Remodelista, an online home design publication, has a following that’s borderline obsessive. Readers visit the site several times a day for new posts on how to redecorate their bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens, and just about every product that is featured on the site is sold out in record time. It probably doesn’t hurt that Gwyneth Paltrow was not only an early fan of the site but has also become a contributor.
A few years ago, co-founder Julie Carlson started the blog with a few friends that were going through various stages of remodelling their homes. They scoured the Web for a blog that could provide inspiration but didn’t find it, so they decided to create one of their own.
After years of working for print publications, Carlson said it’s gratifying to write something and post it immediately. “My first job was at The New Yorker,” she recalled. “It seemed like it took 20 or 30 years there to be allowed to write a sentence and get it published. There’s something so liberating about creating your own online magazine.”
Last year, Remodelista was acquired by Say Media, the company behind Jane Pratt’s xojane.com. In January, Remodelista introduced a redesign.
Troy Young, president of Say Media, said the challenge these days on the Web is to be “interesting.” “It’s hard when there are so many options for people’s attention,” Young said. “Being interesting is very different than promoting a product. We have to think like a publisher and use language that defines who we are.”
Carlson wants Remodelista to become a lifestyle for its readers, similar to how Jenna Lyons has created a lifestyle for J. Crew. “We’ve built this trust with our readers,” she said. “On Remodelista, you’re surrounded by beautiful imagery, stuff you’d like to have. It’s all part of creating this vision: I can live this way.”