I Love the Internet + Life + Health

Blogging: Looking back + looking forward.

I started my first blog—an offshoot of my Cure website, Hello Image (RIP)—in 1998. I didn’t call it a blog, though, it was just a journal. This was before the advent of blogging software, and the journal was a static page 50 miles long. Any comments were left as a guestbook entry. It’s funny to think about this stuff now!

About a year later, LiveJournal was launched, and those personal journals started to turn into communities. I maintained a LiveJournal for years, but it was private and restricted to a small group of close friends. I never got involved with the Blogger platform, but in 2001 Movable Type came along…and Absolutely Vile was born. Mena and Ben, the couple behind Movable Type, were Cure fans and had been involved with the online Cure-fan community, which is probably the only reason I was a aware that blogs (ahem, “weblogs”) were even a thing that people were doing at that point. It’s weird how everything is connected!

(If you were an Absolutely Vile reader, you might get a kick out of these old graphics: AV 2001 + AV 2002. Hello, grungetype.)

I updated Absolutely Vile every day—often multiple times a day—for almost four years. That took me right up to 2005, the year that Jason Kottke decided to quit his day job and become a full-time blogger in exchange for donations from readers. Blogging was turning into…something. I wasn’t really sure what that something was at the time, but I knew that I wasn’t really comfortable with it. My blog had always been a place where I could post about anything that was interesting to me or whatever was going on in my life that I felt like sharing. I didn’t have a plan or an agenda, it was all just for fun. Suddenly, though, I started to feel like there were a lot of eyes on me, and a lot of questions about what exactly my blog was about (the answer was always “nothing and everything”). Nasty comments started to become more common, and the demand from readers to see more of my life than I was willing to share became increasingly loud.

So I stopped. I deleted all of the archives and just walked away. I still kept in touch with my friends through my LiveJournal, but I essentially had no public online presence anymore. It was a massive relief.

During the two years that I stopped blogging publicly, Evan and I decided to leave Brooklyn (where we’d been living rather unhappily in a noisy loft in Red Hook) and move upstate to Beacon, rent a house for a year, go through a lot of real estate drama, move into my mother’s basement temporarily, and, finally, buy a Victorian fixer-upper in the City of Newburgh. If you’ve never been a blogger that distinction of public vs. private might not mean much, but in retrospect I am very glad that we did all of those things without having any input from strangers. For better or worse, I don’t know if we’d have made the same decisions we did if we’d stopped to listen to other people’s opinions. Yes, I did keep writing in my LiveJournal, but it’s different when it’s just close friends reading your words. I didn’t feel like “a blogger” during that time period.

Two big things happened in the world of blogging during my absence: Everyone left Movable Type and switched to Wordpress…and bloggers started to make money. Sometimes a lot of money. It became commonplace for blogs to have ads on them, and sponsored posts also eventually became de rigueur. Full-time blogging was becoming a reality for a number of people, and everyone and their brother and their mother had a blog.

Despite swearing that I’d never do it again, I started to really miss blogging. Once we’d closed on the house (a long, arduous process), it seemed like the kind of renovations ahead of us were probably worth publicly documenting. And so, in the spring of 2006, I started Door Sixteen. For a couple of months, I quietly blogged about electrical work and re-plastering and such, and then I panicked. What was I doing? Did I really want to share this? Did I actually want people to read it? What was I even writing about? I wasn’t sure. So I stopped.

Fast forward to July 2007, and I was, of course, missing blogging again. So I made a commitment to restart Door Sixteen, but to only blog about the house. Period. No personal stuff, no makeup, no pictures of myself…just the house. I also made a firm decision to not monetize my writing, since it seemed at odds with my desire to remain slightly anonymous and to let my house be a home to turn the experience into a money-making enterprise. That was about as much thought went into it, really. I never plan posts, I don’t schedule anything, I have no sense of obligation to document everything I do, and if something doesn’t feel right to me, I stay away from it.

And now here we are another five years later, and I still love blogging. I love the sense of community it fosters, not only with my fellow bloggers, but with readers who engage in commentary. I love being able to share things I come across that I like with a bunch of other people who might like those things, too. I love doing what I can to demystify what’s involved with (slowly, slowly, slowly) renovating an old house. And yeah, as much as I tried to avoid it this time around, I love talking about makeup and music and movies and dogs and food and coffee. More than anything, though, I love to write. Before I figured out that I’m supposed to be a designer, I was pretty sure I’d be a writer. That didn’t happen, but I do still get a lot of satisfaction out of expressing myself textually as well as visually. The act of writing helps me to understand myself more, and sometimes just writing a post about the simplest thing brings me some insight that I might not have arrived at just by sitting in a chair and thinking.

I love blogging. I hate the word “blog”/”blogging,” but I guess we’re stuck with it. It just sounds so…phlegm-y.

(Is anyone still reading this? I know I’m rambling here, but I’m going with it.)

So where do I go from here? I’ve been blogging for fourteen years. That’s a long time! I don’t worry that I’ll run out of things to talk about (I never shut up!), but it is becoming increasingly hard for me to carve out the time it takes to put together worthwhile blog posts. I work in an office doing this all day long, and then I come home and do this until the wee hours—and then I sleep a little bit and wake up to do it all over again. I love designing stuff, don’t get me wrong, but man alive is it easy to get stretched thin. Everything takes at least five times longer than I think it’s going to, and I hate saying no…and, well, I’m not sure how well I’ve actually learned these lessons I wrote about last year.

This is what I do know: I want to blog more. I don’t want to slip into patterns where I’m letting weeks pass between posts. If I really do love doing this (and I do!), I want to do it as best as I can and in a meaningful way. I need to figure out to make that happen. At a minimum, I need to be able to stop doing so much freelance work in the evenings/nights/mornings/weekends.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether I should start accepting some advertisements from independent businesses. I know that’s probably shocking to a lot of you reading this, but I’m not going to shy away from talking about it. My approach to this kind of thing has to be totally transparent or else I feel creepy! I’ve had a lot of conversations about this subject with blogging friends of mine over the past few months, and all of them (whether they accept ads on their blogs or not) have been really supportive and encouraging of me going in that direction. I need to figure it out for myself, though—not just whether it’s OK or not OK for me to do, but where I fall within the realm of OK-ness and how this all fits into the scheme of things where my personal ethics are concerned.

So I’m working on it. I care a lot about the integrity of my voice and my opinions, and I don’t want to violate any trust I’ve built up with my readers—with you—over the years. It’s a tough area, I know. I promise not to be shady about it, regardless of what I decide to do.

Thanks for listening. ♡

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  • Reply Jenna @ sweetfineday September 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Yup, everything that you just said. You know that. From blogging when it wasn’t called blogging to that David Carson era web graphics (i should dig up my psd files) to should I start making money off the blog. EVERYTHING, Anna, everything.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Jenna, thank you. You know I really value your opinion and perspective, and you’ve been so helpful and supportive about all of this. I appreciate it so much. xx

  • Reply christine September 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Really enjoyed this post. There is definitely something magical about putting down your thoughts and also being able to share new & exciting things with others. There are always going to be those people that bitch & moan about stupid shit, but these same people have no life. It’s all of the other wonderful people out there that drive these good feelings.

    This is just my focus group of one, but I don’t think any of your readers would question your transparency with your feelings. I get your conflict with advertising, but my focus group of one is telling me that your readers won’t think of you any differently if you proceed with this. Plus, I think you’ll pick some pretty kick ass advertisers 🙂

    Congrats on 14 years!

    • kelly w September 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Yup, this.

    • Lauren September 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      I’ll expand this to a focus group of three.

    • Emily September 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Expanding this to a focus group of four 🙂

      Also, just wanted to let you know that mornings when I check your blog and find a new post are my favorite. A cup of coffee + Door16 = best kind of morning!

  • Reply val September 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

    It’s ok.
    Grow in any and all directions you want.
    Enjoy this time of stretching to do something new.

    Also, sorry my comment sounds like a fortune cookie 😉

  • Reply Dara September 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for writing this! It’s really interesting to hear people’s perspectives on blogging, especially those who have been at it for a while. I was also on Livejournal for many years, and was very happy to keep my posts mostly friends-only so I could write whatever I wanted to. I actually kind of miss that, in a way. I feel like the world of blogging has become very strategic, and more and more people are talking about a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do it. I just started a new personal blog a few months ago, and it’s been challenging trying to figure out where it fits in this new world of blogging with all of its pseudo-rules and conventions.

    Oops, kind of rambled on there a bit – basically, just wanted to say I appreciated your post!

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      If it’s any consolation, I’ve never strategized or followed rules when it comes to blogging, but I’ve still somehow managed to be “successful” (if you define blogging success as having an engaged audience, that is) anyway. I truly believe that making your own path is the only way to go—there’s no one way to do it, and there’s no one who can tell you you’re doing it wrong.

  • Reply Kelly September 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

    This is tremendous! Thanks for sharing! I am in a long blog break right now and am struggling (sounds more fraught than it is, maybe) with returning… mostly because I feel some of the same constraints as you do – finding time, but also figuring out what to make public and what to keep private.

    And as far as the ads go – my personal feeling is that as long as the content isn’t driven by ads and it doesn’t compromise the design of a blog, it doesn’t bother me one bit as a reader.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Kelly, you know I really love(d) your blog, and I do hope very much that you come back to it at some point. There aren’t enough people blogging who really care about the artists and designers behind all the beautiful stuff like you do—people who care about history and value and meaning.

      I’ll take any opportunity I can to encourage you to pick it up again!

  • Reply Yael September 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I’ll stick with you! I love your style. I love your approach. You are much more authentic than most bloggers, and I commend you for it. Plus, if you approve of the businesses that would advertise with you, I would love to support them.

  • Reply Jennie September 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years now and love everything about it. I stumbled across D16 while searching for inspiration and guidance on renovating my own victorian-era disaster. Not only did I find that here, but BONUS – you write about graphic design, makeup, hair and clothes – all with your own unique style that I love. Your blog has inspired me in many ways, but mostly to hold on to MY own unique style as I enter into my mid thirties and the land of “grown ups”. The pressure to conform in adulthood is almost worse than in teen years, especially in the office. Thanks for writing and inspiring and putting so much thought into all that you share!

    • Jill September 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      “Your blog has inspired me in many ways, but mostly to hold on to MY own unique style as I enter into my mid thirties and the land of “grown ups”.”

