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If you live or work in the DC area, you may have seen us in today's issue of the Washington Post Express (jump to page 38 to see the article) alongside many popular bloggers in an article on home blogging. More specifically, why crazy people like ourselves not only spend a tremendous amount of time and effort renovating our home on our own, but why we also choose to blog about it for the world to see.

Having over a year and a half of blogging experience under our tool belts, and going on 10 years of DIY bliss, we figured we're not the worst people in the world to provide a little insight on what makes our blogging clocks tick.

During our interview, we came up with a handful of reasons why we blog that hopefully didn't make us sound like downright tools. Though the article in the Express was brief, I figured we could be a little more verbose in our description if we carried on the conversation here. Besides, we'd love to hear from those of you that blog, why you do it, and from those of you who are primarily readers of blogs, what attracts you to them?

Without further delay, here are our primary reasons for blogging, broken into several "tions".

Inspiration

There are definitely two sides to the inspiration coin when it comes to blogging, but both are equally important in our minds. On one hand, we hope to provide inspiration to others working on their home, or hoping to tackle DIY projects. This is a somewhat obvious goal, and one that we hope succeeds above all else. We take photos, write descriptions, catalog the process, compile how tos, and offer advice, all in the hope that someone will come across our blog, see something we've done, and say "You know, that looks like something I want to do, and I think I can do that myself!"

The other aspect of inspiration comes from our own personal inspiration the blog provides for us. This may sound strange, but writing our blog has encouraged us to take on more projects, be more creative, and try to work at a faster pace. Whether we're drawing our inspiration from a comment left by a reader that has linked to their own project, an idea conveyed in a comment, or by the fact we're doing a guest post somewhere and can't help but always go overboard in our efforts, the blog is often the little devil sitting on our shoulder encouraging us to take the leap and go for it.

We often find ourselves sheepishly convincing the other that a project is a good idea by saying, "I've always hated our old counter tops, and if we did butcher block it'd be inexpensive, much better, and...it'd make a good blog post." Can you picture ONE of us saying that? I don't need to picture it, I've actually lived it.

Documentation

I'd say that documentation is first and foremost the most important reason we blog. Whether we're documenting a small project, a large room renovation, a weekend outing, or a dream vacation, we're thrilled we've been able to capture the various aspects of our days that combine to make up our lives. But there are two primary aspects of documentation that we target with our blog posts.

The first approach to documentation is a technical one. We attempt to chronicle the supplies we use, steps we take, and the various successes and difficulties we encounter when we're working on our projects. It's our hope that this level of documentation will be useful to us when we look back for reference to a completed project, and to future web searchers looking for a DIY advantage when tackling a similar project. This is a very practical and useful approach to blogging, and one we hope will come in handy for years to come.

The secondary documentation aspect falls far more to nostalgia. Wendy and I are both people who enjoy the "look how far we've come" view on our lives, and our home is a major part of that. Whether we're looking at home inspection photos to see the sad state of our house when we purchased it back in 2003, or if we're looking back on a project's near disastrous mid point for inspiration, the nostalgia we feel when we look back on these older items simply can't be beat. 

We hope some of our friends and family may get similar enjoyment if they stumble on something they helped us with, but this aspect of documentation is very much for our own benefit.

Interaction

Blogging is an open invitation to share some of the most private aspects of our lives. We write in an open way, in an effort to connect with you through our stories and experiences. As a result, we tend to get a fair amount of interaction from readers on everything from comments about cleaning our fridge to our many photos of our darling pets Mel and Lulu on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This interaction is often so fulfilling that it makes the whole blogging "thing" almost worth the price of admission alone.

We've been fortunate to meet great people from near and far, and consider many to be good friends, even if we've never met in person. It's quite fun to think about the fact that we now know people we otherwise never would have met simply because we decided to start writing about our house and life. It's an odd world we live in, and one our great grandparents never could have imagined.

Commiseration

If there's one thing I love about reading others' blogs, it's a good train wreck. I don't mean this in any karma inducing ill-natured sort of way. It just reminds me that DIY can be HARD, and we're not alone. When we write blog posts about difficulties we encounter, projects that don't turn out how we expected, products that don't function as we anticipated, and things that just plain go wrong for no reason, we're doing it to both inform those readers who are blissfully unaware of the common pitfalls of home ownership, as well as to have an open commiseration with people who are already well versed in the disasters that can loom around every corner. 

Moments after being smacked in the head by...something. Thanks to Wendy for documenting this moment rather than assisting me in coping with my trauma.

There's really nothing like a relatable story of a similar disaster (and hopefully a few great after photos) to keep me plugging through on something where I really just want to throw in the towel. Hopefully our posts will be the same commiseration crutch for someone else down the road.

