Pinterest – the Site I Love to Hate

I do love Pinterest, I do. I love updating my boards and uploading new pictures of work I’ve done or places I’ve been. I love scrolling through all the images, its like a magazine of inspiration that I don’t have to recycle when I’m bored with it. Because images are constantly being uploaded, there is always something new to look at. I’ve had a Pinterest account since 2012, it was a New Years thing – must sign up for Pinterest – and in those days uploads took ages, sometimes they came in sideways and you never quite knew how much of the picture would be visible. Things are very different now and that is both good and bad.

vintage inspired pinterest board

To start with Pinterest was used by people who had an interest in design; it was first developed in 2009 as a closed community. It became a publicly accessible site in 2010. You had to ask for an invite to register and I think it still took a few weeks before mine was processed at the beginning of 2012. I remember being very excited when I could actually create a board for the first time! It was quite an arty site, with lots of vintage styling, lots of handcrafts, lots of DIY. That much hasn’t changed. Everyone was very proud of their posts and a bit shy to add information, its not like that anymore.

hand crafts board

Now the deluge of stored images in just about every category is mind boggling. And the way Pinterest refers to itself has changed too; its a BOOKMARKING site, a way to remember where you’ve seen something and to store it with other common images personal to your taste, so if you’re looking for hair styles for a party, you can scroll through pages and pages of styles and pin them to a board you’ve created called ‘Party Hairdo’s.’ You can access it anytime you visit Pinterest and if the pinner has linked it to a site, you can watch tutorials about how to create the look. That’s all quite exciting and user friendly. But what if you use it as a tool to research other peoples design choices, their wish lists, the absolute must haves for their new home?

home decor

Let’s say for example, that you’ve created a board called ‘New House.’ You’ve pinned wonderful images of all the things you’d like to incorporate in your new home. They give a really good feel of the look you want to achieve and the style you’ve fallen in love with. What happens, though if you’ve pinned images for a kitchen that you want to refurbish and what happens when you try to find out where the items of the fit out that you love come from? Its almost impossible to trace them. Unless they’ve been pinned by the supplier the process of re-pinning generally has no information about the actual image – because when you upload you’re invited to ‘say something about this image.’ No-one ever says, cooker by Smeg, lights by Mr Light, they say ‘love this idea, great retro look.’ Thanks.

my style

And that is why I hate Pinterest. My clients often have boards which they share with me. Its great to get the feel of what they want to achieve and the MOOD they’re trying to create. But then I have to find the items that they’ve seen; source the products that they’ve fallen in love with, there is no bigger haystack than the world wide web!

black taps

I’ve spent days sourcing black taps for a bathroom – and was very proud of the fact that I found some (all the metal-ware in fact, everything except the WC flush) – at an exorbitant price that I knew the client wouldn’t go for. And what about paint colours? ARGH. They never stay true, every computer has a slightly different colour screen, so sourcing the company that created that particular shade is especially daunting – when you don’t even know which country the image originated from. So how do I charge out for time spent tracking down a Pinterest wish list?


As my last three jobs have involved a Pinterest board, this is becoming more regularly a part of my job. It gives me a very good idea of what I’m looking for – but it doesn’t speed up the process. In fact I’d go so far as to say that it’s quicker for me to guess what the client might like and visit showrooms for actual product information! And here’s the thing I can’t control, the disappointment the client feels when I say that the look they want is staggeringly expensive to recreate – I had it happen so many times on one job that they became quite defensive when I suggested we look at a local supplier instead.

And this is my point, Pinterest is about the pictures but there’s less information with them than in a magazine. It isn’t a selling medium, there’s no shopping basket and although some images are linked to selling pages, for the most part the reason they look so enticing is because they still retain that sense of mystery. “Whose house is this, who took the pictures, what does the rest of the house look like?” They’re just that little bit out of reach, goading you into defining how you want your home to look, but like a fairy tale, the minute you try and get closer, you find it’s all smoke and mirrors.

