It’s hard to believe, but we are nearing the end of our six-year home renovation project. We finally found someone to prep and paint the exterior of the house (more on that in a later post) and that job is complete! We do still have some miscellaneous jobs to do on the exterior, like gutters. We also have one last room that needs some finishing touches. In the meantime, instead of talking about the house, we want to celebrate our 100th blog post!!! The blog has been a big project in and of itself that deserves a little reflection. The decision to start writing about our project was a spontaneous one. We never intended for anyone outside of our family and a few friends to actually read it. It was originally going to simply be a way to document our progress so that we would remember the journey.
Our first post was published on May 22, 2014 and was just a short post about a change we had experienced at the time that was the impetus for seeking out financial and career flexibility while also reprioritizing some aspects of our life. Since that time 6 years ago we have continued to evolve, including both leaving our comfy suburban teaching jobs to teach in our local urban school district.
At that time our original plan was to get the house just “livable” by fixing up the first floor and then moving in after 6 months. Well, 6 YEARS later and we are still working! I guess we were just a little off. But in our defense, we did completely alter the scope of the project and, more importantly, we decided against hiring a general contractor and ended up doing the vast majority of the work ourselves.
Unless you have been following our blog since the beginning, you may not know where the title comes from. Our house was boarded up when we bought it and on the board over the front door someone had written “My owner is an asshole.” Well, we didn’t want anyone thinking WE were assholes, so we crossed it out and wrote “Under New Management” underneath it. When we were trying to think of a title for our blog Aiden (who was 10 years old at the time) suggested we call it Under New Management… so we did! It remains his biggest contribution to our 6-year project.
Our blog has had 106,136 views and counting. The most popular day to read our blog is Saturday and the most popular time is 6:00pm. Most readers find our blog through our Facebook posts or google searches, but a surprising number also come from links in other home rehab blogs, WordPress followers, Bloglovin, and Pinterest. We never pinned our pictures on Pinterest, but they sure have ended up there. The pictures of Lucy’s room, Aiden’s room, the built-in wardrobes, and the loft space seem to be the most common on Pinterest, especially this picture…
I don’t know why, but I was surprised to find a good number of international views. All the pink and red countries in the picture below represent the locations of our readers.
A little less than 20% of our views are from outside the U.S. – roughly 125 different countries! The top three are predictable – Canada, UK, and Australia. The next most popular (in order) are Denmark, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Spain, and Singapore. I have to assume that the 23 countries where we only got one view must have just been user error or something… I mean, I’m not sure why anyone who lives in Andorra, Pakistan, Guyana, Zambia, Isle of Man, Libya, or the Faroe Islands is really interested in an American late victorian cottage renovation blog.
We are able to see how many views each post gets and I am completely surprised by our most popular blog posts! I would have never guessed the top three. If you had to guess you would probably think our most popular would have been about when we moved in, but that one was 6th. Or maybe you’d think it would be one about a major reveal, like the kitchen. Nope, that was way down at number 14.
Well, in 3rd place was our post about an IKEA hack we did to create wardrobe closets for the kids.
Apparently if you google “Sundvik wardrobe hack”, our post comes up near the top and if you do a google image search, the first two pictures are ours. That might explain why this has so many views. It’s also very “Pinterested”….is that a word? It’s super weird to search Pinterest for ideas on your own house only to randomly find your own pictures of your house that a stranger posted.
In 2nd place – one of our very first posts. It was about why we love our new neighborhood… or, at the time, the neighborhood we would soon live in.
That link must have been passed around quite a bit in our community. Looking back, I think we have mixed emotions about that post. In some ways it did certainly explain why we wanted to move here, but in hindsight we can see how maybe it might have rubbed some current neighbors the wrong way – Like we were just another white family contributing to urban gentrification by moving to an “up and coming” neighborhood (a term that our neighborhood despises). This is a big issue in many urban neighborhoods, including ours, and we are certainly aware of our role and contribution. To be clear, we still love this neighborhood and have no intention of ever leaving, but I think our new top 10 would look much different… LESS about the amenities and location and much MORE about the people, the passion, the creativity, the community, the open-mindedness, and the quirkiness.
So, the most popular blog post by a long shot? You’d never guess… It’s my tutorial on how to install spring bronze weather stripping. Yep! That’s our most popular. Crazy.
You might not have ever noticed, but at the top of the home page there are various links to other pages you can jump to – including a 6 step process I wrote on how to restore old windows. Well apparently there are a LOT of people scraping the internet for tutorials on how to install spring bronze weather stripping. Who knew?!? I mean, have you ever even heard of spring bronze? I didn’t think so.
Speaking of window tutorials. Another fun fact about our blog is that several of our pictures of window rehab are now featured in the project gallery of the website for Sarco Putty – the putty I used to reglaze every window sash and storm window in our house. Somehow they came across our blog and sent us an email requesting to use some of our pictures.
It is sometimes interesting to see what search terms lead people to discover our blog. Of course most of them were some variation of “Under new management home renovation.” But once again a surprising large number of them are related to window restoration. I also wasn’t expecting to see so many searches on how to match new pine to old pine – which was a topic I wrote about in the early stages of my window rehab. Other popular searches involve IKEA hacks or IKEA furniture. As I was looking through the search terms, a few funny ones jumped out:
“The electrician seduce me when my husband travel” – An electrician? Really? What makes me laugh is thinking about someone googling this, then getting sidetracked by our blog and reading all about our home rehab adventures.
“Can you leave a abandoned house unboarded when selling your house” – I’m so confused by this. You probably shouldn’t leave an abandoned house unboarded for any reason, right?
“In a storey building, the parlour downstairs is open to the ceiling, how do I wire it conduit” – Such a specific search!
“Rehabbing old crooked house” – Well, at least our house wasn’t “crooked”, but I hope our blog helped them straighten it out.
“An attractive mission of an electrical technician” – What? I mean, I know the title of one of our blogs must have been what brought up our blog in their google search (Mission Electrician – Part 1), but what does this google search even mean?
“Weed moats” – Hahaha! Is this a thing? Because Amy and I wrote a blog about weed moats thinking for sure we must have invented this term. And then someone actually googled it?!
“Remodeling sucks up all my time” – Yes. Yes it does. So sad that this individual has no one to talk to and has resorted to typing their personal complaints into google search. I hope they message us.
As mentioned previously, we never intended for more than a handful of people to read the blog. We never thought that people would actually want to read about our project and listen to us rant about staining, scraping, and wiring. The blog itself has meant a lot to us and has at times even been the tail that wags the dog by forcing us to keep progress moving along or to complete projects that would have otherwise floundered. The blog has also caused so much bonding that otherwise would never had occurred. We’ve made subscribers out of our co-workers, our parent’s friends, and our old high school connections – reviving and creating relationships in so many spheres of our lives. People have encouraged us in such wonderful heartfelt ways, like reaching out to say that our blog inspired them and gave them confidence to do their own DIY projects or telling us that they value the work that we are doing to save an old house. Sharing our project and putting ourselves out there was daunting, but knowing that people in far away places are silently reading, feeling inspired, or laughing at our misery, is oddly comforting. So, thank you for coming on this long journey with us. Just a few more blog posts left..