INCrowd: Design challenge? Blogger says bring it
Special to Metromix
April 7, 2011
By the time you read this, Erin Loechner should have completed her home renovation — “should” being the operative word.
For a year and a half, the writer and blogger, along with her husband, Ken, have been remodeling their Fort Wayne ranch home into a Scandinavian-inspired cabin.
Imagine yourself as a first-time home buyer, purchasing an abandoned and mold-stricken house at a foreclosure sale. Imagine gutting said home and building it into your dream home. Now, imagine documenting the process in front of the HGTV.com audience. Intimidating?
Maybe, but Loechner has never been one to avoid a challenge. As the founder of the acclaimed art and design blog, DesignforMankind.com, she learned early on the importance of working hard and pursuing her creative passions.
After attending Ball State University, the Connersville native moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as an art director at an ad agency and then as an editor at AOL. Shortly after starting Design for Mankind in 2007, Loechner quit her job to pursue a full-time freelance writing and communications career.
Since then, her work has been featured in publications such as Glamour, Lucky, Dwell, ReadyMade and Apartment Therapy.
Boasting over 230,000 weekly readers, DesignForMankind.com was recently named one of the London Times’ top 50 design blogs in the world. I sat down with Loechner to talk about design, fashion, careers and the guilty pleasure of fast food.
Inspiration: “I’m big into patterns, geometric shapes, and the weather is huge for me. Anything that elicits a reaction in me, whether it’s love or hate.”
Fashion advice: To create a more personal space on DesignForMankind.com, Loechner created Design for My Kind, where she muses about style, home and life. She often incorporates her design inspiration into her wardrobe. “Right now, I’m big into color blocking and patterns with animal silhouettes. And bold colors that combine opposite ends of the color wheel.”
Where to shop for clothes: “I follow trends but don’t invest, so I love stores like Target, J. Crew and Forever 21. But one of my all-time favorites is Anthropologie.” Loechner also shops thrift stores and eBay — with one rule: Purchase nothing where someone else’s armpits have been.
On home renovation: “Take your budget, multiply it by two, and that’s what you’ll need.” She also advises not living in the home during the renovation but believes the process was good for her marriage. “I’m proud of us; we have battle scars.”
Where to shop for items for your home: West Elm, CB2, eBay or even a church bazaar. “Reinvent the things you already have.”
Life pleasures: “I’m a horrible photographer, but I enjoy it. Shopping just for me, movies, TV — oh, and we eat out all of the time. I love Wendy’s. It’s a very non-glamorous life.”
Best piece of career advice: “Maggie Mason of MightyGirl.net told me something I will never forget: ‘None of the people you see as successful had it handed to them — they asked to be there.’”