365 Objects Of Design

Mad About The House in 2019

3rd January 2019

Happy New Year to you all. It’s perhaps a little late to be writing this but it’s the first proper new post of the year so it seemed like the right thing to say.

my office at mad about the house

I start the year, as I so often do, in reflective mood. Wither blogs as they say? I’m constantly seeing polls on Instagram (clearly a self-selecting audience) of people saying they don’t read them anymore, that they would prefer to have all their information filtered through the short sharp swipe of the Instagram story.

That may be the case for that audience, but my numbers tell a different story. Yes the blog numbers are much smaller than those on Instagram, but the engagement is perhaps higher. Last year there were almost 2 million hits to the blog and some 750,000 visitors. Incidentally that’s the same number as the year before but with more page views suggesting people are reading more or staying longer. And let’s not forget I dropped a post from four to five halfway through the year.

And while we’re on the numbers, I published 221 posts last year (down from a completely unsustainable high of 459 in 2012  – the year I launched).

the mad husband’s office (I put the flowers there to hide the mess!)

So on the face of it, blogs – at least this one – are alive and kicking. While Instagram, and don’t get me wrong I still love it, is facing increasing backlash and fury from people who are frustrated that their pictures aren’t visible, which means their engagement is low and, there is growing dissent against the increasing facebookisation (new word – made it up) of this once-adored platform.

I think there may be a shift this year as some are already threatening to leave Instagram and others will return to blogging. It is, after all, your own space on the internet that you own and control and, unlike the ‘gram, it is also more searchable for the information you are looking for.

So, no, I won’t be abandoning the blog for the grid. Dumping the words for the pictures as it were.

acrylic storage from Muji

acrylic storage from Muji

Having said that, what is the plan for the blog this year? Well, I will continue at four posts a week plus the Wednesday Ad Break as that seems to work for us all. For those who aren’t aware of the system – there won’t always be a Wednesday post but if there is it will be a sponsored one. The other four will not be paid for or sponsored. That way you know what you are getting. Having said that, I do always choose with care who I work with and try hard to create interesting content with, and for, that brand by styling and shooting my own images and creating a proper story around the shoot so that it’s not just a straightforward puff piece. So while you won’t see a piece on Furniture Village (for example) you will see pieces on Danish design companies, brands I have bought from and used in my own home, and other companies which may be new to us both, but which I have investigated and decided are a good fit with the brand that is Mad About The House.

Put simply, this means that those of you who refuse to read sponsored, or paid for content, can swerve on a Wednesday, those of you who like a daily post can, mostly, have one and at least everyone knows what they are getting.

luggage rack from design vintage - increase storage by hanging baskets with gloves/scarves/homework in

luggage rack from design vintage – increase storage by hanging baskets with gloves/scarves/homework in

That’s the manifesto bit. For the other four posts I shall continue with 10 Beautiful Rooms although I plan to reduce that to eight for the foreseeable future – I have a book to write by 31 March and need to claw back a little more time for that. The Househunter will also remain as it has its fans and I still love poking around other people’s houses. The other two posts will be a mix of content.

When I started the blog, I launched a series called 365 Objects of Design – it was a way to make myself blog every day and not give up and get disheartened when no-one was reading it. As I mentioned earlier I published 459 posts that year – for some 6,500 visitors, which is somedays how many hits I may get in a single day.

wooden miu desk organiser from oyoy

wooden miu desk organiser from oyoy

But times have changed and it no longer feels right to suggest that you spend money on something every day. So the blog has evolved to include more how to guides which led, in turn, to the book Mad About The House.

Now there are only so many how to guides one can run without being repetitive (or pre-empting the new book, which comes out in 2020) so this year there will be one weekly post that is loosely shopping related – showing you things about making over a single room, or the best pieces that fit a trend, or just five of the best armchairs – that sort of thing. Sometimes it might also just one one amazing thing that I have found that I think you might like to see, and perhaps even buy – we not going to abandon shopping altogether.

The last post will be a mixed bag of things from news and events to features and design-related anniversaries – both String and Bauhaus this year for example -as well as posts to back up the podcast every two weeks.  I’m going to launch an interview series as well. Based, very loosely, on the famous Proust questionnaire – a series of questions designed to elicit information about a personality – this will be called My Interior World and will, hopefully, give us an insight into both a person’s headspace and living space. Interviewees won’t just be interior design experts, although that will form part of it – we like to glean a few free tips don’t we? I’m very excited about this series and can’t wait to launch it. But I only had the idea last night so I will need a few weeks to set it up!

work apron from labour and wait

work apron from labour and wait

And there, in a nutshell, is the blog for 2019. I hope you will subscribe and read, comment and like. Last year was insanely busy – a little like being on an endless rollercoaster and while I wouldn’t swap it for the world, I hope to free up a little more time this year to blog in more depth, keep on top of my inbox, as well as write the book and support two teenage boys with their public exams in the summer.

And in case you were wondering, today’s images and links are all related to household decluttering, tidying, arranging and sorting. All useful things for January and perfect for any of you who haven’t had to go back to work yet but are definitely convinced that this year will be the one that you definitely, absolutely, probably, will almost certainly, maybe get on top of the Monica cupboard/room once and for all.