      Yep. Cosign.

  • Reply Emily September 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Great post, Anna! I always enjoy reading what you have to say and this was no exception. You’re very authentic and I think that is what draws a lot of people (including myself) to your blog. If you end up accepting advertisements, I have no doubt that it will be for the right reasons and I look forward to hearing more about your journey in that direction!

    • Sarah September 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Totally agree with Emily! Anna, I love your blog and no matter what you decide, I know that tone of your blog will remain the same.

  • Reply Kati @ so happy home September 14, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I appreciate very much your posts, no matter how infrequent, no matter how varied the subject matter. From learning to make kale chips from you, to being inspired by your bathroom design, to learning about the moomins (did I spell that correctly?), to just enjoying the visuals, fonts, and images on your blog, I am glad that I found this here little world. Monetizing it won’t change any of that, I’m certain. Follow your heart, as you have all along, and we will just happily follow along with you. xoxo

  • Reply Kelly Z September 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

    As a girl who sells media ads for a living, and has for a long time- I have always had strong emotions and opinions about you not accepting advertising. I have appreciated it and respected it. It has made sense in the context of what I have felt you blog to be about. But, times have changed. Ads don’t have to be just ‘accepted’ for personal publishing anymore. You can actually go after brands that you know, love, and respect. That makes sense for me for you. As a person who has enjoyed reading your insights for many years now, I do hope that you choose to go this route so that I can read your thoughts and ideas more regularly. Either way, I will continue to respect your ultimate decision as I know this is a tough choice for you. Good luck. And thank you for doorsixteen.com.

    • Karen September 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      This pretty much encapsulates all of my feelings too. I enjoy the writing and your sense of taste so much that, if you choose to go forward with advertising, I’d fine myself checking out new companies rather than griping about the inclusion of them. And that works out for everyone!

      This blog is one I’ve read for a while and have truly enjoyed. I can’t wait to see where you go next.

  • Reply Anile | Girlfriday September 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I enjoyed this post – part stream of consciousness/part celebration/part reflection. I’m learning the blog ropes slowly (I enjoy it, then weeks go by, then I miss it, then I enjoy it… then weeks go by again. Hey, some people like me have to learn the hard way… 😉 Congratulations on your 14 years, here’s to many more 🙂

  • Reply Alex September 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

    The quality of your blog is so high that accepting advertisements will not make a difference, so long as they are clearly ads. Your blog is very genuine, and not everything is a mary sunshine moment, so I’m sure you will not let it become a product placement factory. (Unfortunately, so many blogs about living spaces and design have turned into such things). When I meet bloggers, I find myself uncertain whether what they say – in person, to me, in conversations in which I am participating – is true, which probably more of a reflection of my jaded persona and experience with bloggers than their public, for consumption personae, but . . . . You have an excellent eye for clean lines and good design, and we all benefit from your observations, so I definitely think you should pursue monetizing it.
    Alex (akadetroit)

    • Gracie September 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Mary sunshine, ahaha

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      I should change my name to Mary Sunshine.

    • Lisa September 15, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Agree with Alex, as long as they are clearly ads I say hooray for a bit of income for you! I like your review-like detailed posts on products, and I’d hate for them all to become about freebies you’ve received, but I think that would be a highly unlikely scenario.
      I have respected you a lot for having an ad-free blog, a little haven of sorts, but on the other hand it would be plain foolish for you to work yourself too hard with other projects, when your blog would be a dream platform for many advertisers.
      For the record I also respect and admire you for your ability to always be polite and nice, but still honest, and very personal, but never private, and of course for your pretty darn awesome taste in design. I think if anyone could have ads that I’d want to look closer at, it’s you.

  • Reply monica September 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

    i agree with christine! you’d pick amazing people to work with & support, so if that allows you more time to work on the things you love, go for it! i really enjoy reading the mix on your blog & would surely take more “anna”… congrats!

  • Reply Erica W. September 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I can’t imagine that anyone would stop reading your blog if you put ads on it. One of my other favorite home renovation-type blogs is design-crisis.com and they have local ads for local stuff (Austin, TX). I don’t think you should feel as if you owe your readers a certain number of posts or posts on only certain topics. If we don’t want to read some of your posts, we can just skip over them. I really enjoy your blog and hope you do keep on blogging, and I’ll keep on reading the posts that are of interest to me, and I’ll glance at the ones that aren’t and maybe I’ll learn something new in the process. Besides, who doesn’t love pet photos?? Good luck with your decision!!

  • Reply laura September 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Personally, ads from independent retailers don’t bother me at all. If you (and the retailers) can make some money and reach a wider market – why would that be a bad thing?

  • Reply Crystal September 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    You are one busy lady, I don’t know how you do it! I know how it is to renovate a house and have a day job, and everything goes so slowly. Good for you for seeking out your priorities and making your dreams happen, no matter what they be.

  • Reply Liz September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    hello anna, after the twitter-tease I was expecting something much longer…and yes, I did say ‘me’ out loud when you asked if anyone was still reading.
    I don’t give a damn whether you have advertising or not. I don’t feel entitled to determine whether or not you earn money from writing a blog. The only thing I decide is what I read. The blogs I read regularly are a mixture of ad-free and ad-takers. Of the latter, some do sponsored give-a-ways and some don’t. I will stop reading a blog if I feel the relationship between the writer and the sponsor is driving the content but I’m similarly skeptical of traditional print and broadcast journalism when it’s a re-hash of a company’s PR sheet.
    The blogs I love are written by amazing people (nearly all women…) who entertain, challenge and inspire me. That I don’t have to pay a subscription to access to all this brilliance still amazes me. So for what it’s worth, I hope you do what you want to do as I know you’ll do it with integrity.
    As a bit of an aside, I’m glad you decide to talk about the other stuff. I really love the range of things you write about and while it was the renovation that brought me here (I’m also doing up – very slowly – an old house) it’s the wit, intelligence and variety that keep me coming back.

    • Liz September 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Sorry, I just remembered the other things I wanted to say so I’m being a bit uncouth by leaving a reply to my own comment…
      Your blog is the one that has been tempting me to blog, something I would never have thought I’d consider. I can’t at the moment but if I ever do there is much about how you approach your blog that I’d like to try to emulate. This isn’t about content or subject matter, I like that you appear to only write about the things you want to write about when you want to write.

      I’ve also been really stuck by how your online world overlaps and develops into real world friendships. Nothing profound to say, just that it’s a nice thing to hear about how this happens.

      I’ll step away from the keyboard now. I fear my comments are longer than the original post and that’s not good thing.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Liz, no need to worry about saying too much—I really appreciate knowing your thoughts, and it’s really, really nice to know that I’ve inspired you to consider doing something you might not have otherwise. If you feel like starting a blog, you should do it! The worst case scenario is that you don’t like it and you stop. 🙂

  • Reply Nat September 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    it has been lovely to come her more often as of late. I really enjoy Door Sixteen, your style, voice, ideas. It would be lovely to hear more from you. And I hope you find a way to make that happen 🙂 I’ll be here reading either way.

  • Reply Marta Gómez September 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Dear Anna:
    Feel free to do as you please. I have been following your blog for years now and advertisement won’t stop me from enjoying your writing and pictures.
    I love your posts about renovating your home (how lovely it is), about makeup and about your puppies. I have my own blog where I show my family and friends my everyday life with my adopted dog. I don’t have time to post everyday and don’t feel pushed to do so. The day I stop enjoying writing about Leo and our lives together, I’ll close the blog.
    Please, stay as cool and straight forward when writing. It makes my day.
    All the best.

  • Reply Emily September 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Phew! As I was reading this, I found that I was holding my breath and expecting the worst: that you were going to stop blogging. Once that was over…the rest was gravy. Accept ads, or don’t: seems like you’ve always gone with your gut and you’ve earned this reader’s trust that way.

  • Reply amelia September 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Hey Anna.
    I feel a bit funny commenting as such a new reader here, but I also feel like I know bits about you through your friends in the blogosphere like Daniel and the Zerbys and Morgan. I usually don’t comment on their pages either, mostly since I’m fairly new to the whole scene and have pretty much binge-read their entire blogs (warning yours may be next!), and would be responding to posts that are years old.
    I felt compelled to comment this time because I find myself admiring you since the folks who inspire me in my own home & life adventures show so much respect for you. I think your writing is wonderful – it’s no surprise to hear you’ve been at it for so long – and I love to find someone being incredibly honest and open in such a public forum without oversharing every detail of life. So in short, I’m here to say I think what you’re doing is great. And I’m excited to poke around your corner of the interweb and follow your reinvention adventure.

  • Reply elizabeth September 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I stop by because I like seeing the things you create. If your content remains as genuine and thoughtful as it is now and does not turn into sponsored posts, I really don’t see a problem with ads to help keep the blog running.

  • Reply whitney September 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Whether or not you chose to include ads will not stop me from reading and enjoying your blog. I trust your discretion and expect that the site will continue to look gorgeous with or without ads.

  • Reply Sherry September 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Door16 has been a wealth of inspiration and information to me over the years and I really want to thank you for that. I feel like you have a very unique perspective on design and voice that makes you really stand out in the sea of so many similar kind of blogs. It was really interesting to read the back story into your blogging (I agree I totally hate the word.)

    The thought of ads makes me cringe tho, not because I mind them nor do I think that bloggers shouldn’t be compensated for their time and effort (you totally should!) but because I think ads can be done right, but so many go from ads that make it possible to blog more, to blogging mostly about ads/sponsors it makes them unreadable, well at least for me, not that my opinion matters, but I’m putting it out here all the same.

    All your posts are really worth the read, even if they are just about your favorite nail polish and even if they are weeks apart I know I always look forward to them. If ads make it possible for you to blog more, to do something you enjoy more, well then I think you should go for it.

  • Reply kelly w September 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I was afraid you were going to announce your retirement from blogging! SO relieved to be mistaken.

    As long as they’re not, like flashing, 48-point BOLD PRINT ones with popup windows that won’t disappear (*grin*), adverts on this blog will not deter me from reading your writing.

    Yay Anna!

