Red House Chronicles
Certain places just feel special. Shrines, stone circles, Redwood forests...Jessica of The Red House Chronicles has built her own special place aptly called, The Red House. Nestled near Poulsbo, Washington, her idyllic home and gardens are a place for book lovers and community builders to gather. When we chatted about improving her website, it turned out the reason she was seeking help now was because after several years of thinking small, she had a new goal and mission for her business.

Project Goals:
  • Build a website that conveyed the warmth, safety, and togetherness of the in-person events
  • Give Jessica control over her site to update it as she opens registration for new monthly events
  • Build places on the website to add value to the customers
  • Create compelling user flows that answer all customer questions

Target Audience:

Women interested in building a community and having discussions around 'difficult subjects'. They are individuals feel frustrated by society’s tendency to turn all topics into black vs white.

Key Challenge:

Encouraging women to invest in a fun night for themselves.

Research Study Details:

Because so few examples exist for a paid book-and-dinner club, I looked at other businesses for website examples. This included businesses who offer an experience (including food and beverage) that most people haven't had before, such as crafting workshops and community dinners.
persona time
Jessica and I worked through my ideal customer worksheets together, building a persona who represented her favorite attendees.
website design - low-fidelity prototype

Initial Concepts and Wireframe Requirements

  • Home screen should provide an overview of what the Red House has to offer in terms of types of events and what makes it so special
  • Compelling photos of event participants and the magnificent food spreads
  • A selection of testimonials to increase trust
  • Make it easier to people to sign up for multiple events at one time
  • Make the website feel a bit like a garden - light and airy with pops of color

After showing Jessica these wireframes and the wireframes for the rest of her site, I started to edit her existing Squarespace website.

brand guidelines

Jessica and I worked together to create a palette that reflected both her Red House and the beautiful garden surrounding it. We kept her original logotype and house illustration.

website design

You can find the website, and sign up for a retreat or book club meeting yourself, at


I'm a huge advocate of empowering my clients.

It became clear to me on one of our calls that the existing Squarespace site had been made by someone other than Jessica. This is fine but what wasn't fine was that Jessica had no idea how to use her website. I wanted to make sure that when we were finished building the site, she'd feel confident in updating and managing it.

To accomplish this I created:

  • Video and written tutorials for main tasks like creating a blog post, adding or updating a monthly event listing, and changing the forms in her checkout.
  • Written tutorials for smaller tasks like uploading photos and checking the phone version of the site.

Now that we had the website, it was time to tackle the marketing.

Using the persona from earlier, Jessica came up with an incentive for new mailing list subscribers. She teamed up with a local illustrator to create a 'bookstore crawl' map of the area, highlighting the independent bookshops she supports.

The next step in marketing Red House events was to get more people on the mailing list.

Without a mailing list on her site, she had no way to reach out to people who visited the website but didn't sign up for camp. I made sure the footer of her website contained a mailing list sign up form. When certain annual memberships aren't on sale, Jessica will add the sign up form to that page as well, encouraging those interested in the event to sign up so they won't miss the registration opening.