Notice Anything Different?

Yup, after months of working on a little behind the scenes blog makeover (not kidding, this stuff literally takes us months) we’ve FINALLY let ‘er rip. Like any project, there were unexpected delays: mysterious coding glitches, inexplicable site crashes (thanks for your patience on those, btw), an earthquake and even a hurricane to round things out. But before we let another excuse get in our way, we decided to just go for it. It’s not 100% done. It may crash the site again. There could be a blizzard next week. Who knows.

It’s actually surprising to us that we haven’t done this sooner. We’ve had the same exact blog look/background/layout since the spring of 2008 (if you can believe it). It seemed silly that we’ve been through so many room re-paintings, furniture re-arrangings, and even a move to a whole new house… but hadn’t so much as changed the background pattern for three whole years. So it was definitely time. It just sort of felt like we were wearing old clothes that didn’t quite fit anymore. So although we know there are probably folks out there who will miss the old look (we’re sentimental creatures too) we’re excited to finally put on a fresh new outfit.

Here’s a little bit of what we were hoping to accomplish with the new design:

  • Update the look (colors/patterns/typefaces) to be more reflective of our design choices in the new house
  • Make the header more inclusive of the things we blog about (folks kept saying it just represented the “house” part of our name)
  • Lighten up a bit, since the old color scheme was feeling a bit dull & heavy at moments
  • Improve navigation and help you guys discover content more easily
  • Overall just make the site feel fresher, more 2011 and less 2008

So this is what our amateur web designing skills came up with. So far we really love it, even though there are definitely things we’re still trying to finesse. We’ve been tweaking it for the past several weeks, so we’re kinda used to it by now – but we understand if some of you are still skeptical of the change. Think of it like rearranging a room or painting a wall – you might just need to give it a few days to get used to it.

When it comes to the actual header, we photographed a collection of objects that had special meaning to us on white cardstock outside (you know we love keeping things personal). In case you can’t figure it all out on your own, here’s the meaning behind each item:

  • Photostrips have always been something we’ve enjoyed, hence their appearance at our wedding
  • Clara and Burger are as much a part of this blog as any DIY project, so their picture was a must
  • A little wooden “C” block for Clara and a small bone-shaped dog treat (on the other side) were another way to tie them in
  • Sherry and I met in 2004 when we lived in NYC, so the little wooden skyscraper and taxi cabs remind us of those early days
  • We’re cheap. So we save our pennies. Hence the change, which actually adds up to seven cents – which is a lucky number of ours (plus the dates on each of the pennies are 2007, which is when we started this little ol’ blog)
  • We live in (and love) Richmond. So we tossed in a little Richmond magnet. Represent.
  • Paint swatches and fabric samples = our idea of a good time. So we picked a few that felt like our current house/style
  • There’s not a much more sentimental object than the key to our house (although we altered the tip of it in Photoshop because we’re paranoid)
  • Of course we also squeezed in a photo of our current house (had to have that happy yellow door in there somewhere)
  • A white ceramic rhino is kind of our mascot at this point (at least behind Burger and our dearly departed ceramic dog).

When it comes to the background, we actually created that as an homage to our previous logo (you know that little YHL heart? the background is actually just a gazillion of those laid out at all different angles to make an abstract-ish pattern). And as for the actual functional changes that we made, here they are:

1. We added a new side-deal called Young House Life (see the “Life” title under the header on the right?) to serve as sort of a “mundane everyday happenings area” where we mostly share Clara & Burger pics/videos along with behind the scenes blog stuff and other odds and ends that aren’t beefy enough for a dedicated YHL post over here (you know we love to over-share). But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean Clara, Burger, and other life stuff (vacations, anniversaries, etc) will suddenly be gone from the main site. Those things have always been a huge part of who we are, so they stay. Just think of Young House Life is a little “bonus footage” spot. Oh and it has a separate feed address for you to subscribe to as well (if you’d like to get those updates on your reader).

