It's all about the Algorithm

I understand many people’s frustration with instagram, I’ve been there. But if you are an architect or interior designer, there are certain things you should be doing to engage and increase your following as well as get your business out there. As I’ve been slowly growing my following and upping my instagram game over the past few years, I’ve learned a few tips that I’d love to share in hopes that any other great architects and interior designers out there don’t give up hope from instagram.

Make sure your grid is not haphazard

You’ve seen all those beautifully curated grids and wondered how those people are so good at getting the perfect content put together in such an elegant way. I’m here to let you know that many of those brands have someone else managing their accounts. If you have the dough to swing that - do it. But if like me, you don’t, don’t worry. One thing I have found that is helpful is laying out your grid in diamonds. What I mean is that every other image should be similar in aesthetic and color tones. Here is mine as an example - which is by no means perfect, but illustrates what I’m talking about. This idea of curated visual cohesiveness may seem obvious as we are in a visual industry, but don’t think that it happens so easily for every instagram account out there that looks great. It takes planning, collecting great images, and time.


Plan your posts with a planning tool

There are many instagram planning tools on the market, but I use Planoly. It has a free version, which I used for a little while before switching to the paid annual subscription. I try to plan out at least two weeks worth of posts. Sometimes I have the images planned and don’t add the caption until a day or two before - or if I’m slacking, the morning of. But this tool is critical to my ability to post good content daily that my audience wants to see. I like to use it as a research tool to peruse the design and architecture blogs for inspiration. Then when I see something I love, I add it to my planoly and worry about curating the grid later - that’s the great thing about it, you can constantly move around the images and update the captions up until the moment that it’s posted. Planoly also lets you categorize and save your hashtags and even has a scheduling feature if you don’t physically like posting.

Stock photos can be your friend

If you are just getting started out and don’t have a ton of your own work to show - use stock images! I had no idea half of the people I follow were using stock images to fluff up their grids and I’ve only recently started doing this. I still aim to have inspiration images and my own images more often than not - but sometimes it calls for a really beautiful stock image. It’s ok. As long as the images you use are on brand and you write a good caption, put them in there. I recommend using Unsplash which is free and you can choose whether or not you credit the photographer - it’s not required! Plus, the images are so so good.


Use hashtags that your ideal clients follow. I’d recommend starting here as well as looking at the people you want engage with and seeing what hashtags they are gravitating toward. You are allowed a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. There is much debate about whether it’s best to put the hashtags in the comments or on the caption. I do it on the caption, I’ve heard both options argued - bottom line is to use good hashtags and don’t overthink it as that can hold you up from performing in the first place!

Enjoy what you are putting out there

If you don’t enjoy it and you feel down on yourself, your audience will realize it. Even though I post every day, I do it because I want to. As long as you are consistent, you can do 3-4 times a week. Just make sure to stay engaged with your followers and your community and you should see your following grow.

If any designers or architects are getting their work from instagram - I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at Taryn (at) Thanks!

Brentwood Remodel Progress

How many people does it take to get a 500 lb tub from the garage up to a second floor apartment? 8. It takes 8.

How many people does it take to get a 500 lb tub from the garage up to a second floor apartment? 8. It takes 8.

This week, the finish work begins in our Master Bathroom renovation project.  Finish work - which is the work you see when you look at a final project - always moves so quickly compared to all the prep work. But the prep work is very important, of course, as it's the backbone that holds the project together. You just never notice it - at least in a well done project. In the case of our Master Bathroom renovation project in Brentwood, Los Angeles, the plumbing, electrical, and walls were important things that needed to be well prepped before tiling could begin. Now the plumbing has been located in the proper places for two sinks at the vanity, a new shower in the niche, and a new freestanding tub. Electrical was also moved to make more logical placement of the switches instead of the old locations which had four different switches all throughout the bathroom (completely ridiculous and highly inefficient!) We also simplified the lighting by adding recessed fixtures in the middle "aisle" of the bathroom as well as one fixture in the shower niche.  After these two major items were completed, the cement/mortar bed was done everywhere where tile will be located. Now it's ready for the tiling! Flooring is the first step, which is about half way done as of last night.  Stay tuned for more pictures as this project will quickly come to completion!