Indoctrination

I'll be the first to admit, I can be a bit of a zealot when it comes to historic home items, renovation, preserving the past, "doing it right," and any other stuff I spew endlessly on the virtual pages of our lives. I hope the historic home soap box doesn't turn you off too much. And maybe, just maybe, some of my instructions, tips, and tricks, will be useful in converting someone from a "gut and rebuild" to a "preserve and restore" mentality. We look at ourselves as stewards of our historic home, and hope to inspire others to care for, and protect, their local history. 

Procrastination

Writing a blog post is a great way to procrastinate. Trust me, I'm becoming an expert. If there's a task that really needs to get done, I'll do it, but if there's a blog post I have an idea for, and something that can technically wait, the blog post gets my attention. Writing for our blog is becoming our new nightly television show, and before we know it we're one to two hours invested and enjoying (nearly) every moment of it.

We also know how great it is to get sucked into reading updates on someone else's projects rather than working on our own. It's our hope that this blog might be the same enjoyable entertainment for you, in the same way some of our favorite reads have become for us. After all, who doesn't like reading about someone else's successes and failures when the last thing you want to do is deal with your own ongoing projects?

Collaboration

And finally, blogging has opened up an avenue where we've met many very talented individuals who possess diverse and unique skills. Leveraging our own expertise along with the talents of others has a tremendous amount if potential to help us fix/create/enjoy some wonderful things.

So there you have it, the top seven reasons why Wendy and I have chosen to open our home and lives to people we've never met from all around the world. Thus far it's been an incredibly unique and enriching experience that has helped to teach us the value, power, and reach of the Internet. If you're a new reader, we hope you like what we have to say, and if you're a regular around here, we hope you've enjoyed our blog just a fraction as much as we have. If that holds true, we feel like we've done our job.

If you're a blogger, we'd love to know what drives you to share is such a public forum. If you're an avid reader of home blogs, tell us what it is that makes you enjoy reading home blogs so much. 

Comments 29

Comments

Jill Petraglia Parsons
1/25/2013 at 10:50 AM
Totally saw you guys in the Express this morning - congrats!!! :)
1/25/2013 at 11:04 AM
Congrats on being featured in an article - that's great!

Just a heads up, you might want to direct people to page 38 of the .pdf. Jumping to page 22 takes you to the "ready to rent" directory! I thought you guys were moving for a minute, haha.
Alex
1/25/2013
Thanks for the heads up, I updated it. But hey, who says we're not moving, I hear all the coolest bloggers are doing it. :-P

Ok, don't worry, we're not moving. :-)
Wendy
1/25/2013
Good point, thanks Ashley. Page 22 of the print version is page 38 of the digital!
Old Town Home
1/25/2013 at 11:11 AM
Thanks so much Jill Petraglia Parsons! We hope you and Thad have a great weekend.
1/25/2013 at 1:59 PM
Thanks! Hopefully Jill will bring it home so that I can see it in print.

Cheers!
Paula Pagano
1/25/2013 at 11:11 AM
Wow! Page 22. Nice pic and publicity.
gretchen
1/25/2013 at 11:29 AM
you guys! this is so awesome. you're famous :)
Wendy
1/25/2013
Thanks, Gretchen. LOL. I don't know about us, but Lulu is definitely famous! ;-)
Old Town Home
1/25/2013 at 11:35 AM
Thanks, Paula Pagano!
1/25/2013 at 12:33 PM
Congrats guys! Great post. I blog more for the documentation. I spend a tremendous amount of time working on the house, it's fun to document the progress. It's also nice to be able to look back on everything we've done.

Regardless of your reasons for blogging, I really enjoy coming here and reading up on what you're up to!
Wendy
1/28/2013
Thanks, Kate! We're so glad you enjoy coming here too!
Karin K
1/25/2013 at 12:51 PM
What a great article! You guys deserve the recognition! You always one of my very favortie reads every day.
Wendy
1/28/2013
Aww, thanks so much, Karin! We appreciate it!
1/25/2013 at 1:31 PM
Was happy to see you get well-deserved notice. And you answered a questions I've long had about why you blog. It was so YOU that I laughed out loud several times. You guys are an inspiration to the rest of us!
Jan
1/25/2013 at 3:07 PM
Congrats! I stumbled on your blog while looking up info on raised bed gardening, and was delighted to find the house renovation portion ... inspiring me to do a few things around my house, although it's not old or historic and hubs and I aren't quite as adverturous in the DIY dept. (He sold his circular saw in a yard sale many years ago. It had never been out of the box!)
Wendy
1/28/2013
Thanks, Jan. As you've seen, we still have a lot to learn on the garden front, but are so glad you've been interested in our "inside" projects as well. :-)
1/25/2013 at 3:16 PM
I'm so happy I found your blog, and even though we're not doing a period restoration of our house, I enjoy reading about what you guys are doing as an education for if we ever go that route.

