I’m so excited to share an email interview I conducted with one of my “blog crushes,” Victoria Smith of SFGirlByBay. I’ve long been a fan of her bohemian style and awesome interior design looks. I had the opportunity to meet her while at the Altitude Design Summit and it was such a thrill! Her outfit was, of course, effortlessly chic, and her advice to us neophyte bloggers was so helpful. Read on and learn from her!
1. What inspired you to start this blog?
Oh, I’m not exactly sure. I started in June 2006, as just a hobby at first – it was never meant to be my ‘job’, or I probably would have thought of a more appropriate name. I’ve always had a love of photography and interior design, as well as writing, and the blog seemed to encompass everything I was passionate about. I initially started the blog as a way to post photographs of my interiors in the hopes of being featured on one of Apartment Therapy’s home tours, and fortunately I was selected. Their blog post on my home tour directed traffic to my blog, and one thing lead to another. Over time, the blog grew a loyal readership and eventually became my full-time job.
2. What are some of your favorite projects you’ve done? Why?
I stripped and sanded down an old art deco buffet I found at a yard sale for $5. I refinished it and it’s beautiful. No one can believe it was only $5, so that makes me feel kind of proud.
3. What advice would you give to readers who want to redecorate their homes or start a project, but aren’t sure where to begin?
I think designing is an extension of your personality. It’s the place I know I feel most comfortable and feeds my creativity. I decorate using elements that really mean something to me, or make me feel happy when I see them. If you do that, you’ll build a room that you want to spend time in. I bought a white sofa with slipcovers, and it works as kind of a canvas to build around. I can change up the throws and pillows, and add vintage pieces to the room and create a whole new look — almost seasonal, as my moods change. So, I think if you follow your heart then you’ll represent yourself uniquely — since there’s only one you!
4. What are the five items/supplies every person should have in their home for any DIY project?
-Blue Masking tape
-An electric drill/screwdriver
-Exacto Blades & Knife
5. Where do you get inspiration for your projects?
It might be easier to tell you what doesn’t inspire me. I’m a pretty visual person, so wherever I go it’s likely I’m taking photos either with my iPhone (I’m addicted to Instagram) or with my camera. The city of San Francisco is nonstop inspiring to me and everywhere I look there’s something beautiful and colorful. My friends are very creative and they inspire me endlessly. I love art and photography and books. Great stories and films inspire me. My very favorite film is Amelié – I’ve watched it probably 6-7 times. I love the story, but the set design is perfection.
I also love European design magazines, like Living Etc., Hus & Hem, Marie Claire Maison.
Two of my favorite blogs are Door Sixteen, written by Anna Dorfman – she designed my blog. Anna’s restoring a house in Newburgh, New York and it’s stunning. And I love Emma’s Blogg – an unending source of Scandinavian inspiration.
I find great inspiration from my friends on Twitter. They tweet, and I follow. The amount of creativity I find there is constant — from photography, to great interiors, to design, and fashion or even a great laugh. I’m pretty well addicted.
6. What do you think every home should have no matter the budget?
A comfy sofa, and a good mattress. Comfort is key.
7. Is there a design mantra you follow?
It’s kind of anti-mantra – No Rules!
8. If you are a novice DIY-er, what project would you suggest?
I think reupholstering a stool, or chair seat is fairly simple, if you’ve got a good staple gun.
9. What’s the number one way to make a room or piece of furniture look brand new or better?
Paint! I paint everything. And slipcovers are a great way to give new life to an old piece of upholstery.
10. How do you create luxe looks for less?
I really don’t do that many DIY projects, with the exception of painting, and sewing. I sew cushion covers using vintage fabrics I find at the flea market and that’s very inexpensive, but can give you a whole new look.
11. What is your favorite aspect of your blog?
I love the sense of community, and the creative friends that I’m surrounded by. It’s a constant source of inspiration, and a very supportive place to work and live.