  • Reply Katie Wilson September 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve been reading Door Sixteen for quite a while, and I always get a little jolt of excitement when I see a new post in my reader. The uptick in posts recently has been great. Though I appreciate and respect your avoidance of advertising, I think a curated ad presence on a blog does exactly what it should – introduces interested readers to awesome products/services. I completely trust your ability to integrate ads into the look of D16, and anything that allows you to blog a bit more is more than welcome for this reader. Take a little compensation for your work – you deserve it.

  • Reply Ismay September 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    The great thing about advertising is that you would be able to support some great designers, it’s not just you taking money from them, it works both ways. Ads on blogs like yours are really useful for independent retailers like me! I love your blog, seeing more of it would never be a bad thing.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks, Ismay. It’s good to hear this from someone who IS an independent retailer! Over the last couple of years, I’ve really developed an appreciation for the symbiotic relationship between bloggers and makers, and it’s exciting to think about being involved in that kind of relationship in a more formal (and more effective!) way.

  • Reply Ismay September 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    PLUS I can’t imagine a badly designed advert would make it past you, so your blog would still look as good as always, I’m sure!

  • Reply Chris September 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Congrats! I really enjoyed reading this. Number one reason: your blog’s aesthetic is so clean, it is easy to read. Thank you for that. You have a very engaging writing style.

    Also: the first thing that came to mind was, if you did accept advertising, how cool would it be if you had a little virtual art gallery? As an artist, I would absolutely pay something to have my work in a D16 gallery…

    I’m sorry if this suggestion is unwelcome–I have no idea in running anyone’s life (lol). It just came to me, as an example of advertising that is art/community focused.

    Whatever you do–I will keep reading.

  • Reply Rachelle September 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I love your blog Anna. I have really strong positive feelings about your choice not to have ads but that’s mostly because I’ve seen in a huge decline in quality content from blogs that over-monetize. On the other hand, I think if anyone can do it thoughtfully and transparently, it’s you. Plus since you already blog about design and products that you like, I think it could be an easy transition.

    My rule of thumb is always that I read stuff that I enjoy and feel is genuine, whether the blog is monetized or not. There tends to be a correlation between the two (in my opinion), but sometimes it also seems like a bell curve – ad support makes blogging easier and therefore the blog gets better but then at some point there are diminishing returns but the blogger is now dependent on the support and can’t pull back. Sorry to ramble! The main thing is for you to decide what’s best for you, of course. I plan to continue reading either way.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      I appreciate this input, Rachelle, and I agree with you—we share a lot of the same concerns. Since I do have a day job that I LOVE and have absolutely no intention of leaving, I’m not too concerned about getting greedy (for lack of a better word), so hopefully I won’t lose the perspective I have now regarding quality of content and advertising ethics.

  • Reply molly September 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    i want to congratulate you on 14 years of writing! your style, both in design and writing, is a pleasure to read and i have enjoyed your friendships with other bloggers (i do not have any negative connotations with that word).

    i will continue to read regardless if you put ads up or not. with your design and coding ability, i doubt the ads will be intrusive and the idea of supporting independent artists is wonderful.

  • Reply Ren September 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    If ads mean more content, then bring on the splashy “click here for your free vacation” ads. Of course, that’s completely against the spirit of your work (and I’m entirely kidding), but I enjoy your writing/photos and would love to see more of it.

    I don’t think an ad (or two! or four!) would change the aesthetic of your work. If it did, I suspect that your readers (like me) would barely notice a few unobtrustive ads compared to the regular cacophony of sponsored posts/blinking ads/and posts-that-are-probably-sponsored-but-not-disclosed.

  • Reply melani September 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    As a person, I think it’s great when anyone finds a way to make money doing what they love and they should go for if they do. As a reader of your blog and for purely selfish reasons, I think it would be a shame.

    Being surrounded by ads (I work in the industry) I am always thrilled when I discover a great site that is human and engaging without the ads. No matter how you slice it, ads affect the content.

    good luck

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Melani, do you think ads always affect the content itself, or do you think sometimes it’s more that they affect readers’ perception of the content?

      This is something I think about a lot, so I’m curious. I have zero concern that my content would change (other than increasing in frequency!) because I know myself and what I am and am not willing to do, but it does trouble me to think that the validity of everything I write about could be put into question.

    • Megan September 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Anna, in response to your question to Melani, I don’t think it’s more that the ads affect readers’ perception of the content; I think ads very often affect content itself. I also think that my sometimes-issues with ads lie in how bloggers respond to having them on their sites. There are some very, very, very popular blogs that have tons of ads that don’t bother me at all. But of course, as well all know, there are also some bloggers whose sponsored, advertiser-driven posts increase dramatically and VERY noticeably after they decide to start running ads or sign with an agency.

      I’m a professional journalist and, at least at the magazine where I work, we always try to draw a very defined line between ad content and editorial content–but in the blog world, that line is often incredibly blurry, and It makes me very uneasy and raises a lot of questions about authenticity/transparency.

      That said, I’m all for people making money doing what they love, and you are obviously aware of all of the above. And yeah, while I was genuinely surprised to read that you’re considering accepting ads because you’ve been so vocal about not doing so in the past, obviously things change, and I have no doubt that you’ll handle all of this well if you do decide to go that route.

      Plus, I think we can all agree that more D16 posts would be a wonderful thing.

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Well yeah, like I said in my post, obviously that’s a huge part of the reason why I’ve never wanted to have ads on my blog before. My house is my house and my life is my life, and I cannot and will not be bought, sold, or influenced by the promise of money when it comes to making decisions about what I will and won’t share publicly. Period.

    • S. September 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Anna,

      I’ve been a reader and fan for about four years now. In response to your question to Melani, I do think the presence of ads affects readers’ perception of the content of a blog. I’m always suspicious of opinions bloggers offer about the quality of products they’re clearly being paid to write about, and have always loved the fact that your blog was ad-free. I really don’t think any of your regular readers would suspect your motives – I certainly wouldn’t. But I do think it would affect how *new* readers approach your blog.

      I do completely understand why you’re considering accepting ads, and I’m not going to stop reading. But since you asked, this is my two cents.

    • Megan September 15, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Thanks for responding, Anna. I think I’ve just been feeling a little irked by the amount of sponsored, product-driven content I’m seeing lately. I don’t think you would ever promote or post anything that wasn’t in line with who you are and what you believe; one of the things I admire most about your blog is the consistency in its voice throughout the years.

  • Reply Lizzie September 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Darlin’, it’s your blog and you should do as you please! Seriously, if you’re considering ads, then it must be for all the right reasons — you don’t, even for one minute, come off as the type of person just doing this to make money. I think your 14 year record thus far speaks for that. And I don’t think anyone who enjoys your blog (like I sincerely do) would stop reading it, or think you’re a hypocrite just because all of a sudden there was an ad on it. (forget em’ if so! who’s so high + mighty anyway?)

    Plus, as someone else mentioned above, you’d pick good advertisers, so I really don’t see the harm. I wouldn’t expect to come here to read about nail polish and be bombarded by local singles that want to meet me.

    It is really nice though that you care that much to think into it like that. You’ve worked very hard to create a beautiful blog that obviously inspires a lot of people (again, myself included) and I think the reason it does, other than your obvious good taste, is because you seem so real. You genuinely enjoy blogging and that comes across very strongly. As you said, you share things you love — not things you expect us to run out and buy. And there is a huge, huge difference.

    It was fascinating to read how you got into it all, though. I actually came across you from the Furs’ website several years back, (I can still remember that red logo in my mind) and became a secret admirer then. (secret, not creepy) So I hope you keep doing this for a very long time.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      But wait, what if you decide you REALLY want to meet local singles?! Or if you really want to know how to lose belly fat. 😉

      How cool that you wound up here through the Furs’ website! I miss that “job.” It’s sad that it had to come to an end, but I made so many wonderful friends during that time. I’m glad that BDD still exists as a community, despite everything.

  • Reply Grace September 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I *love* your blog. Every time I see a new post pop up in google reader I go weeee. If advertising meant you could spend more time on your personal life and blog then that would be a wonderful thing for you, and your readers.

  • Reply tianna @ suffocated bliss September 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I just recently started a blog, and hearing that you’ve been blogging for so many years, is really inspiring. The fact that you’ve really stayed true to what was right for you at any given time in your life, is inspiring as well. – And when it comes to advertising, I think if it will help give you the opportunity to blog and enjoy it more, than why not? – As long as you’re doing it in an honest way. – but those are just my thoughts.

    – love the website

    – tianna 🙂

  • Reply Kate Proulx September 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Gurl, get the money that you deserve. Especially if it means you have more free time to yourself to do things that make you happy OTHER than freelance. Even if that’s not blogging or fixing your home.

  • Reply Megan September 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    As somebody who has been reading your blog since way back I want to say thank you, the information you share has always been so useful. And, if I remember correctly, you still owe me a sock dog! I wouldn’t mind seeing ads on your site at all, I think you’re in a great position to make sure that your advertisers are a perfect fit for you site. I’m so glad to know you will continue to write!

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      !!!!!!!!! Megan, email me your address—I’ll send you a sock dog! That’s so funny. (Also, that sock dog fundrasier was really a testament to the goodness of humans. I think I sewed like 40 sock dogs. SO MANY SOCKS.)

      And we’ve both been doing this forever. I’m so glad a few members of the old gang are still around!

  • Reply Shannon September 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I didn’t start blogging myself until 2005, but I too have been witness to all of the changes you mention. I’m a reader from the 2002-era AV days (oh, that hot-pink grunge banner). Back then I only read a handful of blogs, but read them with an intense loyalty. I don’t think I’ve ever commented, but I do remember buying (and loving) Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick because of your blog.

    I too have struggled with how commercial it’s all become. With how commercial any idea-sharing in general has become. I admit that I’m still trying to figure out how and where I fit into it all, but I’ve always appreciated your blog as an ad-free space.

    I’ve come to realize that there isn’t much point in being resistant to change, and that resistance will only inhibit the evolution that blogging seems to thrive on. I’ve followed you this far, and will most likely continue to follow whatever trajectory you take, but I do see beauty in these commercial-free zones, for however long we can keep them around.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      I think I sold a lot of Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick during the AV years. It’s a shame they weren’t paying me!! Hahaha.

      I’m definitely resistant to change by nature, but I’m trying really hard to be more open. The last thing I was is to become resentful of something I’m doing by choice, so I need to figure out how to make it work for me.

      Thanks for sticking with me for so many years, Shannon. It means a lot!

