March 28, 2014

Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire): House of Brinson’s Susan Brinson

Susan Brinson (right), Art Director and Stylist, and her husband, William Brinson (left), a Food Photographer, share their enchantment with cuisine, traveling, collected objects, and philosophies in connection with design, photography, and entertaining on their blog House of Brinson. Through which, they want to instill readers with a sense of, as they put it, “curiosity and nostalgia.” They can be found on Twitter: @StudioBrinson.

Why did you create a Website of regular entries?
About five years ago, William and I really wanted to work together. William had a photography career, and I had a career in the corporate advertising industry as a design director. We blogged together behind the scenes for years, and over the summer, started to transition working together full-time. We finally made it! Our relationship, as a team, is a bit unconventional in the industry, but it makes so much sense to us, and how we work with clients to produce photography.

Plum Vanilla Crum Bars recipe and photographed by House of Brinson

What Web-based solution did you select and why?
Squarespace. We started with a Squarespace template years ago, and just transitioned to a custom Squarespace site. We started with them, because we didn’t know where blogging would take us, so it was a perfect solution.

What is your definition of a good blog
and what are three good blogs that you frequently visit?
This is a tough question. Blogs have changed so much, so I guess it depends on what the blog is trying to accomplish, that would define if it’s good. There are some blogs with regular contributors that lean to the structure of a daily publication, and some blogs that are a very personal story. I like both styles for different reasons. Our blog is about storytelling—we are sharing the story of our life with our readers. Our house renovations, maybe a favorite recipe or where we travel, are the types of topics we share. We produce 100% original content, down to the recipes. If we don’t know how to do something, we’ll take a class or look for a resource to learn. That’s one challenge about blogging: you are the editor, designer, photographer, writer, stylist, food stylist, recipe developer, and social media expert. I could add a few more items to that list! And I think we have it easy, because we are a team of two, rather than one!

Three blogs we love: Design SpongeDesign CrushBright Bazaar

Mushroom and Sage Toast recipe and photographed by House of Brinson

How do you create content for your blog?
We are a little off the cuff! We do plan, but we might be doing something and shout, “This would make a cool blog post.” I’d like to be a lot more structured and keep an editorial calendar, I think that’s the right thing to do, if you are looking to keep organized.

How do you stay organized and motivated
to contribute to your blog?
We totally struggle with this. I do not doubt that “blogging depression” is a thing, similar to seasonal affective disorder, or winter depression. We experience the highs and lows, for sure, and working through the lows can be hard. I think you just have to pony up and do a post, and see how you feel afterwards. Having a few posts in your back pocket is good too. Then you don’t feel the pressure to be blogging all the time. We use Evernote to keep somewhat organized.

Curio-Cabinet Line and photographed by House of Brinson

For those aspiring to make a Website composed
of regular thoughts and/or images, what is your advice?
First, write a mission statement and stick to it. That’s the ‘why’ part of blogging. When you do hit a motivation hump, you can go back to that. Second, create original content. Make sure you are using your pictures and your words. I think the market is so saturated—make sure you’re unique and share your original point of view.

What is your quest in blogging?
Recently, since we started working together (mission accomplished!), it’s to push ourselves to grow. We just purchased a house outside of New York City, and it’s a huge adjustment for us. It will be fun to see how that growth plays out on the blog, and how we change visually as a result of a lifestyle change.

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All photographs courtesy of William Brinson.

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Read more of the Design Feast series Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire).

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