Sooo…. notice anything different?! If you’re reading along in Google Reader, make sure you click on over to check it out! For the past few months, Greg and I’ve spent hours and hours working on the new and improved 7th House on the Left. As we mentioned in this post, our original plan was to unleash the new look a little over two months ago. Then we realized we could make things even better by not just updating the look, but beefing up the content pages – like the projects page and house tour. So we waited a little longer to click “Activate” and spent more time tweaking and adding a few finishing touches. Now, finally, here we are!
For me and Greg, designing a blog is a 50/50 job. I design all of the graphics while Greg does all of the coding. We work together when it comes to stuff like working out the layouts, writing the content, configuring ads, etc. I have to admit, in my head, he totally does at least 75% of the work. I really have no idea how he does it – which makes me insanely grateful that I get to take advantage of his coding awesomeness. From start to finish, this entire process took us about eight months. Designing a blog like this wouldn’t ordinarily take nearly that long. But seeing as how we worked on this during our “free time” (which is a pretty rare occurrence for us) and had Christmas, New Years, a two-week vacation to LA and I was sick for a week… eight months isn’t too shabby.
When we started on this venture back in August, the first order of business was a new and updated look. We wanted something a little more modern, simple and, all in all, more “us”. Since the blog is about our house, it seems logical it should look like it “goes with” our house. Recently our style has been evolving into more of a “modern rustic” vibe (which we’re totally loving and can’t wait to carry throughout the house in the future). Keeping that in mind, we put together a modern, warm, yet colorful color scheme paired with a rustic chalkboard background and modern fonts and graphics. All mixed together, we concocted a blog design we feel reflects our personalities and design aesthetic.
The first big difference you probably noticed was the new chalkboard background. We ditched the old bland linen background (which a few of you mentioned was hard on the eyes) and traded it in for something with more contrast and “oomph”. As you could probably tell from this post, this post, and this post, we have a thing for chalkboards around here. That, paired with the idea of adding more visual contrast, meant a chalkboard background was the perfect new “signature texture” for us. We even adorned our Facebook and Twitter pages with new chalkboard backgrounds.
Once we finally pegged down the look of the new design, it was time to amp up the functionality. This is where I hand the post over to Greg…
We really wanted to make everything more sleek and all around better to navigate and easier to find what you’re looking for. Before, our functionality was totally wimpy – kind of like Steve Rogers before he was Captain America. We have a lot of big and small changes – some so small you guys probably won’t even notice. But here’s a quick rundown of the new and improved functional additions. Oh… and there just so happens to be seven of them… we totally didn’t plan it that way!
ONE // Over the past year, we’ve gotten a bunch of emails asking for an email subscription feature. Well, we’re pleased to finally be able to say that we now have one! It uses Feedburner, a service we know and love. All you have to do is just enter your email address and whenever a new post goes up, you’ll get an email letting you know. You can find this feature in the sidebar under the Pinterest window.
TWO // We finally have a brand new tour page, complete with updated photos (there are even more of those coming soon!), and a fun, interactive floor plan to show you around the house.
THREE // According to our last reader survey, His & Her Favorite Things ranks as your number one favorite regular feature (with Dead Ringer Deals being a very close second). That being the case, we added an interactive widget on the sidebar that will take you to all of the His & Her posts as well as introduce you to some of our His & Her favorites right up front.
FOUR // We have a brand new projects page! Organizing this one was a big job in and of itself – and truth be told, we can probably beef it up even more. One thing is for sure: this page is a lot more functional than it used to be. Now, instead of just seeing a short list of our most popular posts, we have a full catalog of categorized projects from way back when to the present.
FIVE // We compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions and put them on a designated page that is easy for everyone to find. If you’re looking for our paint colors, information about floor stain or just curious as to how Ash and I met, this is where to go.
SIX // Near the main notebook tabs at the top, we now have a special tab that’s a direct link to Brown & Barkley. Hopefully this will help everyone stay up to date with new products as well as bring in more traffic to the store.
SEVEN // In an effort to make everything more streamline and simple, we designed a new and easy way to share posts on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other outlets. You can easily “Like”, Tweet, Pin, or email any of our posts from this little guy. If you hit the Share menu, there are tons of other options. Oh, and we also designed a more simple comment entry form, as well. Yay for simple.
Well, that about wraps up our tour of the new 7th House. We hope you guys like the new look as much as we do. We really love the new look, personally, and it’s so nice to have it actually finished and published. Definitely feel free to let us know if something looks wonky on your computer (just let me know what browser/version you’re using). We did our best to make sure it looks decent on any modern browser, but sometimes a certain combination slips through unnoticed. Now that all of this blog design business is out of the bag, I’m going to get back to hanging the new foyer light fixture!