  • Reply Ellen Goodman September 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Not to be creepy, but, I am a total Anna Dorfman fan girl. Although I REALLY respect that you have not monetized your blog, I think it can be done in a bad way and a good way…like witchcraft. I have faith that you will do it right.

    And randomly, every time someone mentions Rod Blagojevich I say “Bless you.”

  • Reply Fritz September 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    In the realm of blog input/feedback… I hope you will post more of your Vegan style cookery, I am always looking for new ways to eat without meat on the table

  • Reply Melissa September 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    If having ads on your site affords your more time to write (and spend with your family and friends) then you should go for it. I am sure you can find a creative way to make it work without it feeling like you’re straying from your voice and vision for the site.

    I’ll still be reading whatever you decide! Good luck!

  • Reply Emma at The Marion House Book September 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I love blogging too! And I feel the pressure to put quality posts out there on a regular basis. I also work a zillion other jobs and then squeeze blogging in when I can. I’d love to dedicate myself full time to blogging -taking beautiful photographs and writing meaningful posts. If I had my choice I would do it full time but it’s not my reality. Like everyone else here I say do what you have to do – accept sponsored posts, allow advertising. There is a way to do it with integrity. I come here because of your voice and your vision and nothing is going to change that.

  • Reply Kelly H. September 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Ads in the sidebar = no prob.
    Beginning a post with “This D16 post has been brought to you by Velveeta.” = not cool.

    I love your writing and design style so i’ll probably keep coming back no matter what, but i’d just prefer that you don’t sell me cheese. Umkay?

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      You don’t need to worry about that, I promise. 😉

  • Reply Liz September 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I am one of those people who are awkward even on the internet so I never comment, but I’ve been reading D16 since 2007. I love your house/apartment posts, but I also really appreciate the makeup/dogs/family/food posts–especially since your personal style and your decor style are essentially the same. Basically, it’s your blog and you can do what you want with it. We’ll still be reading.

  • Reply tracy September 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve been following you since absolutely vile days! What a trip to see your headers!

    You know what’s the best part of your blog? YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!! I’ve always loved your content, your vision, your slice of life, so by all means GO FOR IT. I will not stop coming here…unless you suddenly tell the world you hate Morrissey.

  • Reply cottageofstone September 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I think the part of blogging I struggle with the most, is not the content since I have a ton of projects… but the actually BLOGGING takes me forever.

    Does anyone have any tips in streamlining the process? The process of getting pix from cam to laptop, adding watermarks… takes me forever!!

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Hah! I wish I had tips. You’d be horrified if you knew how long it takes me to write posts. I think everything takes me at LEAST twice as long as it takes normal people.

  • Reply Ryan September 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve always respected that you don’t allow advertisements knowing that you could easily fill the page with sponsors. I think there is a huge difference between allowing independent stores to advertise (I actually like this and do peruse the links on other blogs) and writing glowing posts about products you got for free. I have a hard time taking anyone seriously if they’ve devoted more than one post to how much they love Method soap…it’s just soap, people!

    Good luck with your decision!

    • Lynn September 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

      I remembered this comment as I was just reading another design blogger’s post on … Method. (Sorry, it’s a friend of Anna’s too) I completely agree there’s a huge difference in supporting independent retailers and artists and promoting those who give you free things. I think you (Anna) may have a tougher time than you realize — for instance, the post shortly after this on the wall sconces would read just like a paid advertisement if you were accepting ads, and your reader would immediately question your enthusiasm for them. But now, we know that your feelings are genuine.

      That said, I am a huge believer that if someone provides value, there is nothing wrong with getting compensated for it. You spend a lot of time making a lot of people happy and inspired; it’s not for us to decide you should do that for free. 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 September 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Oh Lynn, I completely understand that, and honestly that’s always been my biggest concern. I can honestly say that I know myself well enough to not let the content of my posts be affected by any ads I might choose to accept. BUT. (!!) The only way that I could conceivably keep the two absolutely separate would be to only accept ads from companies whose products I would never write about. So…disposable plates and hot dogs?! Hahaha. Obviously I don’t want to do that either, so I think the most ethically comfortable route for me is to only accept ads from retailers and artists whose word I do endorse. I realize it’s a hard line to walk, but I have enough confidence in myself to do it.

      Beyond staying true to what I care about and believe in, there’s not much I can do to convince my readers that my voice is still believable. My hope is that the course of time will help to gain that trust if it isn’t there automatically. It’s the best I can hope for, really!

  • Reply Anna2 September 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I found your blog a few years ago while I googled “black walls”. Here’s what I found: http://www.doorsixteen.com/2009/12/26/black-walls-again/.

    I’ve kept coming back. And yes, I have a black wall. In Finland though.

    I respect your strong principles about ads but never really even noticed that your blog doesn’t have any, before you brought it up. I’m too used to not looking at banners. Anywhere. So at least I don’t mind, if you decide to have some.

  • Reply Adriane /// The A & B Stories September 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Oh Anna, I SO support this decision! I’ve been reading D16 for years, and I know how you feel about it, but things change and evolve, and if taking on ads would make the whole thing easier for you, your readers should all be on board! Side note, and an independent artist I will SOOOO be in line to buy an ad, ha ha, your blog is my top fav of all!!!!

    Also, I agree with what the other people have said about how ads can be done well and not so well. When the whole blog feels like a big commercial, of course people get annoyed and/or stop reading. But when you can see that the blog only includes ads that are a good fit, it almost feels like another additional resource area to find great items or services.

    Either way, so glad you’re going to keep things going 🙂

  • Reply Tommy September 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    No ads… Fifty ads and pop ups all over the place…

    Either way, I’m in… I read for your voice and insight and design sense. And appreciate that you’ve decided to share that with us.

    Do you. That’s why we’re reading.

  • Reply Jorge September 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing Anna. Regardless of what you decide to do. I’m sure your decission will be OK.

  • Reply Cher@NR September 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Your blog was the ONLY reason I started my blog, or even got the idea of blogging at all. When people ask, “Why on earth did you start NR?” the answer is pretty simple…I loved seeing the reaction your blog caused. Some pretty amazing things have happened since the almost 4 years that NR has been going on.

    I didn’t know how people would feel about me accepting ads, and then I just went for it. I feel overall the advertisers I have contribute something in a positive way to what I want the blog to project. If you want to accept ads, more power to you. Maybe you could fund your new kitchen that way, and then we can see tons of new pics 🙂 You wouldn’t hear me complaining 😀

  • Reply erin September 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    omg, I love this! I’ve had a very similar blogging life… I started “blogging” in 1999 when I was 13, and yes, the HUGE HTML page that scrolled FOREVER! And iframes everywhere. Well, real frames at first, and THEN iframes. And pop-up layouts. Good lord.
    Did you ever embed LJ or Grey Matter into your webpage? Now that was some fancy stuff back in the day. I only really started blogging again in 2011—almost exactly a year ago. It’s so incredibly different than it used to be, and I found myself trying to force my blog into a niche or feeling like I HAD to write on a certain topic on a certain day. Finally (recently) I said “screw it!” and I actually feel like blogging again. Of course, I lost almost 1/2 my readers. Not kidding. But hey, if all they were around for was free blog designs, then I don’t need them. I’m much happier now that I’m “the girl who blogs about her life and sometimes webdesign and running a small business” than I was as “the girl who posts free tutorials and designs and sometimes puts in a post about her life”. And I think that’s what’s important.

  • Reply Frances September 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I loved reading this, I guess in a bit of a narcissistic way, as your path through blogging has been much like mine, complete with the hand-coded journal, semi-private el-jay, and, of course, emailing Ben and Mena Trott at 3:00 in the morning because I did something stupid in a Perl file. (Did you have moments of panic like that, too?) In the interim, I saw a lot of the same changes in blogging, and started (and subsequently abandoned) an embarrassing number of blogs as I tried to figure out how to exist in “the blogosphere” (ugh) but before just felt like a nice little community.

    After working for a long time in publishing on the web, where advertising was used to “monetize” (gross) what used to be writing and was now called “content” (or worse, advertorial — barf), my hackles went up for a long time over the issue of ads on the web. But it can be done thoughtfully, and well. And I’ll never argue against earning money in support of doing something you love.

    All this is to say that I understand, and I really admire your forthrightness; it’s part of what keeps me coming back to read Door Sixteen — that and your terrific sense of style, of course. I’m on board for ads, especially and particularly when they’re as honestly considered as yours would be.

    • Anna @ D16 September 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      “emailing Ben and Mena Trott at 3:00 in the morning because I did something stupid in a Perl file”

      OK, this made me burst out laughing, because it’s so, so true. Isn’t it crazy to think that back then there were so few people blogging that you could actually email Ben your FTP password in the middle of the night and he’d log in and fix stuff for you??

      And yes, I have plenty of blogosphere/monetization/content/advertorial barf-bag moments, believe me. It’s all just so weird…this whole industry that’s basically built up around egos and voyeurism. But hey! I’m still here and I’m still doing it, so I must be OK with it.

  • Reply Katherine September 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Yup. Blogging FOR EVER and it’s always just been about me and whatever – I remember when the “bloggin for money” thing took off and I got grossed out. But I’ve never had any followers other than my close friends, so what do I know? I’ve never been able to read any of the “big” blogs without feeling icky and thinking those people were mentally ill, so call me judgmental and let me ignore them.

    Ads, schmads. Your aesthetic will guide that as much as it does everything… I would worry that you would take on the ad design, too!

  • Reply Alan Michael September 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I’ve been a lurker for a little over a year. I’ve noticed a slight tone change in the last few months since you moved–blogging less often, blogging less about Newburgh (which as an architect is why I started reading in the first place). I had an inclination to be annoyed, but then I stopped myself and realized this isn’t about me. This is your blog–your life–that you are so generously sharing with us. I realized what a special thing it is that you could see and feel the shifts and twists and turns in someone’s life by reading their blog, and I really appreciate that. And somehow even though I’m a guy, I can still be entertained by posts about makeup and nail polish.

    One of the reasons I like your blog is the minimalism and simplicity. Your stance on not advertising made me like you more as a person in addition to liking the blog. In a way I feel that you already advertise–you just blog about things you love. You create graphics and use color, you link to stores and designers. It’s as if you’re advertising for free, but it’s ok because this is what you love.

