying thousands of pounds a year to host this site, I have decided to move to Substack which won’t cost anything and where a rapidly growing community will allow me to increase the number of readers on a part free/part paid for basis. Those of you who subscribe will have received an email from me already with details of a discount. There will also be free content over there too so nothing needs to change if you don’t want it to.
As Farrah Storr, former editor of Elle UK and current head of writer partnerships at Substack, said in a recent post about fashion writers flocking to the platform: “Ask around and you’ll hear pretty quickly how much tougher it is out there to get sponsorship deals. Paid partnerships, meanwhile, are sporadic at best and compromising at worst. What fashion writers and creatives crave, therefore, is a steady, meaningful revenue stream, delivered by the very people who consume their work: the readers.”
Some of you may already be familiar with Substack. Others less so. It is essentially a subscription newsletter platform that allows me to publish content that can be both free and paid for. In short, instead of me paying thousands of pounds a year to a hosting engine so I can bring you free content, I can live over there and write as much as I want and some of you may feel able to support that by taking out a paid subscription.
I will still write lots – words are my first love. I will still write for free – but just a bit less than before. And by writing a bit less and knowing that I can still earn a living I will have more time to research and write better words. And I’m so excited for that.
I hope that you will want to support me in that writing by joining a new community over there which will be a quiet place to read and digest and chat quietly over tea and biscuits rather than shouting over the music.
The joy of Substack is also that you can download the app and follow lots of different writers to create your own interactive magazine that is constantly updating. Everyone has both free and paid for content so you can mix and match how much you want to see from each person. There is food, fashion, travel, politics, lifestyle and, of course, me.
If you sign up as a free subscriber (follower) you will get two posts a month (for the launch month of November there will be six).
If you choose to become a paid subscriber here’s what you will get:
- Four posts a month (in addition to the two free ones)
- These will include regular posts on where to shop, how to style and details of great design destinations as well as interior design news and renovation and decorating advice. More of what we have shared over here for so long.
- Full access to the best of my archive which I have moved over there – including things like “What to Buy if you Rent, 15 Interior Design Rules to Live By, How to Find Your Interior Design Style, and What to Buy if I know I am going to Renovate.
- Access to a monthly drop-in design clinic where you can ask me questions and we can chat all things interiors. If you are unable to attend I will email the recording to you afterwards.
- First look at the finished house in Italy and behind the scenes of the renovation.
- First invites to the interior design retreats I will be running there next year.
Substack also has clever features such as Threads where I can, for example, start a discussion on that week’s Househunter (which will remain as a free post but we can all chat about it and, crucially, you can chat to each other more easily rather than this slightly clunkier format of leaving comments). Or Chat, which is a general place for nattering – much like a private WhatsApp group where I might show you a great lamp I have spotted while out and about for example. I have also just discovered there is an audio function and, as I have never recorded audio versions of my books, I’m thinking about do book readings – would you like that?
It’s more interactive with more innovative ways to connect and I’m so excited to get started. If you subscribe to my blog updates here you will start seeing updates from Substack in your inbox from now on. You can unsubscribe at any time and you can upgrade to a paid subscription at any time. Prices are £6 a month or £65 for the year (unless you grab that discount which is 20% off reducing it to £52 a year) so it’s less than a cup of coffee a week. It’s valid until 3 November 2023.
In addition there is a one off annual fee (founding member) of £350 which gets you a 45 minute one to one design consultation with me and a personalised signed copy of one of my books – whichever one suits you best for the stage you are at in your design journey.
See you over there. And there will still be content over here in the form of announcements and news and events as well as posts about the shop which is relaunching soon.
Thank you all so much for your support over the last 11 years, I hope you will come with me on the next stage of the journey. My first new content will be out on Monday and it’s a tour of the private Milan home of the designer Piero Fornasetti. It’s an incredible house that’s not open the public and you won’t want to miss it.