 

2. We finally made a paint color page about all of the ones we’ve used in this house and linked to it from our sidebar (like this one that we made for our first house).

3. We also made a dedicated source list for where we got nearly everything in this house (like this one that we made for our first house) and also linked that up on the sidebar.

4. We tossed in a Fav. Posts button, also on the sidebar (with little thumbnails and links). We intend to update it every month or so with new faves (since we’re fickle folks and because we’ve also heard from a bunch of readers who’d love to see more archive stuff, but aren’t sure what’s worth digging around for).

5. We also added a Videos button on the sidebar, which shows thumbnails of a few of them. All of our videos used to be accessible from the bar under the header, but we moved some other stuff up there and thought videos could breathe better down below – so now you can access them all by clicking the link at the bottom of this button.

6. We added a Giving Back button to share the love for three charities that we’re thrilled to support, each of which were chosen because they represent stuff we love (homes, kids, & dogs). We make an annual donation of $1,000 to the Richmond Habitat For Humanity along with $500 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and $500 to the Richmond SPCA (and we definitely encourage others to check them out – you can donate here, here, and here or find a local Habitat for Humanity or SPCA in your area here and here).

7. We retooled a lot of other buttons that have always been on our sidebar (like the House Crashing one) with some updated pics/type/colors. But that’s more decorative slash fun than functional. As is the new Twitter button which now goes by the name of Tweetersiks. Oh yeah, we officially out-punned Mr. Tom Petersik (my dear old dad).

8. Oh and we were inspired (by Kate over at Centsational Girl) to add a nice thorough pagination capability (so you can click back to the very first post in our archives, you know in case you have a year to spare reading 2,000+ of them).

So there it is. Of course we still have a bunch of stuff on our blog-to-do list, so here are just a few things that we’re hoping to roll out in the next few months (or years, you know how long these things can take us, haha):

  • Completely “renovate” our Projects page so it has some images instead of just a ton of crazy links (can you believe we’ve tackled over 500 projects?)
  • Update the designs/header on the Mood Boards and Room Gallery pages (since they’re still rocking the old tan stripes)
  • Add about 100+ other makeovers to our Room Gallery (we have so many amazing Reader Redesigns in our archives to toss in)

Should keep us busy for a while. And we do have our $6 cabinets to finish. Might switch back over to DIY for at least a little bit. Web stuff is kind of fun (when you’re in the zone), but there’s nothing like paint under your nails and sawdust flying. Hope you guys like the new look. Has anyone else done a little site tweaking lately? Any new color schemes or functionality that makes you giddy in that “it’s 2:52 am and we’re still working on this post way?” Not that we are. That would be irresponsible parenting.

Comments

  1. says

    Hehe, I thought I went to the wrong place this morning. At first I was all -“what? they changed stuff? why?” but as I browsed around I really like all the changes. It’s updated and fresh and really seems to reflect your current style. :-)

    • Sara says

      Me too!! I opened the page and thought the link had moved!! LOL! I was having a crummy morning and thought I’d sneak in a little blog time and seeing this fun new arrangement to explore cheered me up!!
      I totally agree with your changing it up!

    • Brittnee says

      I thought the same as well! I love it though. It does really show a lot more of what you guys blog about. I am having trouble with everything loading right now, but I hope it smoothes out soon!

    • threadbndr says

      yep, me too. As the page was opening, I thought, “somebody hacked John and Sherry!!!!!”. I like the new, lighter colors, though I miss the heart logo in the header (and love it on the background).

  2. mariela says

    I love it!! So fresh and modern! Funny thing…I was reading your blog the other day and I thought to myself ‘they should makeover their banner, background, etc.’ And here it is!!

    • says

      Haha- seriously! It was so overdue my hates-change mom was saying things like “have you ever thought about changing things up since you always redo things at home…” – ok mom! We took the hint! Haha.

      xo,
      s

  3. cheep3r5 says

    Can you post the color numbers for your old blog format? I always loved them, but did not want to duplicate the color combination while you were using them. Thank you!