    I’m not going to be upset or stop reading if you choose to incorporate advertisements. We trust that they won’t be flashy ads about meeting singles or losing belly fat. But since you’re a designer you’re not just choosing whether or not to advertise, you’re making a very personal decision about a very personal aspect of your life.

    I appreciate today’s post and it’s nice to see a little bit more about you as a blogger and a person. Thanks again and I’m looking forward to reading more.

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 12:24 am

      Thanks, Alan Michael. I know my male readers are few and far between, but I appreciate you all the same!

      If I were only writing about renovation projects, though, I’d be posting once or twice a year, tops. We just don’t have the time or the finances to go any further right now, so everything is really on hold. Like I’ve always said, this is sloooooowwwww renovation (six years and counting!), and I’ll never be the type of person to come up with a house project just for the sake of blogging about it. What you see is what you get! 🙂

  • Reply Alex September 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Although, Anna, if you do discover the way to lose belly fat the easy way, I would not stop reading if you did a post on that subject. But only if its the easy way.

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 12:22 am

      Haha!! I think the easy way is to only have mirrors in the house that stop at the shoulder. See? Problem solved!! 🙂

  • Reply heather September 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I find this very exciting – and I’d be down for some of that ad space should it appear. 🙂

  • Reply Robin Denning September 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    a very interesting post and I enjoyed reading it. Though we are different in many ways, I can relate to your evolution with blogging. I’ve been blogging since 2007, which surprises me, because I really started out as a mom posting stuff on Live Journal for my college daughter while she was abroad. I never expected anyone to read it, except her. I made it about sewing, since I am into sewing. Now I have made friends, and learned that I love to write, I love pretty pictures and I love messing around with websites.

    So anyway, do whatever you want with monetizing your blog. Your reasons not to monetize made perfect sense in the past. Your reasons to consider it now make perfect sense. You are authentic and that’s why I have read you for so many years now~
    Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Sarah B September 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Anna, an interestng post. 14 years is such a long time. It reminds me of the other day when I rang up my internet provider to get some help and the girl there said that I’d been a customer for almost as long as she’d been alive. Sheesh, I am not that old!
    I think your blog (not sure how I found it) inspired me to start mine, especially when we bought our old house and I thought documenting the painfully slow renovation would be fun. Like you it morphed into other things as mostly we’ve been to broke to renovate. Thankfully my friends/readers are in love with my dog almost as much as me, so they don’t mind that I post her all the time:)
    It really is a personal thing. I’m not so much into advertising, but mostly in the form of sponsored posts (they leave me cold) and really dodgily designed adverts, especially flashing ones that distract me. I’m sure if you decide to do it, the ads will be spiffily designed and sit calmly on your site. We will all still read 🙂

  • Reply Amanda September 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    From reading your blog, I believe that you have a ton of integrity and put a considerable amount of thought into everything you do or buy or promote or recommend. I respect that you are taking this decision so seriously, and I can’t wait to read the post in which you explain your decision-making process to arrive at the proper conclusion-haha!

  • Reply Clara Anne September 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I love your ‘voice’. When I first found your blog years ago I remember checking regularly to see if you had any new posts even though back then I had really no idea about anything home/renovation related and didn’t know what exactly you were doing except that you told it in such a way that I felt like I was on a journey with you as you transformed a home, moved homes, tore things down, put things up etc. I like that you are so You. You have such clarity as to what you like and what you don’t and yet manage to involve readers in your decision making process. Ads on your site won’t change all that.

  • Reply Jen b September 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm


    I love your blog. Whether you’re renovating, talking about MJ, Prince or NPR it’s all good. It’s bonus when you include skin, hair and nail care! I am starting my cleanse next week thanks to your posts. If you ever choose to have sponsors, I’m sure they will be a reflection of you.

  • Reply Kyli September 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Anna, I, too, had a moment of panic reading this, thinking you were going to stop blogging! So glad you are still loving this. I’ve been reading D16 for years now and I will keep reading if you choose to accept ads. Times changes, lives changes. I respect the way you are being transparent with your readers about this. All the best with you decision making.

  • Reply kayce September 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I’ve been reading D16 since the early days. Back then it was because I, too, was remodeling my home and I like your design aesthetic. I kept reading (long past my remodeling days and selling the same aforementioned home) because I like reading your take on things. Your writing has a ring of sincerity that I find sadly lacking in a lot of online stuff nowadays. (Also, CUTE DOG photos don’t hurt). Whatever you decide, ad-wise, it doesn’t bother me. I know you’ll do it in an open and honest way.

  • Reply Ilana September 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    You are so transparent and thoughtful, I doubt advertisements would change that. I’d love to see you post more!

  • Reply Judi September 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you for this post! I’m not surprised to see so many people so inspired by D16, and by your refusal to be anyone except who you are. As you know, you have inspired me to be more true to myself; to consider movin out of NYC; to actually make that move; and to start a series of life changes that have led to some real self-discovery and a whole new phase in my career, and my life. I have no doubt that I will continue to be inspired by you and D16 for years to come.

    Since you are so generous with your blog, often using it to promote the work of others, I’m sure–as one indy retailer already mentioned–that if you do start taking ads, you’ll find some way to make those ads beneficial to the creative community. As someone who is trying to grow that community in her (new) small town in Vermont (shameless shout out for Waterbury, here), thank you for that, too.

  • Reply Judi September 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Moving. Not movin. Hate typos. Sorry.

  • Reply Anya September 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I’m hesitant to post a comment because I’m not sure I can without it sounding like a love letter, but here it goes.

    Iin the past year you and your little blog have influenced me in so many positive ways, here are just a few:

    • Painting walls white: Two years ago the idea of painting my walls white would’ve been laughable and now thanks to your blog posts I did it and I LOVE IT!

    • Juice cleanse: I started following yours and then read Susk and Banoo’s experience (a blog I also found through you) and I’ve just made it past day 4 and I feel great!

    • Fiddle Leaf Fig: Still going strong and I’ve named her Anna (rhymes with Banan-ah)!

    • Ferm Living: Just got paid today and am going to be making a few investments 🙂

    Next week I’ll be listening to Jonathan Safran Foers Eating Animals and I’ll probably be vegan after that. So you know, keep up the good work my doctor and my weight scale thank you.

    Your integrity, impeccable taste and support creative independent businesses is what keeps this reader coming back and it doesn’t matter if you post once a quarter or once a day. I live in a style-starved city in Central Illinois. If it wasn’t for you and bloggers like you I would never know the beauty that is Mjolk shop or the fabulous Manhattan Nest (You and Daniel are my spirit animals).

    So thank you Anna for being brave enough to share your life, opinions/ philosophies, style/product choices, and friends with us. I can’t wait to start checking out your sponsors.


    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

      This is a really, really sweet comment, Anya, and I have to admit that I’m a little teary-eyed reading it. There’s nothing better than being thought of as a positive influence, and it makes me feel very happy to know that you’ve been able to maybe make some discoveries about yourself because of things you saw here. That’s pretty special. Thank you.

  • Reply L September 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I think everyone has said pretty much all there is to say; I agree that I trust your taste, and that I’ll still read D16, ads or no. Bless you, Ms. D, for being honest and forthright. That is WHY you are trusted. Carry on.

  • Reply Anna September 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed the fact that this has been an ad-free blog.

  • Reply Jill September 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Anna, you’re the bee’s knees and obviously have a lot of admirers, myself included. Fourteen years is a huge milestone. Congratulations! I too have been on the web / writing since way back when, though alt.music usenet newsgroups and IRC channels were my pick of poison way back then. Side note: did you know webrings still exist?! Hahaha.

    Anyway, It’s amazing how much we’ve seen change in that time — web technologies, media platforms, tastes, opinions. I feel like every time I turn around there’s some new app or tool that holds so much promise. In reality? I worry that a lot of it’s just noise and distraction. But at the end of the day, the web was built with two main goals (as I see it) — to share information and to communicate with others. You’ve built quite an awesome little community here and it does both. Plus, it brings you joy and you love to write, so it’s a win-win.

    So I guess since you’re soliciting feedback, I’ll bite. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out if / how to shut down a music blog I’ve run with a close friend since 2007, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot and looking back at our decisions. These questions are really complicated. Our take was to never advertise because we were so hard-lined against even the remotest possibility that someone would think our posts were influenced. Just that perception can be so misleading/damaging, especially in certain industries (like music). I think taking a hard stance on it sort of gives you self-righteous permission to blog about whatever the hell you want and ruffle whatever feathers happen to get in the way. It’s liberating.

    I guess my first (rhetorical) question would be why do you want to advertise? I totally understand supporting independent designers, but I feel like you do so much of that already! I’ve learned about so many great artisans from you. The business of advertising seems to take away so much from other way-more-fun activities like writing / designing / renovating and I kind of worry that it might just be another item for your to do list. You mention that you’re already stretched, so would the logistics of advertising be worth the payoff? Plus, the psychological overhead of managing advertisements versus posting… I dunno. For me I don’t think it will ever be a net positive trade-off, but I could see the attraction in just learning the system.

    I often wonder what new technologies there will be to advertise / monetize / support communities like these in the future. Maybe it’s time to give the ol’ brainstormer a whirl now that I have a lot of development resources. As always, good luck with your decision! xoxo

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Well, I can promise you this: I have all of the self-righteous permission in the world to blog about whatever the hell I want and ruffle whatever feathers happen to get in my way, and I have that permission because I say so. 😉 If a potential advertiser has a problem with that, they can walk away. I have no interest in catering to whims of people and businesses that are not on the same page as me when it comes to that kind of thing. Ethics matter to me more than money, but I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.

      To answer your “why” question, well, it’s pretty simple—I need to have a second source of income in addition to my day job, and the toll 40+ hours of freelance design work (on top of my full-time job) is taking on my health and well-being isn’t sustainable. It also means that I don’t get to blog very often—sometimes having to take weeks or even a whole month off at a time.

      I have no attraction to “learning the system,” though. I have no interest in existing advertising models, actually. I’m much more interested in working with businesses who share my point of view and who want to work with me to come up with arrangements that work simply and easily and (most importantly) effectively for everyone involved. THAT is what’s exciting to me.

    • Ismay September 15, 2012 at 6:15 am

      I love this answer!

    • Jill September 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Oh, I totally hear you on the trying to come up with new effective ways part. I’ve been kicking around a lot of ideas this year in a vacuum. We should talk.