By the way, I’ve since been told about a Google image search that tracks the image to its original upload – I have a feeling I’ll be using that quite a lot!

homes and interiors

A Year to Look Forward to

This Christmas has been wonderful, I hope you all enjoyed your festive season as well. I’ve taken a little break from the blog – largely because I couldn’t actually get to the computer! It’s this time of the year that storage really becomes an issue with me and when I finally take down all the decorations (today) I feel ready to freshen things up, to create some space and to PUT EVERYTHING AWAY!

feather wreath

Over the last few weeks of crazy spending (on other people) I’ve been thinking about what were my favourite homewares purchases of 2014. I had a holiday in the South of France over the summer and came home with two oversized cushions for my bed. They were designed to cover my pillows and to make the bed more glamorous. Job done, but what I didn’t realise was how comfy they’d be to lean against and now almost every activity that I would otherwise do sitting on the sofa, is taken back to my bed and there I stay tucked up and nestled into my big cushions. Winter has some perks!

big cushions

I needed extra storage (what did I tell you) in my bedroom and found this little whatnot at a local antiques market. It had been painted blue. It wasn’t very lovely. They hadn’t prepared the wood very well and the paint started peeling away every time it got knocked, so I gave it a good sanding with fine grade sandpaper and then coated it up with two coats of normal emulsion paint.

Coating it up

whatnot detail

I knocked it back with the same fine sandpaper to give a distressed and lived in look and then sealed it with an acrylic decorators glaze. I’ve mentioned this product before but it honestly makes doing up furniture the most straightforward process. All of the products are water based (and although I hate the fumes of oil based paint, you still can’t beat it for a robust and long lasting finish – the decorator’s glaze however, is almost as good) so they’re quick drying and easy to handle. The glaze goes on slightly translucent but dries clear and comes in a variety of finishes. I’ve used the matt on my kitchen units (yes really) and most often go for satin on furniture so that they look more ‘authentic.’

bedroom storage

And finally I went a bit mad on mirrors in the autumn. I had the two large ones already and wanted to have a mirror wall to compliment my rogues gallery going up the stairs but hadn’t found quite the right sizes. As chance would have it, I found these when visiting a girlfriend in Tunbridge Wells (the baskets above were also found in T.Wells) and knew they should be mine.

hall mirrors

What I’ve also been doing over the break is taking the time to think about the blog and the direction it’s going in. The reason I started writing was to share the experiences I have as an interior designer. That hasn’t changed but it seems that in blogging communities credit is given to the amount of traffic and the frequency of posting. This is something I’ve chosen to overlook, largely because my writing is an extension of my work as a designer. I don’t have time to write a blog post every day, let alone every couple of hours. What drives me is sharing issues and events that I find interesting – not how many views my blog gets (although I’m always happy to have more readers!)

detail hall mirrors

I happened to read a really wonderful article about this by Holly Becker – creator/editor of decor8 – which you can read here and she strikes the chord that great content takes time to create. She mentions that most readers are time poor and not likely to read every post if their inbox is overwhelmed with emails from the same source. How many times a week do you look at the subscribed marketing emails that come in? I delete just about every one – because I know how to reach them if I want to.

detail whatnot

So, in the spirit that I started, I’ll continue to post when I have the time and most importantly when I think the content is good enough to be of interest to someone reading the blog. I’m very happy for you to share my content but please credit me and link back to Putting the Love In. As with every creative pursuit, having the idea in the first place is the hard part and in such a competitive marketplace those of us with little voices don’t often get heard over those that have the financial backing to shout really loudly. Funnily enough, I’m not actually interested in doing that because what I do is still client driven and I think they’d feel rather exposed. My work is about helping people create homes that they want to live in and sometimes the issues can be very personal. So I take my time and learn what I can from every job I do. It’s only after I’ve worked through the process that I feel I can share my experiences. You can see why this might be called slow blogging! Think I’ll head back to bed…

bed cushions