Desire to Inspire: Curating the Web, One Room at a Time

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h1The Internet is our design source and we can be all about Scandinavian design one day and Brazilian the next.

Kim Johnson and Jo Walker, Desire to Inspire

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Desire to Inspire is something that could only come to life on the Web. Kim Johnson (a Canadian) and Jo Walker (an Australian) met on Flickr and after realizing they shared the same obsession for interior design, they created a place online to chronicle that enthusiasm - and they've never even met! Julie Carlson of Remodelista puts it this way in the SAY 100, "The duo has an uncanny talent for discovering the work of international photographers, interior designers, and architects." They’ve also built a devout following even though they don't come from the design world: Kim supervises a Web development team in Ottawa, Canada. Jo, from Brisbane, Australia trained as an interior designer but no longer practices and now works for the government; in her spare time she scours the Web for the perfect room. Desire to Inspire is a showcase for their passion for all things beautiful around the home.

We checked in with Kim and Jo by email to find out what products and trends they're eyeing, why pets on furniture are a great thing, and what Canadian and Australian design sites they're following.

You've been blogging since 2007 – how have you seen sources for interior design inspiration change in that time? When we first started blogging most inspiration came from the print media. Blogs changed that as more and more people discovered this amazing wonderworld of online images. Even magazines came on board with their own websites to complement their print productions. An interesting development in the last year is the arrival of Pinterest. But more of that in the next question.

You started exchanging photos on Flickr and then created a blog. Any new tools or Web services right now that you're interested in for design? We like to keep things simple, so we still use Flickr to store images. We have seen how huge Pinterest has become for people wanting to store photos, and Tumblr sites as well. It is a bit concerning how these types of tools for storing photos makes it easier for people to stash photos that don't belong to them and not credit the source. We always ensure we mention our sources so it's a bit frustrating when others aren't as diligent.

You've gotten lots of attention for your fun Pets on Furniture series of posts (brilliant!). How did that start?

Kim: Back when we started the blog I would come across photos of interiors that included pets and feature them in quick posts. (Jo and I love animals - I have 7 cats and Jo has a dog and a bunch of birds). People started randomly sending me photos of their pets on furniture which I would post as they came in. I soon realized as I received more and more emails that I could start this as a regular feature. That was in 2009.

What other Australian design bloggers inspire you?

Jo: The Diversion Project and The Design Files

How about great Canadian design bloggers?

Kim: Lori Angille of Automatism and John and Juli Baker of Kitka are favourite bloggers of mine whose blogs I visit regularly.

What products are you especially enjoying / inspired by this year?

Kim: I am a huge fan of anything with an industrial vibe, so the E27 Socket Lamp by Muuto is a favourite of mine. They're so versatile. I also recently became enamored for modern versions of the classic Windsor chair. Even West Elm has created an affordable version.

Jo: I'm loving the rug this year. Yes let's declare it the year of the carpet. It's that piece in a room that lifts it to the next level. With the huge ethnic/tribal trend showing no signs of easing I'm still enjoying traditional rugs like Turkish kilims. To add that modern twist try overdying or patchwork. My favs at the moment are the overdyed vintage rugs and Hepsi rugs by Loom.

What are you all-time most popular posts? And what do you think that says about what people are looking for in design? With the massive amount of interior design blogs out there, our most popular posts seem to be the ones that are not seen all over blogland, whose original source we have come across in our searches for blog material. More specifically, spaces that are modern with a Scandinavian vibe seem to be the most popular, and we blog them fairly often as they are favourites of ours.

What are the most common questions you get about design? Most of the questions we get from our readers are either specific questions regarding their personal design dilemmas. We receive lots of these so Jo blogs one just about every Saturday (they include photos of the space in question), and we let our readers offer up advice. We also get asked very frequently for sources of items seen in the photos we blog.

What do you think the Intl-Canadian-Australian connection brings to the design point of view of your blog? A fresh take on design. We are not constrained by a set of iconoclastic designers we feel we must bow to. No that's a bit harsh. I know the design scene in Australia is young and fresh and independent and our readers love to see it. We feel that DTI isn't really a Canadian-Australian blog. We are an international one. The Internet is our design source and we can be all about Scandinavian design one day and Brazilian the next. It just depends where our internet surfing takes us.

Follow Kim and Jo on Twitter @desiretoinspire

[Images via Desire to Inspire, Craig Wall]