      Thanks for all the responses. I like your definition of rhetorical. 😉

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Well, I definitely owe you dinner. 😉

  • Reply lisa September 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    a song for you… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDq36YD1ESM

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator September 15, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I’m new to your blog and loved this post. I’m glad you came back to blogging (even though you hate the word) and I’m glad you’re still here! I think if accepting advertisers keeps you blogging (and not compromising) then do it 🙂

  • Reply satsuki shibuya September 15, 2012 at 12:50 am

    i’ve appreciated your honest, direct approach to blogging since i first stumbled across it. i think with the billions of blogs out there now, it’s so easy to just flow along and fill in content just for the sake of ‘blogging’, but with everything you share, it feels genuine. it’s refreshing. sometimes light hearted, other times serious, but nonetheless it makes us who read it feel like you truly care about the space you share here.

    i think there is no right or wrong way to approach it except that it should feel right to you. at the end of the day the approach you take will be true to you regardless as who you are doesn’t change, even if your approach might. we all change as time progresses & engage in new ways of perceiving the world. i think no matter what you decide, the readers who have come to appreciate what you write here will understand.

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Thank you, Satsuki. You’re one of the most thoughtful people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting online, and I know you don’t make decisions in your own life without putting a lot of consideration into it, so I really appreciate your view on this. I also know that you’re a believer in following instinct my guiding it by logic—and that’s something I will definitely be keeping in mind going forward. Thank you. xx

    • Julie September 15, 2012 at 9:19 am


  • Reply eliza September 15, 2012 at 1:00 am

    this has been a subject on several different blogs recently… and i’ve gotten to think about it a slightly ridiculous amount considering nobody has ever even remotely offered me anything for writing my blog.

    i don’t remember how i stumbled on your corner of the internet, but i stuck around because i liked your style. and then, i just liked you (i still like your style. that made it sound like that wasn’t the case, but it is. now you know.). and honestly, this is your blog. you need to find happiness and fulfillment in creating the content on it, because otherwise it isn’t worth it. and i’ll stick around. cuz i like you. do what you gotta do, lady!

  • Reply Melissa N. September 15, 2012 at 2:23 am

    I think you are amazing. I have always respected your blog so much because of the lack of advertising (I feel like other bloggers promote a company hoping for some freebies and that drives me crazy!) and I put so much weight into suggestions that you have given regarding makeup, designers, whatever really. BUT, I feel exhausted for you, it seems as though you are always soo busy with work and being awesome and every post you write is soo thoughtful and worth reading that I then think–geez, she really deserves to be compensated for this, for bringing me a few paragraphs of well-written, new, and interesting content. I realize that it is not because your blog is ad-free that I respect your opinions but because in your words I can tell what it is that you care about and know that you wouldn’t sell your good opinion for a blog post. If you putting ads on your blog means that I get to read more of whatever it is you want to write about then I say HELL YESSSSS because you deserve to focus on the things that matter to you most in life and not feel stretched to thin and ads can definitely help with that. Sorry I wrote so much, I know that you will come to your own opinion but I just really wanted to let you know that regardless of where you take this blog I am going to read it.

  • Reply Simone September 15, 2012 at 3:27 am

    You know after reading this I thought about it and I really honestly don’t know how I feel or think about this. I wish the best for you (somehow I have the feeling you never go on a vacation, I really think you should visit Sweden at least once with your mother). I really believe people need time to do nothing at all and it doesn’t sound like you are doing a lot of that. I played with the idea of a blog myself (the jury is still out on that) and I have thought about this aspect of it as well and was unsure about it. Visually I love the empty spaciousness of your blog. I find advertising annoying personally, one of the aspects that annoys me is that nobody will make an ad for an apple, but a company will take that apple smash it mix it with water and sugar and cinnamon put it in a poluting plastic bag and advertise for it. I sometimes have the impression that it is more and more difficult for companies to make stuff that will last the buyer a lifetime, but looking at the challenges that face humanity on this planet, stuff we make and buy should really last more than a lifetime. On the other hand there really is absolutely nothing wrong with doing what you absolutely love and becoming very rich doing that LOL!!! I have the feeling there could be other ways to make money but it is a bit sketchy.
    I found your blog when I was google-ing for the Anes bed bij Ikea 🙂

  • Reply Simone September 15, 2012 at 3:31 am

    A long long time ago. I found the Brick House while google-ing for Copco pans hahaha.

  • Reply Jen September 15, 2012 at 3:31 am

    This was a really interesting post to read. On the one hand, blogs bring me a great deal of pleasure and inspiration (e.g., I’ve been renting apartments for 20+ years now and, for the first time, I recently mini-rehabbed a miserable rental bathroom instead of just tolerating it – that’s because of you, Daniel, and a few other bloggers). I believe that the writers, who I know spend a lot of time on their posts, do deserve compensation if they want/need it. On the other had, there are definitely blogs that I stopped reading, or declined to start reading because of the way that advertising is handled. There is something deeply uncomfortable to me about the way some people are monetizing their day-to-day lives, children, etc. And there are blogs where I started to mistrust the content because of sponsorships.

    I’ve thought about this a lot and I think it boils down to this: blogs that have ads that help support original content are fine. Blogs where the content is clearly being driven by the ads, or where the content seems to be in tension with the types of ads that are run are ones I tend to skip. I’ve only been reading your blog consistently for about a year, but even in that relatively short amount of time I feel a sense of trust that you wouldn’t allow your content to be ad-driven. Although I actually really love the fact that your blog is one of the few safe-havens from ads, I totally understand needing a way to cut back on the freelancing while still bringing in some money. My feeling, for what it’s worth, is that you can do this in a way that won’t erode your readership’s trust.

  • Reply Hana September 15, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Late to the party, and I have not read all the comments posted so apologies if it is a duplicate. Obviously the choice whether you want to accept ads is yours. But, I will say that being a regular reader (love your blog), I know you have integrity and I’ve liked almost all the stuff you’ve blogged about. So the ads would actually be additional resource for me. I never thought I would click on ads on blogs, but I was look for a birthday gift a month ago and I actually went to a two blogs I like to look at their ads to see if there was something interesting! So go for it if you feel good because it would help me too!

  • Reply Ali September 15, 2012 at 3:51 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now. I stumbled across it and loved your design style, etc. I always find it sad when bloggers apologize for considering/deciding to accept ads for their blogs. Not because of the blogger, but because readers can get so crazy. It’s YOUR blog. We read because we enjoy what your post. I think it’s pathetic that people would judge you for deciding to make a bit of money off something you put so much time into.

  • Reply Neža September 15, 2012 at 4:06 am

    just wanted to say thank you
    for being you
    it’s the hardest, i know
    but very inspiring
    love and thank you

  • Reply Karin September 15, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Go for it! I’ve been reading for ages and scrolling past an ad or two would really only make me happy if it means you’ll get some money back for all the time and effort you put into the blog that we enjoy so much (-;

  • Reply Ruth September 15, 2012 at 4:22 am

    To be honest: I read a couple of blogs regularely, but if there are ads or not, I don’t care, because I don’t even “see” them. I just focus on the blog content and that’s it. Partly because I’m not from the US and partly because ist doesn’t interest me. If there are “all my sponsors” blog-entrys I also don’t just read them. So please feel free to accept sponsors, although I fear it will not really save your dilemma of too less time. (Only if you quit your day job…)
    Greetings from Austria, Ruth

    • Ruth September 15, 2012 at 4:41 am

      Ups, maybe it saves your dilemma, if you can reduce your freelance-work! I adore your blog, but to be honest again, I never understood how you can do it all: 40h job, crazy commute, blog,apartment, house, free-lance work… Do you ever sleep? Even if I don’t know you personally I sometimes worried about your workload. Please don’t wear yourselve out completely! And I second that you should sometimes take time off to for example visit Sweden, because you work so much!

  • Reply Sinead September 15, 2012 at 6:19 am

    I remember I innocently posted a request for help for sourcing a magazine on your blog last year. The magazine was only published in the USA and I live in Europe. My comment was deleted due to alleged spamming.

    So hey, I still like and visit your blog but you sure are full of contradictions.

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 6:59 am

      Hi Sinead, I don’t remember the comment you’re talking about so I’m not sure what the circumstance where, but maybe it was just a misunderstanding? I can’t imagine thinking that someone was a spammer because they asked for a source on something—that doesn’t sound like me at all! I’m very conscious of including sources any time I use a photo from a magazine.

      It’s extremely rare that I have to remove any comments. In any case, if I deleted yours by accident, I apologize. Sometimes I approve comments that wind up in the moderation queue via email, and it possible I just clicked the wrong link or something. Whatever it was, I apologize. I try to be very fair when replying to questions, and I’m sorry that yours not only went unanswered, but apparently also unpublished.

  • Reply Shannon September 15, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I love your blog. I love the design. I love how you write. I love the subjects you choose to write about. I also read a lot of other blogs and a few of them have been also redesigned by you. What you do is GREAT! I think that if you decide that you are okay with being paid for all the work that you put into this blog, and hence are able to do take on less ‘other’ work and spend more time blogging – because you said that you love it – then we all benefit. We get to read and see it (lucky me) and you get to do it! Please keep doing it!

    Good luck with the decision, you’re awesome!

  • Reply lindsay September 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

    You have such a strong authentic voice Anna. I personally would love to see how you handle ads. I’ve been reading blogs for about 10 years. In the past 2 years or so I’ve trimmed down my reading to only those who still seem to have that authentic voice or unique view. I feel the advertising has turned so many bloggers I admired at one point into product pushers. Quite frankly, I don’t need or want to be enticed to buy more stuff. It seems the advertising has even seeped into Twitter feeds, via links to this and that. Now when these bloggers tag @CrateandBarrel or whatever in their tweets, I wonder if they’ve been paid to do it, or if they’re looking to get free swag. It’s just so gross.

    At the same time, I have much respect for the blogs that have ads, and do it right. It must take A LOT of time and consideration. Like, say if you have ads for handmade awesome hand bags, then do you steer away from saying you love Orla’s latest bags? Or if you are running ads do you feel it necessary to post on a schedule so you are driving traffic to your blog, and thus to your sponsors? Or what if someone wants to advertise, but they’re not really a good fit, or their ad doesn’t fit the look of your blog? Do you then spend a million hours composing an email trying nicely to say no? It’s all mind boggling to me. I just know when it’s done wrong it’s a huge turn off, and when it’s done right, I never have to question the authenticity of the blogger.

