Welcome to The Kitchn 3.0!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dear Readers,

This is a super exciting day for all of us here at the office and beyond, where a bunch of us work from home. We’re all sitting behind our computers madly typing away on the blog, IM, Facebook and Twitter as the traffic ramps up, and we deal with tech issues, fan mail and questions that come with the territory of such a big change on a Monday morning.

We’ve been working on this for at least two years, and I want to explain a little bit of the thinking behind what you see here.

The biggest, funnest change came when I realized that we needed to look at fashion websites, not food sites, in order to properly LOVE our photographs and own up to the fact that what we do is VISUAL and photo-driven. By stripping away all the visual clutter on the front page, increasing the white space and moving the ads to the right side, we’re now able to really push the glamour and visual deliciousness of food and cooking.

We’re going to keep going. We’re working on improving all of our photo and editing skills and want to eventually make the images even bigger. Sometimes the best ideas come from unlikely places.

Now it’s simple. We’re all about FOOD and DESIGN.

The biggest change concerns the combining of our four design sites under the Apartment Therapy banner. While no one will miss Ohdeedoh (my daughter Ursula’s first words), Unplggd and Re-Nest more than me, it has become clear over the past few years that these sites have a tremendous amount of overlap in audience and content and that trying to grow five separate brands is really difficult. With most of our traffic coming in through the Apartment Therapy URL, it also seemed like such a waste not to be able to more easily show off all the great posts on the other three sites.

So we put them together to make two sites — one really big, home design super-site and one fabulous food site that’s quickly becoming really big too.

While our design site is growing new channels, so will The Kitchn, as the new design is going to allow us to think more broadly about how food and cooking impact our homes. We’ll be hiring and adding new channels to cover all these different aspects over the next year, so keep your eyes peeled. We want to be THE place you go when you are looking for inspiration, tips, news, kitchen style AND recipes that will help you make better food at home for your friends and family.

While the “main page” may be where you go first, also note that we’ve created channels to help you home in on the topics that interest you the most. Maybe you’re just here for kitchen design inspiration and don’t care as much about the cooking tips. Well then — follow our new Kitchens channel, which is all design, tours, and renovation ideas. Or perhaps you love parties and holidays and just want to find inspiration for gatherings of all sorts — the Gatherings channel will help you find what you need. But if you want to see it all, all the time, then read the front page (Main) — everything will go there as well.

Finally, what’s really been taking so long and going on behind the scenes is a whole new back end and platform on which to post and move all our content around. All of this work has been like plumbing – not glamorous and slow going – but it’s absolutely essential as we’re getting scarily close to 10 million monthly uniques between our two sites and needing badly to upgrade our Community and Marketplace features into the blogs.

There are many details, but those are the main reasons we made the changes you see here. We’ll be working hard to iron out all the wrinkles and then start the fun part – adding new features for you all to play with. For all of you new readers, as well as you diehards who have been with us since 2004, THANKS SO MUCH for being here today and continuing on this crazy journey into 2012.

I had no idea in 2004 that I would be doing this full time with a talented team of 18 full-time folks and getting to write and converse with all of you every day. It’s a dream come true.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)