 

 

 

 

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  • Louise 9th January 2019 at 6:39 am

    Wow! That’s a busy year!
    Thanks for continuing your blog – Your words and pictures are very engaging and relatable (although a lot of your lovely ideas and suggestions cost a squillion dollars here in Aus). And you don’t lecture us. (Except about grey floor tiles)
    I hope Enid appreciates all that you do.

  • Fiona Duke 7th January 2019 at 5:03 pm

    long live the blog – its fab x

  • Felicity 4th January 2019 at 7:06 am

    Love your writing – it never fails to cheer me up. Instagram is like a snack and your blog is food for the soul.

  • Sallie 3rd January 2019 at 8:58 pm

    So happy that you are continuing to blog Kate! I prefer it so much to instagram as a guilty pleasure, I just love having a proper in-depth read into a topic over coffee. It makes me genuinely panicky when I think people might give up blogging!

  • Joy Packard 3rd January 2019 at 8:24 pm

    I really enjoyed this summary of your plans. I’m late to your blog – like only a few months ago – but have binged ever since I found it! I’m glad it’s going to continue. I am inspired by your clarity. Have fun!

  • Michelle 3rd January 2019 at 7:53 pm

    I’m sure your blog also reaches a far more diverse group than Instagram does. I for one have no time to head down the Instagram rabbit hole, but I do have time for a quick read of your wonderful blog every day. And I appreciate the actual advice and thoughtful discussion you offer, not just the photos. Also, thanks for the comments about shopping posts– I have stopped following several design blogs after realizing they were geared only to get me to shop, which only made me unhappy and is not how I want to live my life.

  • Laura 3rd January 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with the rest of the comments. I do check Instagram occasionally but it’s not an enjoyable process for me, inevitably resulting in feelings of envy or dissatisfaction, or even just guilt for wasting my time on mindless scrolling. In contrast, I genuinely look forward to reading this blog (almost) every day, and it feels like a delicious, indulgent, yet guilt-free treat in comparison! No bad associations and utterly fantastic, quality content.

  • Loeb DEBORAH 3rd January 2019 at 5:42 pm

    I agree, love the blog. Instagram? meh.

  • Cath 3rd January 2019 at 5:17 pm

    I love your blog and read all your posts. I subscribe because you write so well, have great ideas, humour and expertise. It’s amazing to have this kind of quality, free content. I only use instagram occasionally.

  • Regina 3rd January 2019 at 1:27 pm

    So happy to see you will continue the blog. I prefer this format instead of Instagram. I scroll through but it is nit as enjoyable as a nice read.
    Thank you!

  • Steph 3rd January 2019 at 12:29 pm

    facebookisation is a fantastic word. I really enjoy your blog, Kate, and your books. I think Instagram is on its way to burning itself out…. it will become the Facebook of Millenials. As Facebook has become the media of “older” people. Not calling for its demise, but it appears to have jumped the shark. I think it is much better to read an informative blog post than ramblings with tiny pics on my phone. Julia’s comment(above) about the phone is interesting and I will investigate that. My phone, while used for business on occasion, is mostly a private beast and I don’t want the exposure. And I would like to admit this here… My name is Steph and I love magazines.
    I think Instagram’s incessant ads are becoming a problem too. I realize my beliefs don’t jibe with hundreds of millions of users and they are going to moentize regardless, but it does drive one away. Also agree with Sonia – your suggestions have opened up new items to me! I wouldn’t have known about Rag and Bone except for you. I have noticed that some of the interiors people I have followed have fallen off and I am unfollowing more people all the time. Do keep up the good work! Your writing/sense of humor is spot on!

  • Anna 3rd January 2019 at 11:52 am

    WOW Kate, do you sleep? So much going on in your “headspace”, I doubt it.
    I’m not a fan of Instagram because I like words with my pictures.

    Wishing you a very happy and productive 2019.

  • Irene 3rd January 2019 at 11:35 am

    Love your blog, nothing beats an excellent piece of writing. Looking forward to all the new content. Wishing you a happy and successful 2019.

  • Claire 3rd January 2019 at 11:15 am

    I love images and words – especially words written with style, engaging candour, wit, and enthusiasm, as yours seem to be. I appreciate the comments of others too. Debate is enlivening. So I am grateful to you for your generosity in sharing your near-daily cocktail of information, ideas, images and thoughts.

  • Alex Robert 3rd January 2019 at 11:10 am

    This is just wow. There is so much perfection in your work. Very nice blog 🙂

  • Racjael 3rd January 2019 at 11:10 am

    I look forward to this everyday it’s just great thank you.