  • Reply Grumble Girl September 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I loved reading this, Anna… it’s like you’re inside my head in many ways. I’ve all but abandoned my own blog (though I’ve been writing in other places) and I’ve been struggling to figure out what I want from the platform, what it gives me, what works, what doesn’t. This post has helped me jog some stagnant thoughts… that’s a good thing.

    Still thinking, too…

  • Reply Lee September 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Dear Anna,

    I missed this when it was originally posted, but i felt inclined to comment. I appreciate the challenges around ads on blogs and support you in whatever decision you make. There are three things I really admire about you and your blog/blogging: your ethics, your point of view, and your mad skills. It is refreshing to see all three in one hot spot that I love to visit whenever I have a free moment, which is like every two or so weeks. I too struggle with time (and saying no to projects that interest me) personally in a non-design related field. I don’t have any advice (I don’t think you were asking for any), but I am grateful you exist and put yourself out there, as they say. So, if through door sixteen you are able to support other small, like-minded businesses and continue blogging, I say go for it. Regardless of your decision, I will still read.


  • Reply Stef September 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I adore this place so I support (almost) anything that allows you to post more often. I will say, I see a massive difference between banner ads down the side of a blog and sponsored posts. Ads are great. I’ve found many small businesses via ads on my favorite blogs. I expect them when I visit a blog and have zero issue with a blogger accepting them to support their families. Sponsored posts – UGH. At least a dozen of my favorite blogs are currently running posts sponsored by Nestlee, Smart Water, Britta, Method, and more. I don’t understand the relevance to home/design and I think they are *greatly* influcencing the content.

    • Stef September 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Apologies for my rushed typos

  • Reply amber September 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Anna,

    Blogging is such a weird and also wonderful thing. It’s so neat to have these little windows into parts of people’s lives that you would otherwise never know. I love how it can foster a sense of community or belonging when maybe you don’t find people to connect with over various things in your normal life, but you find them online. It’s great to get that little blip of connection and identity where maybe it was missing otherwise. I love how it humanizes strangers (I think we need more of that). I love how it makes me feel little pangs of concern for how overworked and under rested this woman in New York is that I will never meet (and also maybe tiny pangs of guilt at how much I would like to see a new post, but know that she probably needs the break). Anyway, I just wanted to say that what you do is tiny, wonderful, modern magic. Your readers do really care about you and you’ve made it so clear that you try to do everything in your life with thought and care, whether it be to post, not to post, or even to have some independent ads. Because I know you would carefully choose any independent businesses you worked with, I personally feel like they would be like additional content rather than a distraction.
    Thanks for sharing and take care,

  • Reply jbhat September 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I admire you, your style and your character. You are super interesting to me because your character is so well-developed; you have well-informed opinions and are very principled. If, as you grow and change, your opinions and principles also evolve, that’s a-ok. You are still YOU, and I am sure that Door 16 won’t suffer from any of the thoughtful decisions you make about how you’d like your blog to be.


  • Reply Janine September 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Hey Anna,
    Your blog has remained for many years one of the only ad free spaces on the internet. At first I didn’t understand why it was important for there to be an ad free space on the internet. Eventually, I came to take the point, that everything out there has been commodified and it’s impossible to find a space online that’s not branded. Our homes are full of branded things, not by our choice. However, your blog being ad free hasn’t been super valuable to me, I can cope with the noise of advertising and branding that’s thrown at me.

    In my opinion, your blog is your own. I value what you do and what you write up here. I have been VERY interested in your beauty product posts, and I’ve checked out some of the products you’ve discussed. When I started visiting this blog, I could NOT understand why your house was painted black and white, and having just painted my basement black and white, I totally understand now. That shit looks GOOD.

    Thus, my thought is that since this is your space and since you have taste that works for me, I am interested in a new turn where you provide advertising to companies that have products you’re willing to endorse. Just remember that The Bloggess has to put up with shittonne of lousy PR pitches, so get ready to have a jpg of Wil Wheaton coalating paper on hand when that nonsense gets started. 😉 Or perhaps one of your puppies spoiling a rug, whatever, be you. Do that thing you do.

    One thought though: blog as much as you want to blog. Don’t pressure yourself to produce produce produce. Just be you. The only pressure I’d hope you’d feel would be to make time to blog joyfully. To work on your house joyfully. To cook joyfully. Even if you sell advertising, don’t feel pressured. It’s not healthy. Live your life, be happy. Never apologize for having a real life that is more fun and more important and is secret, and therefore is an impediment to your blogging. That’s yours, a good reader won’t resent absenses.

    On the subject of people demanding your writing, Neil Gaiman’s response to someone’s question – paraphrasing here – “doesn’t it suck when a writer doesn’t work on the book series you really want them to?” was “author X is not your bitch”. You are not our bitch, unless we’re talking in that friendsies way where we’re comparing eye shadows and I’m like “Anna is totally my bitch, I am not buying this eye shadow until she tells me if she’s tried it before and what she thought”.

    Lost my train of thought.
    Where was I?
    Nope, it’s gone. OOOOoooooo Scandinavian unicorns and RAINBOWS. Tee hee! I want to put you on a Tshirt, Scandinavian unicorn!

  • Reply viv September 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Anna, I love your blog so much!

    It doesn’t bother me that you don’t post every day or however often professional bloggers do. I think that staying ad free allows you to write as frequently as your interests and thoughts allow. Because you have no expectations from the blog and, as a result, no obligation to your readers apart from general decency, the relationship feels honest.

    I feel like people are constantly trying to sell me things, and even though I trust that you’d be a conscientious blogger no matter the platform, I think that adopting ads will change the relationship: to know that you’re producing more but now, to some degree, dependent on your readership will spoil things a little bit for me.

    I hope that you can stay ad free, but I respect your decision either way. Thanks for all the time you’ve put into making this blog fun to read.

    • Anna @ D16 September 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      That’s just the thing, though, Viv—it’s not that I don’t have the desire to blog more! I really want to be able to write more for all of the reasons I talked about in my post, but I don’t have time because I need to devote all of my “free” hours (meaning when I’m not at work during the day) to doing freelance design work. I wish I could clone myself or add 12 hours to every day, but I can’t—so something has to give. I either have to continue with the freelance work (and not blog much), or blog to my heart’s content and limit my freelance work to a few select projects a year.

      At this point, the choice is about whether I want to spend my evenings and weekends designing or blogging. Since I’m already spending 40 hours a week designing stuff during the daytime and I have a strong desire to write in a public setting, it’s likely that I’m going to choose blogging. I can’t keep trying to do both, though. I’m getting by on about 3 hours of sleep a night right now, and that’s making me sick.

      I would never consider posting more in order to sustain ad revenue, though. That’s not at all what I’m getting at here. You will never see a post on this blog that was written out of a sense of obligation or meeting a quota.

  • Reply lee September 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I enjoy your blog and miss you when you don’t post. I click on the links you post….and expensive habit! Why shouldn’t you be paid for that?

  • Reply aila September 16, 2012 at 4:40 am

    You’ve just got yourself a new reader, I really liked this post 🙂 I don’t know how I got here, propably just by surfing around from a link to another :)))

  • Reply nauli September 16, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Wow! If someone is experienced in blogging it’s you! (We’ve been so blind on this eye …)
    You do a professional job as an editor, writer, photographer. You let us readers consume your posts. So, advertising is absolutely fine.
    I actually my sister and me read your statement about ad-free blog before and thought about how idealistic you are. But really, we couldn’t think about any other reason than you might be disturbed by the aesthetic of ads on blogs.

  • Reply Alex McKellar September 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I love your blog Anna, sponsored or not, I dont care! I am not a blogger but read a handful on a regular basis. If ads allow you to write more often, then please do!

  • Reply Luisa September 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I used to read Absolutely Vile. Then I stopped reading blogs altogether. One day I discovered yours but I didn’t go through the archives. I never made the link between you and Absolutely Vile…
    All this to say that your blogging has always been high-quality stuff, authentic and just the right amount of personal content and I rather see relevant ads here than, for example, this horrible trend in cyber panhandling that is going around… asking for donations and tricking readers.

  • Reply Elisa September 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Dear Anna,
    thank you for your honest and beautiful blog! I’ve been following your writing and design for two years and am very fond of you. Actually, yours is the first blog that I’ve ever followed. And then you introduced me to a whole new world, this blogosphere that is now part of my life (with blogs like Jenna’s sweetfineday or Daniel’s Manhattan Nest). So, thanks!

    It is clear that you are a person of great integrity AND great experience in blogging and I do not think that you would allow yourself to be influenced by any advertising client. That said, I must say that I am not so comfortable with the concept of personal blogs being funded by advertisements. I fear that too many of those blogs become inauthentic spaces and/or spaces that trigger greed, vanity and ultimately materialism. That’s why I think that the commitment to ad free blogging is a great thing.

    Have you considered other ways of gaining an income through your blog? Like the courageous site that Sandra Juto created, to support her blog (your post reminded me to go there and buy her something!)…

    There is also flattr / flattr.com. It is getting bigger and bigger in Germany (where I live). The idea is that people put a regular monthly amount of money into their flattr-account (at least 2 Euro per month, I think) and use it to support the websites or webservices which they appreciate, just by clicking a “flattr”-button on these sites. The monthly payment will be divided through all the sites which one decides to “flattr”. E.g. if I chose a regular monthly donation sum of 10 Euro and chose to “flattr” 10 sites in October, than all of the sites will get 1 Euro in October. I love this idea: being able to support the blogs or articles which I like in a pretty easy manner. I think there should be flattr-buttons all over the internet.

    OK, enough. I know you will make it work, whichever path you chose, advertisement or something else. I wish you all the best and hope that you find a way to live happily and healthily, with as many hours of sleep per night as you need.
    Alle the best, Elisa

  • Reply Dee September 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I love the idea of flatter.com. It is a direct way for readers to help support their favorite blogs. Eliminates the need for advertising and all the inherent issues of authenticity and ethics that ads entail. Maybe you could be a pioneer of this model for bloggers in North America Anna.

  • Reply Josephine September 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Anna, I’ve been visiting your Door Sixteen blog almost as long as you’ve been writing it. You express yourself so well here, and always have something interesting to say/share.

