This post is part of a series to showcase the wide variety of talented bloggers using .blog domains. In each post, we’ll interview a site owner to explore their .blog and dive into an area of expertise, ranging from editing tips and tricks to how to build your following.
Elizabeth is the interior design buff behind Blue and White Home, a blog chock full of inspiration for vintage, colorful, and classic homes. In addition to her posts filled to the brim with beautiful photos of inspirational interiors and exteriors, “Blue and White Home” is graced with guest posts by Elizabeth’s teenage daughter, who also happens to be the artist behind the site logo. Elizabeth started her site from scratch and has built it over the years to create a fantastic and enthusiastic following who appreciate her love for design just as much as we do.
When did you first start “Blue and White Home”?
I love interior design and had thought for a few years how much I would enjoy writing about it, but blogging seemed intimidating, especially the technology aspect. My then-13-year-old daughter said, “Mom, you can do this. I’ll help you!” Not wanting to disappoint my daughter, I agreed to give blogging a try. On New Year’s Day 2017, my daughter and I brainstormed ideas for a blog name to pass time on a flight. We decided on “Blue and White Home” because I love blue and white and it’s a simple, easy-to-remember name. When we got home from our trip, my daughter, with some help from her older brother, set up and personalized the blog on WordPress. They handed it over to me within a few days ready for me to write my first post.
How did you get started with interior design?
I don’t work in the design field, but I have always had a passion for it. All my life I’ve been drawn to visual things. I was an art history major in college, and my first job after college was in a women’s designer fashion buying department at a large New York department store. After a few years of that, I shifted gears, went to graduate school and became a history teacher. When I had my children, I was a full-time mom for my two kids. Once my kids became teenagers, I had more free time, and I wanted to do something creative at home. An interior design blog fit the bill.
One thing I noticed is that your daughter guest posts on your blog. That’s fantastic! How did your family get involved?
This blog is really a joint venture with my daughter. She set up the blog for me and has taught me how to use social media. For the most part, I was technologically illiterate and she’s had to teach me everything. My daughter is also artistic — she does the photography of our home for the blog and she designed our blog logo. Like me, she has a passion for design, and together we brainstorm blog ideas and social media posts. Although I do most of the writing, she’s now starting to contribute blog posts. We review and edit each other’s posts. It’s very important to have a second set of eyes look over your writing so that you have a polished product.
I love how visual “Blue and White Home” is. What kind of tools and software have been most helpful for you, whether for editing photos or managing upcoming posts?
We’ve discovered how important it is to have a good camera when taking photos of our home. Our photos have come a long way since we started; they look much more professional now. We use a Canon EOS Rebel camera. We don’t do much photo editing, but occasionally, if a photo needs to be straightened, cropped, or brightened, my daughter uses the Photos app on an Apple computer. A more “old-fashioned” tool that I use is a simple notebook for brainstorming post ideas and keeping track of things.
Where do you find your inspiration for the blog?
Instagram and Pinterest have been really helpful for finding ideas for blog posts and social media posts. Most of our pictures and ideas come from those sources. Instagram and Pinterest help not only with gathering inspiration, but also with organizing ideas. Magazines and design books provide wonderful inspiration, as well. I am also inspired by things I see in Chicago, where I reside — it’s such an architecturally beautiful city — and in other places I visit.
View this post on Instagram
I came home last night after spending 3 weeks in Vermont and found most of my plants in a very sad state. (My husband said he watered them–not sure what happened!). So I have plants on my mind today and am loving this pretty sunroom full of healthy looking varieties. Off to the nursery at the Home Depot. Design by @janetgridley.
In addition to your site, you’ve built a great following on your social media as well. What tips do you have for newer bloggers building a following?
We’re having the most success building a following with Instagram because it is a visual platform and is conducive to sharing design images. We try to post consistently on Instagram, twice a day at roughly the same times each day so that our followers know what to expect from us. We keep the feed pretty, and virtually all our photos feature blue and white because that’s what people want to see from us. We don’t put personal things like family photos on our feed, because we want to keep it focused on blue and white design.
Also, to grow on Instagram, we reach out to other similar accounts and use hashtags so that our photos are seen by more people. In our Instagram posts, we advertise our new blog posts to drive traffic to the blog. On the blog, as with Instagram, I aim for a consistent posting schedule. I publish blog posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
What’s been the most rewarding or surprising part of running “Blue and White Home”?
It’s very rewarding when people take the time to email us and tell us how much they enjoy reading “Blue and White Home.” Blogging is quite a lot of work. Those messages are uplifting and encourage us to continue with the blog.