  • Gerry Rust 3rd January 2019 at 11:09 am

    I am baffled by some people’s attitude to ‘sponsored content’ not only because of the assumption that bloggers etc shouldn’t need to make any kind of profit out of the hours of work they put in, but because we are all exposed to advertising, marketing and promotion constantly. Even if you meticulously try to remove as much direct advertising as possible, only watching TV where you can filter out the ads or disallowing cookies on every site you visit for example, you will still be directly or indirectly targeted (product placement/subliminal advertising anyone?) it is a fact of modern life. Surely it is preferable to see promotional content generated by someone you like and choose to engage with, where hopefully it may be of genuine interest to you?
    I read your blog because I enjoy it and find the content well written, varied and interesting, if that were not the case I wouldn’t subscribe. I absolutely couldn’t care less whether you are paid to write parts of it and wouldn’t insult you by suggesting that you might promote something that potentially damaged your credibility or alienated readers. I did chuckle when someone I follow on Instagram, who usually posts pictures of interiors accompanied by very outspoken but funny personal stories, posted a glowing review of a vacuum cleaner that seemed rather out of place, but hey everyone has a living to make and maybe she needed a new one…
    Your plans for the blog in 2019 sound great and I look forward to reading your posts.

  • Gillian Snee 3rd January 2019 at 10:41 am

    What Claire said! Love your blog always enjoy reading it and it always inspires me .

  • Sonia 3rd January 2019 at 10:38 am

    I think Instagram’s been killed off by poorly used and regulated sponsored content. I’d be very interested to know what others think.

    My feeling is that if you follow a brand or someone who uses Instagram as an adjunct to their business (whether that be interior design, journalism or anything else) then you know what you’re getting – and people who were always on Instagram for their business tend to be very aware of the rules about sponsored content/ads/freebies and to make no bones about what’s going on. Kate, you have always been absolutely frank about what is sponsored/a gift/on loan for a shoot, whether here or on Insta, and as you say it enables us to choose. BTW had I not read one of your sponsored blog posts I would never have discovered La Redoute did homewares. I thank you, though my bank manager not so much…

    However “personal” blogs seem to be another story – I gradually became aware over the last couple of years that there were a lot of undeclared freebies on personal instagrams. That was a turn off for me. I lost interest in a lot of home renovation Instas when I realised that they were being assisted by free undeclared stuff that most people don’t have access to. Unfortunately, I think declaring ads/sponsored content on a personal Insta has the same effect – that quirky individual non-business blog isn’t quite the same once it starts to be monetised. I recently saw a very well known influencer moaning on stories that her ad posts got less engagement than her others – well no surprise there. If people followed you because you were not a business, it’s hardly a surprise that they are turned off by you becoming one.

  • CAT 3rd January 2019 at 10:34 am

    I much prefer your blog to Instagram. I have stopped looking at Instagram, as all the people I followed were just putting up the same pictures of their own homes and it got so boring!

  • Jill 3rd January 2019 at 10:15 am

    I use Bloglovin to keep track of the blogs I like to read and to tell me when something new is published so I haven’t signed up for your daily blog updates. Do your figures for hits and visitors manage to include people like me? – just curious. Glad to hear the blog is continuing – still my favourite!

  • claire 3rd January 2019 at 9:01 am

    I love reading your blog, don’t stop. Instagram is fine but I do like to read a few more words! I love your style both fashion and home. I think you strike a great balance between the main stream high street and the unattainable for most of us mere mortals.

  • Ms Joanna Speller 3rd January 2019 at 8:38 am

    I agree with everyone else’s comments. I unfollowed lots of people on Instagram the other day – it was all too much. I enjoy a good blog, though, and increasingly a good podcast, so am very pleased there’ll be more of this from you. You really do have a lovely way of writing, which reads as though talking to a good (and very amusing!) chum. As for the advertising, I’m not sure why people get their knickers in such a twist about it – a person’s got to make a living and, like you say, it’s nothing you wouldn’t have in the house anyway. Happy 2019. xxx

  • Kate 3rd January 2019 at 8:18 am

    I like the written word. I do look at instagram but it’s nothing like as satisfying as a good blog, with insights and observations, and yours is the best, Kate.

  • Jo 3rd January 2019 at 8:16 am

    Yay – all sounds very compelling!

  • Hilary 3rd January 2019 at 8:08 am

    Your blog is my favourite read on the morning train
    and it sounds like it’s going to remain interesting
    thru 2019!
    Thanks Kate & HNY!

  • Julia 3rd January 2019 at 7:51 am

    I only read Instagram on my laptop. I won’t have the app on my phone, because I don’t like their T&Cs, especially the permission to allow them to see who you’re calling and whether they answer the phone. I don’t see why they need that information, and consider it an invasion of privacy. So, because I only access it on my laptop, I don’t tend to spend long there, so miss a lot of posts. I much prefer to have an email pop up when a blog post has been posted, so I’m glad you’re not abandoning the blog.

  • Bonnie 3rd January 2019 at 7:33 am

    Happy new year!

    I love your blog and come here when I’m looking for inspirational images and evocative writing. Your huge talent for conveying ideas beautifully needs more space than the grid! Thanks to your blog and books I feel guided and inspired to decorate to my own taste rather than slavishly following someone else’s… and the result is so gratifying! Can’t wait for your new book and good luck with the deadline… Happy new year!

  • Kate McCauley 3rd January 2019 at 7:32 am

    So so pleased you’re not abandoning the blog. Breakfast wouldn’t be the same without it!

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