    Follow your heart on this one, I will keep reading regardless!

  • Reply katrina September 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    i love D16 and i admire you. i seriously don’t believe ads/sponsorships would at all affect the way i perceive you or D16 in the least.

  • Reply Jo September 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Anna, I’ve been quietly reading and enjoying your blog for a couple of years. I love it. If you blog more often, I will be happy. Very happy. Do your thing, please – just let me read it. It can only be good.

  • Reply Polly September 17, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Really enjoyed this post, the history, the honesty and the fact you like to talk, discuss, and interact – I guess that’s why I keep coming back. Along with the look (I’m a visual person so for me that’s the initial pull, always will be), the make-up tips, the home renovations and the nails. I understand why your considering sponsorship, but in all honestly I love the fact you don’t have any at the moment, ad’s just annoy me in general, though they wouldn’t stop me coming back. It’s your space and I guess you really need to follow your instincts. If the end result is more blogging from Anna then that will make me happy for one.

  • Reply rebecca September 17, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I’ve been a fan of yours since that AV 2002 period 🙂 I enjoyed hearing the story about your journey on and off line. I’ve always enjoyed the breath of fresh air that your site provides. Clean, clear, no clutter. I know that whatever decision you make, you’ll keep design in mind and it will still be a beautiful place on the web, with great content. All the best…rebecca

  • Reply Chris September 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Seems like a no-brainer to me. If pursuing advertising means you will keep posting, do it. I’d actually pretty excited to see who you’d choose. It’d be like a little curated shop of cool.

  • Reply dewofthedesert September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I think it really doesn’t matter ads or no ads because your blogging voice is unique and authentic. I always found it interesting that you didn’t accept ads (neither good nor bad). As long as the content is valuable and compelling it shouldn’t matter that you have ads. Unless it impacts the “look” of the blog. I am a sucker for clean, modern, uncluttered and blogs that overload with ads can be tiresome to read but as long as you find a layout that preserves the look and feel of your blog (which I love!) go for it!

  • Reply maja September 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Hi- I’ve been reading your blog forever, it’s been one of my favorites. I applaud your openness on this topic, and I think your readers would support you 100% in sponsorship, ads, etc– because you will do do it with your signature style.

    But since you brought it up, I wanted to tell you about my perspective as a small business owner: I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends about how social media (and blogging) have changed in the last year, making it really hard for small business owners like me to get our name(s) out there. I applaud 100% bloggers making an income at what they love, but it just seems that more and more the large corporate sponsors are dominating media and the independent spirit of blogging is going away. Back in 2007 when I started my other business, bloggers would be happy to post about a new product or company or not require a $5000 initial buy in for ads or $10,000 sponsored post, but now it’s totally different. Facebook and even Google searches all require a paid service if you have any hope of getting visibility online. As a result, it’s the same mega-brands who steal the show.

    One of the things that I love about your blog is your independent spirit, so I’m not expecting a kitchen renovation sponsored by Home Depot or anything- but I would be interested to hear if you have any ideas on how little guys can compete in this new space.

    Thanks for all that you do,

  • Reply Julie Gong September 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Ads, no adds, or weeks between posts… I’ll continue to read and be a fan. Thank you for doing what you do.

  • Reply Momo September 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Anna, as someone who found themselves a strange wash of flotsam jetsam when blogging became ‘something else’ circa 2005 (the death knell a few years later) I totally hear you and your conflict! I realized my personal blog had no place, and I really didn’t want such an open marketplace commenting on my life (and parenting when it happened) so bowed out. I have come back a few times, but things have changed too much and I really don’t feel comfortable with blogging and the sharing that comes with it. Really, I think I thrashed all that out in my 20s. However, Door Sixteen is a valuable resource and inspiration to SO MANY! You are a visionary with your style, an individualist and an outlier! I love all these qualities and particularly your integrity and hence your enormous conundrum with the advertising. I think you should be fiscally rewarded – lady, take some ads on! Seriously, I think we all know it won’t lead to advertorials!

    • Anna @ D16 September 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      Is now the right time for me to say that I miss your blog?? Yours was one of the first I ever read, along with Claire’s and Witold’s. Those were different times, though, Momo, I know. xx

  • Reply Momo September 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    The death knell for ME, I mean! I think 2008 was when things went gangbusters/pro for so many people! Sorry, had to clarify.

  • Reply becky September 18, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Strict Rule: Black and white ads only!

    Just kidding. I think you should do whatever you want to with regard to ads. Just don’t let some sense of responsibility to your advertisers make the blogging (I’ve never liked that word either, as a noun or verb or even as a gerund) start to feel like a chore/obligation. If you can keep the wonderful spirit of just blogging when you are moved to share something, you’ll be golden. Your time is precious and valuable and you shouldn’t feel guilty being compensated for it. I do love that I can just swing by and catch up on a few months’ worth of Door 16 and savor every post.

  • Reply Kate F. September 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Frankly, I’d be happy to see ads and know that they were compensating you for your work here! (And taking some of the stress of off you!) I know you’d never turn this into one of those places where the charming blog turns into an all-sponsors-all-the-time nightmare!

  • Reply Fiona September 19, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Oooooohhhhh, apologies in advance… *RANT* I actively wish you WOULD take advertisers and have done for a while. It’s awful to think of you working a 60, 70, 80 hour week and fighting exhaustion. You are a gifted writer, you are very, very good at what you do. If Door Sixteen was made up of 20,000 word blog posts, I would read it all and not get bored. Why shouldn’t you be paid for it? Why on earth would it be my business as someone who very much enjoys the fruits of your labour to get sniffy about whether you’re paid (nobody got sniffy but I’m on a high horse here and not coming down). *INCREASINGLY HYSTERICAL RANT* Why shouldn’t artists/musicians/designers/performers get paid for their work? Why are artists ALWAYS being asked to do charity gigs yet the caterers always get paid? The venue gets paid, the insurers get paid, everyone gets paid except the artist. Because we’re supposed to be living out some kind of vocation? What, are we latterday saints? Well, yes, making a living from creative work IS a privilege and childhood dream come true but so what? Do we not have bills and mortgages like everyone else? Do we not need six waking hours a day AWAY from work just like everyone else? Of course ethics, limits and ‘fit’ are an issue when it comes to advertising vs content but nobody will handle that with more grace than you. Sponsorship and patronage has always funded art – it’s more important than ever now that the internet has made so much content available without a fee from the consumer – and personally I think the more artists unapologetically demand a value on their own time and talent the more culturally vibrant society will be.

    • Anna @ D16 September 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      I TOTALLY understand what you’re saying, Fiona, and you know I agree with you, but my hesitation has always stemmed from my reluctance to see this as “work.” When I started blogging a million years ago it was really just about oversharing and having fun—it wasn’t about doing something for an audience or thinking about crafting beautiful visuals. It’s just a whole different world now, and I’m trying to get my head around that. xx

  • Reply Ana September 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Fourteen years?
    I admire you.

    It’s too late in the night… or too in the morning to write something long and translate it into English, but I just want to say that I really enjoyed this post.

  • Reply Ali September 23, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I have loved your blog and admired your stylish home renovations every since the first weekend I stumbled upon it and read every post in a many hours long marathon :). I always wondered how you could possibly do this without any sponsorship. Go for it–I’d love to see more frequent posting!

  • Reply eva September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    wha tis this awsome font?

    • Anna @ D16 September 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      I’m not sure what font you’re asking about, Eva…the one on the postcard in the photo? I don’t know, but you can try contacting Better Bauhaus.

  • Reply Krysta September 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I love your site- from documenting your home renovation right down to discussing denim leggings I enjoy nearly everything I read here and absolutely think that you should accept advertisers as a way to provide some compensation for the content you create and share here. The only types of advertising that bother me are ones where the blogger isn’t clear that the post has been sponsored or they are receivng something for free. But I can’t imagine you wouldn’t be transparent about those types of things.

  • Reply julia wheeler September 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

    as someone who has worked in “digital media + advertising” (so lame and corporate sounding) for nearly 10 years, it’s not as evil as it sounds. your blog will continue to be as inspiring as ever but you’ll have the funds to make it that much more worthwhile. your readers will be here no matter what. but don’t forget: haters gonna hate… ads or no ads. that’s just part of the fun/challenge!

  • Reply Jane October 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    You know, I totally get this feeling. Maybe you’re a few years ahead of me in “the game,” but lately I’ve also been feeling like I’ve been stretching myself too thin, between my day job (luxury magazine copy editor) + my freelance jobs (web designer, social media manager, writer, reporter) + my personal life (My fiance and I are moving from NYC to Austin in three months, and hell, we’re getting MARRIED next year, but who has the time to plan anything?!) On top of all this, I still feel this urge calling me back to writing a personal blog, in the style of yours. I too used to blog (Xanga represent!) for many years when I was younger, but have since deleted that. In college I blogged for a bit, especially when travelling or when I had a cool internship, but in the years since then I have been radio silent when it comes to writing about my personal thoughts and opinions and LIFE on the web. I guess the only things stopping me are (1) Do I really want to open myself up to random strangers critiquing me? and (2) As I mentioned above, I’m already stretched pretty thin! I guess I worry that if I begin to slack in my life elsewhere (my job, my relationship), the first thing people will think is that I devote too much time writing on my personal blog, even if it’s just a once a day or a once a week thing. I don’t know why I’ve let those silent thoughts stop me from getting back in the blogging game, but for now, I haven’t taken the plunge. Maybe I will soon.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for writing this. Do what ya gotta do… I’ll keep reading either way. By the way, I’ve never taken the time to comment here before (like I said, I’m already stretching myself too thin!!), but I am a big fan of your work (both at S&S and on the web), so you know… keep up the good work… and stuff.


  • Reply Jess October 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I support you and your blog and I think you should do what you need to do.

    I think you will do it in a way that keeps your blog as awesome as it is.

    go for it Anna 🙂

  • Reply The Belvedere- Alyssa December 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I love this post- a little late on reading it but im just catching up here.

    I love the fact that you always stick to something that is so ‘you’-whatever that may be. There are no repetitive posts, no Wednesday whatevers, just original content with original pictures- so refreshing even after all the years you’ve been at it! I say bravo, if you can make a little money off of your hard work on this blog why not?

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