Demo complete down to the studs

Demo complete down to the studs

Mortar and cement bed almost ready to receive tile

Mortar and cement bed almost ready to receive tile

Last minute on site tile decisions being made

Last minute on site tile decisions being made

Floor tiles are halfway complete! Nice flush transition to the wood flooring at the Master Bedroom.

Floor tiles are halfway complete! Nice flush transition to the wood flooring at the Master Bedroom.


Let the Demolition Begin!

Partial demo....or Contemporary Art Exhibition?  You decide.

Partial demo....or Contemporary Art Exhibition?  You decide.

The Master Bathroom renovation project which we refer to as "Blatau Residence" is officially under construction as demolition began last week!  Since this is a condo project and the previous work that had been completed was done quite poorly, the homeowner wanted to first do total demolition before ordering all the materials and fixtures, so it will be a week or so before the new construction begins.  But the good news is the existing conditions are all good and ready for our design to be implemented!

It's always so interesting discovering what is in your floors and walls.  It can really unearth how lucky you really are, as was the case in this project where there was no waterproofing membrane at the shower. Just concrete on top of the plywood.  Our contractor asked the client if the downstairs neighbor ever complained about leaks, they didn't. The plywood sub-floor also doesn't have signs of dry rot.  So lucky.

Hire a good contractor!  Don't do work yourself if you don't know what you are doing!!  You can have major problems down the road that you could be held responsible for!!!

Take a good long look at these "Before" photos, because before too long, you won't be able to recognize what we've done to the space.





Complete Demolition

Complete Demolition




The Top 5 reasons you should hire an Architect/Designer for your home remodel, renovation, or addition

I don't need a designer, I'll just Do It Myself!

Understandably, this is a common thought among home owners... you know your own tastes, you've conquered smaller projects on your own, and you may even be handy around the house.  While there are certainly success stories, as Designers, we are often called upon late in the game to try to save the day for a DIY project gone awry.

Architects/Designers are trained not only to innovate, but also to execute a design. Unfortunately, many issues can arise that result in a conceptual design looking distressingly different than the final product. In addition to creating the most beautiful looking design, Architects/Designers are experienced in sourcing materials, balancing proportions, and optimizing the efficient use of space. In this post, we'll provide you with information of which homeowners are often unaware, based on our experience with residential design projects.

The top 5 reasons you should hire an Architect/Designer for your home remodel, renovation, or addition:

1. Your Sanity

You will spend 100x more hours than any Architect/Designer searching through tile showrooms, not even know where to begin when it comes to flooring, and your head will really start to spin when it comes to lighting selection.  That's because this is what we do!  You may know Home Depot and one or two really high end showrooms, but we know everything in between.

Architects/Designers do this for their job every day, and even the specifics we aren't as familiar with, we will find out in half the time it would take you and will only show you the best and most closely aligned to what you are looking for.  We not only have the eye, we get all the trade magazines/emails, go to all of the events, and always know about new products because the companies come to us. Oftentimes the best products (and the best deals!) are only available for purchase by an Architect/Designer.  This is our job and there is a reason that people pay for it, because they don’t want to lose their minds.

2. The Most Aesthetically Pleasing AND Efficient Environment

The best Architects/Designers go to school for 5-7 years learning primarily one thing: how to make beautifully functional environments.  We take everything into consideration: proportion, rhythm, material, details, distances between objects, thicknesses, electricity, plumbing....The list goes on and on. These are things you might not ever think about or even know are present, and that is the best reason of all the hire an Architect/Designer - because the essence of your project is in the details.  If you've ever seen a bad tile or drywall job, you know what I mean.  Your Architect/Designer is not going to let that happen.

Aside from just the details, when you have a space that needs a new flow or function, we look at hundreds of options and configurations before showing you the top 2-3 results.  In other words, we spend the time so you don’t have to.  Because of our many years in school and access to amazing 3d graphic programs, we can do this stuff pretty quickly!

