In the summer of 2008, Sarah Klassen, a Vancouver beauty with hair to match, launched her blog Haute Design. Armed with a degree in graphic design and an interest in marketing, Klassen took her ten-plus years ¬of interior decorating and retail experience and used it to create a virtual portal of inspiration for design and fashionphiles alike. Blending the world of art and photography with fashion and culture, Haute Design appeals to a wide audience. Heavily influenced by her French heritage (hey, it’s in the name), her website design is very much a reflection of her personal sense of style: Slightly bold, elegant, a little androgynous, ¬¬¬spacious, open to color, shape, texture, pattern, with particular attention to fine details. It’s the perfect platform to collect a selection of trends and objects ranging from rustic to feminine, showcasing a modern kitchen or a traditional conservatory.

Why do you blog?

To document and share things that inspire me; to share talent, special moments, beautiful people, places and things. To hopefully inspire others.

What or who inspires you?

Inspiration comes from so many sources. Children who are fearless and will sing spontaneously while painting, women who wake up at 5:00 a.m. to make sandwiches for their young children, men with a keen eye for fine antiques, the side of a grand, overpowering mountain in the deepest shade of charcoal, people who perform an act of kindness, expecting nothing in return and when no one is watching, music that expands and opens the mind to dreaming and ideas, etc. and God, who has made it all possible.

What do you like the write the most about?

I definitely enjoy sharing beautiful homes in France as well as lookbooks from European brands, and other lovely things. I also like to post about carefully considered designs and those who have developed a wonderful style of their own.

Why did you decided to launch the site?

I was encouraged to start a blog by my boyfriend. I did, reluctantly, but what transpired was a whole new world—one of possibility; one where I could share many, many different things, and have open dialog and interaction with others, worldwide. I began the blog to share what has inspired me and inspire others, but really, it has turned into far more…

Do you see yourself as a brand or business or just doing what you do?

I do not believe my blog is really a brand. It can be for some people, and to a certain extent, visitors will form a picture of you based on what and how you blog—a picture of who you are, your taste, possibly even your lifestyle. So in a sense, it is. For others, a blog is an extension of a brand that they have created—it is used to reinforce their brand and identity.

What’s the reality of blogger life?

There are so many things to learn as a blogger, right from the very beginning—the very first post—and even now. In the beginning, the basics of blogging—inserting images, creating text, etc.—was all new. After some time, you begin to look into things in a more complex manner.

Do you call yourself a “blogger” or a writer or a web curator or …?

I consider myself a blogger when I blog and a designer when I design, and although I enjoy writing, I would not claim to be a writer. As a professional, I am a designer and businesswoman. I think over the years, so many definitions have been blurred; a person with no training at all may label himself or herself as an interior designer, just as an interior designer with a four-year degree would. There is a distinct difference in skill and knowledge between the two. However, that is not to say that over ten years, a person without formal schooling has not attained a great deal of valuable knowledge through mentors and work experience, and has much to offer. I think much can be learned through practice, observation and from others, however, it important to respect the training and profession of one another.

How do you feel about the “print vs. web” debate in the media about media recently? Is there room for both?

It’s difficult to say. Personally, I love print and will continue to purchase printed work. There is something so beautiful about tactile pieces, and I will always value the time, money and effort that goes into creating printed works. I have evidence—my library is constantly overflowing into several rooms of the home! I think there is room for both, really.

Has the business of blogs shifted since you started? Is it harder to get noticed?

Some have made blogging into a business, as where others blog purely for pleasure—I think the possibilities are endless and open to each person’s aim. There are certainly a lot of blogs, and all over the world, but by developing a signature look and style, your blog can be far easier to identify. My style has become much more defined, even from when I began.

How do you generate content? Is it sporadic or systematic?

I am constantly inspired so I do not find it difficult to create content. Some posts are self-explanatory, mostly image based, and require little text, as where others are far more passionately written, with many images, and take a great deal of time to prepare. I try to create a variety of both within the blog, and post anywhere from three to seven posts per week.

What’s the biggest thing missing from blogs right now?

I honestly think there is such a variety of purposes, types and styles of blogs. The blogging world is quite diverse, and I believe everyone has the right to blog about what they like, as long as it does not hurt anyone or become overly offensive to others. I do not like to judge other bloggers, as I believe each puts in an effort to create something, and that is wonderful.

Your ideal dinner date, past or present:

That would have to be my [boyfriend] David. We always have so much fun and end up talking the night through, about everything from food to style, careers and dreams, to politics and travel. The conversations we have are wonderful.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring blogger?

Be respectful.

THE SCRAPBOOK: Sarah’s favourite posts

Hotel: Chateau de Mazan

Pure Goodness: Oranges

Ladurée at Easter

ROLL CALL: Sarah’s favourite digital inspirations

Park & Cube:

{This is Glamorous}:

September Industry:

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