This Designer Gained 87,000 Followers in 3 Months—from Sharing Cringeworthy Photos

Hadley Keller
Photo credit: House Beautiful

From House Beautiful

Insanely over-the-top kitchens, stair runners made out of fur, ridiculous phrases painted on walls, phallic windows: These are the kinds of head-scratching interior design decisions that can be found on one Instagram account that's become a favorite of the design community. On @pleasehatethesethings, designer Dina Holland chronicles the bad, the dated, and the ugly of interior design, skewering bizarre trends and unexplainable ornamentation with delightfully searing captions. And people love it. Since starting the account just a year ago, Holland has amassed 170,000 followers, and receives hundreds of messages a day suggesting new images to feature. "It really speaks to the number of bad, dated properties on the market," she says. We caught up with the designer to hear more about how the account came to be-plus, the trend Holland hates the most, the photo that most riled up her followers, and what happens when she hears from the owners of her subject matter.

So how exactly did @pleasehatethesethings come about?

It was a little over a year ago, holiday time 2017, you know how people do end of year trend stories? I did a story about things I hope went away in 2018. After I posted that story, I got all these messages about other things people hoped went away. They were sending photos. I often find stories can be one-sided, so I’ll screenshot a photo or message and post that in the story to keep the conversation going. And people kept sending things, so this kept going for like two days. Eventually I thought, okay, now my entire account has turned into ugly things. But it was really resonating with people, so on a whim-which is how I do most things-I decided to start this other account, and it just blew up. It went from like 3,000 followers to 90,000 in not even three months.


Was it crazy to see that one take off so much, even beyond your main account?

Oh, 100 percent! I remember when it hit 100,000, I was like, is this a joke? Because I’d had Instagram with my @honeyandfitz account for years, and I’m nowhere near that. But it just goes to show that everyone can get on board with hating ugly things.


Where do you find the images you feature now?

Everything I post comes to me in a direct message.


So you have a very active fan base!

Yes, people are very invested. Mostly people will send Zillow or rental listings. On any given day, I get 300 direct messages.


So you obviously have to narrow them down a bit. What is your process for picking a truly ugly, postable thing?

What’s emerged is there are definitely trends. Either regional, or, like, this is a '90s disaster. Rugs in ridiculous places are common, or excessive use of columns. I just go through so quickly that if something stands out to me when I see it, that’s what I post.


And how do you come up with your captions?

Sometimes, right away, I’ll think of one. Other times I’ll see the photo and be like, "I know that’s bad, but I can’t think of something right now," so I just screenshot it and go back to it later.

The thing is, you know someone loves these things. Someone had that idea-let’s take an old piano and turn it into a bar. That’s the one thing this account has really shown me. As an interior designer, you work so hard to make beautiful things, but what this shows is that it’s all subjective. Just because I think something is beautiful doesn't mean everyone does. That’s just what this account is. It never ceases to amaze me that when I post something. Without fail, one person will say, "I love that, it’s amazing."

So, you do get pushback?

Yes. Most of the time, what people say is "oh my God, I actually like this, what’s wrong with me?!" That's a perfect example-there’s something for everybody. Just because I don’t like it; obviously the people in that home thought it was a great idea!

Photo credit: .

To take that to the next level: Have you ever had someone say, "hey, that’s my work?"

Yeah, that’s my favorite.

Is it usually a "ha ha, that’s mine" or a "how dare you, that’s mine?"

How dare you. There was one development that was just so bad, and it was a brand-new development, going for millions. The developer said, "this is actively for sale, you can't use these images." Which is 100 percent true. People have asked me to do a calendar or a book, but I don’t own the images, so I can’t. If someone ever asks me to take down their images, I will. But with the number of posts, I’m surprised, I can count on one hand the number of times that has happened.


What are the posts you remember that got the biggest reactions?

Way back at the beginning, I posted these windows that just looked like a penis. And it was a Saturday morning and everyone went nuts for it.


Is there any one or few or theme that you personally hate the most?

Yes, rugs in bathrooms! It’s just so gross. I don’t understand. It’s so unhygienic.


Agreed. That’s what a bath mat is for.

Yeah. But I also just love the weird stuff.


You said that there are some things you can identify as belonging to a certain region. Can you give some examples?

Yeah, Texas loves taxidermy. Oh my gosh. I have a few posts that are entire taxidermy rooms. It’s always Texas. Then there’s a lot of crazy tile that happens in Florida.


What has been the most surprising thing about this experience?

That I can still keep going. That every day there is no fail, maybe 100 messages. The fact that I’m still doing it and that it still resonates with so many people. I never thought it would have this much growth. But at the end of the day, people are tired, they’re zoning out, they just want something funny to look at.




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