3. Great Solutions to Issues That May Arise During Demolition

No matter the age of your existing abode, chances are you don’t really know what’s going on in those walls, unless you built it yourself, in which case, you probably aren’t reading this because you are an architect/designer/contractor.

The thing is, we’ve seen the best and the worst case scenarios.  

Best case: when demo happens, the guts of your house have no issues and the contractor can follow your Architect/Designer’s plans without delay or a hundred change orders.  

Worst case (and this is a true story that we have dealt with): one entire side of your house has been completely eaten up with dry-rot due to slowly leaking windows over the past 20 years.  It needs new structural columns and framing.  It was one earthquake away from falling down.  You need new windows, because they are compromised everywhere in the house and you don’t want this issue to continue to happen.  You will need brand new stucco job on exterior because of all of this new work.  All of these unforeseen issues snowball and now you are looking at a total interior and exterior renovation that began as just a few rooms of your home interior renovation.  

Luckily you have your Architect/Designer on hand to help you through this process. They can design great, on the fly solutions specifically for your home and its conditions, adapting their existing drawings, pulling new permits as needed, and staying in close contact with the contractor along the way to ensure you don’t get hit with more of a bill than is necessary.  After all, if you've been smart in your renovation/addition project, you've had your Architect/Designer on hand since your initial idea phase and they know the project better than anyone at this point!

4. Someone to Coordinate the Team Working on Your Project

The Architect/Designer is the person in charge on a project.  For small projects, usually we are all that you will need.  But when projects get larger in size, we hire the engineers, lighting designers, and interior designer (of course, we are also interior designers, so in this case, you wouldn’t necessarily need a separate one!)  

If you are doing anything structural - you need a structural engineer to do calculations and give advice - we know structural engineers and hire them for you.  Ditto for electrical engineers, lighting designers, and interior designers - as well as any other type of speciality that may come up (again, depending on the scale of the project), such as a kitchen designer, LEED specialist, etc.  Your Architect/Designer will be able to recommend, hire, and coordinate the best of all the other specialities needed to bring your project from concept to completion.

5. Someone at the Construction Site with Your Best Interests in Mind

Referred to by Architects/Designers as Construction Administration - CA for short - this is by far the most important aspect you want to ensure you keep your Architect/Designer on hand for.  Many people wrongfully think that since the Architect/Designer already did construction drawings and specified all the finishes and fixtures for your space, that they don’t need there services anymore.  The problem with this thinking is that contractors never know 100% how to build everything per the plans and other documentation, there will always be questions - called RFI's (requests for information), no matter how detailed your Architect/Designer has been.  It can be some small detail that was overlooked, a drawing in question because they contractor does not understand something specifically, etc...  Either way, during construction is the time where you will rely on your Architect/Designer to answer all of these RFI's for your contractor as well as be on site occasionally to oversee that all the materials and details are coming together as planned and that your project will be as beautifully built as it was intended to be per the design.

Some people may shortchange themselves because CA services are billed hourly, but don’t be one of those people!  The nominal amount of hourly dollars that will go to your Architect/Designer will actually save you money by not having to make the contractor fix things he messed up that you didn’t notice until it was too late - your Architect/Designer will notice right away before the cost to redo things becomes an issue.  

Don't worry that your Architect/Designer is just spending time on site to make money, they aren't!  They have an equal investment to ensure the project is built correctly and beautifully, because they want photos for their portfolio and a happy client to give them future referrals.  To keep cost concerns at bay, you can ensure that your contractor sets benchmarks with your Architect/Designer as to when they should come to the site to review the construction progress and specific details.  Oftentimes it will be once a week or a few times a month, depending on the length and scope of the project, with phone calls and emails with the contractor in between.  Ultimately, having your Architect/Designer around will keep everything running smooth during the construction phase and ensure a beautifully constructed finished product.

We hope this post has been helpful in your beginning thoughts of your upcoming home renovation/remodel/addition.  If you want any further advice, feel free to give Bone Carroll Studio a call at 424.273.5053 or email us.