Congrats on all of your successes!
Wendy
1/28/2013
Thanks so much, Becky. We're so glad to have found your blog too. :-)
MELISSA
1/25/2013 at 5:42 PM
I used to live in Northern Virginia for 5 years--I visited Old Town in the first month that I moved there, and fell in love with it--when we were looking to buy a house, we knew we could never afford to buy one of the beautiful houses in the historic part of town, although that didn't stop me from visiting every weekend! I like to read vicariously through your blog because you are living a dream that I had--to restore a historic house in Old Town!
Wendy
1/28/2013
Thanks for sharing, Melissa! Like you, we fell in love with Old Town when moving to the NoVa area, and used to visit every weekend, just walking the blocks admiring the homes. We're so glad you enjoy following our renovation journey. :-)
JC
1/26/2013 at 1:48 PM
Inspiration:
I find that this is my main reason for following house blogs. I love seeing other peoples' houses, details (floors, casings, wall colours), and you guys are definitely doing a great job on this point. I *LOVE* your house.

Documentation:
Yup, there's nothing quite like looking back through last year's post to give yourself a boost, realizing how much you've gotten done since then. Walls gone, no floors, missing trim, bad ducts. I often feel like I'm not gettingthings done very quickly, but then I did things like that 2012 list, and I was quite happy with the progress.

Interaction:
This is where my blog is a bit lacking. I have very few followers, so the interaction is minimal, but I'm blogging mainly for ME, so I know the views will come eventually. It's fun to get replies to questions (especially colour choices and design ideas, so I always like feedback.

Commiseration:
"There's nothing like a good train wreck." This is too true (and this made me laugh hard). The best blog posts are always the really extreme makeovers where you see a ceiling full a bees, an entire rotted floor (or wall), a collapsed roof, or some other kind of "horrible disaster", and then you see it get repaired.

Indoctrination:
For me, I think this falls more into the "teaching" and learning category. I find that SO MANY people just don't know how to repair things, and they also don't even want to bother looking-up the information. There are countless books, videos, and sites that can teach you about almost ANYTHING you'd ever want to learn, but people are just lazy. I try to show people that "look it's really not that hard, and it costs next to nothing". I often get "looks" when I talk about my house. Like when my friend Devin asked what I was doing with my floors (the hardwood). I told him I was refinishing them, and that I wouldn't be able to use any kind of filler in the gaps. He have me a look like "Oh man just scrap it, it's too far gone and not worth it".

Procrastination:
GOD YES. I spend hours on some posts, and reading blogs INSTEAD of working on the house. (And you should know that I just finished some drywall mud, so today isn't one of those days!)

Collaborating:
This is an aspect I haven't touched on yet.
Wendy
1/28/2013
Wow, thanks so much for your comment, JC. It's wonderful to get insight into your process. I can tell from reading your blog just how dedicated you are to the restoration of your home. Keep up the great work!
1/26/2013 at 11:25 PM
We had to laugh at "Commiseration". Misery loves company and it's always good to see some of the struggles others are going through so you know you're not alone. It's hard to explain your ordeals to a group of friends who all live in newer homes and expect them to understand. There's nothing more therapeutic than exchanging war stories with fellow restorers, even if it is through a blog or website.

Congratulations on making the paper!
Wendy
1/28/2013
Thanks Tom and Jada. We hear you on commiseration! Every time I'm feeling overwhelmed by our master bathroom, I like to check out your bathroom project pages so I know we're not alone in this!
Dave and Diana
1/28/2013 at 9:32 PM
Nice article and photos! Neat to see how the kitchen originally looked. Wow, you guys have sure made some big changes to it over the years!!
Wendy
1/28/2013
Thanks Dave and Diana. Yes, it's been a labor of love, but we're so happy with the progress we've made in the last decade!
Sean
1/30/2013 at 9:43 PM
Love your site! Truly inspirational.

Question: what will you do when you're done. I mean the easy answer is "it'll never be done" but really this is a major piece of your life and a significant hobby. At some point renovations will slow to a trickle. You've likely got too much invested in your home to sell it....so what's next? Have you ever given any thought to that.

Thanks again...as a techno geek myself I really enjoyed your server article.

Sean
1/31/2013
This is a good question, and a hard one. Obviously we'll always have some sort of projects to do, and the biggest may still yet be ahead of us, but they will eventually slow, as you said. Maybe we'll look at a second house? Maybe start planning for retirement (as in, start working on something that we'll need in 20 more years)? Maybe just throw our arms in the air and say "enough with this!" (probably not likely)? It's hard to say, but you're absolutely right.
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