  4. says

    Looks FANTASTIC! I thought that I had somehow clicked the wrong link… I didn’t recognize it at all. I love the new design. It feels lighter. Can a blog feel lighter?! Can’t wait to take some time and explore.

  5. Tiffany says

    Everything looks so great! I love all of the changes, I can tell you guys put in a lot of work! Keep up the blogging awesome-ness :)

  6. Jackie says

    I was very confused for a moment until you put this post up! Wow it looks amazing, it’s like you’ve moved virtual house!

    • says

      Aw thanks Michelle! That’s how we feel – we’re nostalgic for the old look, but it was time for a change! Especially for two color/pattern- changing folks like us! It’s so crazy that we didn’t change a thing in over three years!

      xo,
      s

  7. Laurel says

    Love the new design! You did an amazing job recreating your blog!

    One glitch: To access your house tours, old and new are flip flopped…

    • says

      Thanks for the tip Laurel! John got in there and fixed that, so hopefully it works now (if it takes a few more moments, it might be a cache-ing thing, but clearing your browser’s cache should do it).

      xo,
      s

  8. Adrianne says

    I LOVE love LOVE the new layout! It looks fantastic! I was so excited to see it this morning when I checked for a post before heading off to work. Can’t wait to explore it some more to check out the new details! Excellent job with the blog makeover! Hope you guys are still enjoying having power back. :)

  9. Katherine says

    Hey guys, loving the new colours on the blog but the blog header itself isn’t showing up on any of the pages I look at. Not sure if something’s wrong at my end or yours but thought you might want to know. LOVING the turquoise!

    • says

      Oh man – so sorry it’s not showing up (you’re the second person to say that). The only thing we can think of is that maybe it’s a cahce-ing thing. What browser are you using? Maybe clearing your browser’s cache will solve it?

      xo,
      s

    • Brigid says

      Same here – but I figure it might be my work firewall or something. If all else fails, I’ll scope it out in more detail when I get home tonight. Loving the fresh new colors and the abstract background is amazing!

    • says

      Oh that’s something I didn’t think of- hmm the dreaded work firewall. Here’s hoping it just needs some time to “catch up” and then it’ll pop up!

      xo,
      s

    • Katherine says

      I hate to say it but I cleared out my cache a couple of times and all I have at the top is a (beautiful, I must say!) bright turquoise box. I’m using Internet Explorer at work so it could be that, I’ll try having a look on Google Chrome later to see if it works on there.

    • says

      Booo! So sorry Katherine. We can’t think of much else that it could be – other than something that just needs time to “settle” on certain browsers. Definitely let us know if it’s not there for you by tomorrow! Fingers crossed that it’ll work itself out soon!

      xo,
      s

    • Emily says

      I can’t see it either!! I was just gonna come back by later today and hope that it magically appears!

    • Dina says

      I have two browsers on my computer… the header works for me on Firefox, but I get the turquoise box on Explorer, so I think it’s just an IE thing. Clearing the cache didn’t help. Hope that sheds some light on the issue!

    • Jamie says

      I could see it when I first came to your site through facebook but once I started moving around in the site I got the turquoise box. (I’m using IE as well.)

    • Rachel says

      Ditto. I cleared the cache in IE (mandatory work browser, blah), and it’s not showing up. Will definitely check back tomorrow!

      I love the colors, the header, and especially the new Young House Life section! Very cool guys.

    • says

      I know! We thought it might be an issue if that design is copywrited by Merimekko or something – so we stuck to more general items while taking a lot of color scheme cues from sweet old Sue!

      xo,
      s

    • sarah says

      I have super old internet explorer at work and the header doesn’t show up but when I run firefox it’s totally fine (and gorgeous btw – awesome job!)

  10. Heather says

    Looks great! Love the change it’s more you. I am not sure if others are having this problem but the header isn’t showing up.

  11. Kristin says

    You both did an amazing job! I absolutely love the new look and it really freshens everything up! After a horrible morning, you guys made my day :-)