Inevitably, I begin to doubt why I subscribed to a particular magazine. Why can’t magazines be consistently good? At times it feels as if the issue that grabbed me by the throat and made me write the check for a whole year’s worth bears no resemblance to the issues I am receiving month by month.
Trade magazines aside (of course!) because we know how well they cater to our
niche . . . it’s hard to decide which shelter magazines serve a person
properly in the interiors profession. So, I picked up the November issues of
a number of shelters out there for a little bit of compare/contrast.
InStyle Home, November/December 2004 issue:
First four ads: Nautica, IPod, Jeld Wen Windows & Doors, Drexel Heritage.
If you can get past the blatant celebrity worshiping (“Michael Vartan bought
this chair!” “Terri Hatcher’s flokati rug!”), you will
find a tight issue loaded with useful step-by-step style advice on a variety
of interiors topics.
One section, “Runway to Room” is a perfect bridge between what the
monthly InStyle magazine is known for and what it is trying to accomplish with
its offshoot. Four trends in the making are shown in runway attire and then how
they translate into interiors. Another section (which has proved successful in
InStyle), is “Shop Smart,” which focuses on one type of product and
then spends pages educating about its various nuances. This quarter the focus
was on rugs—price, purpose, durability, look, feel. Extremely comprehensive.
Other pieces hit the bull’s-eye, including an article on design secrets;
adding visual interest to a small space; tips on choosing paint and paint colors;
designers’ secret Web sites; and an interesting article on Raydoor panels,
semitransparent doors and sliding partitions recalling Japanese shoji screens.
All in all, I highly recommend picking this magazine, especially for those with
clients in the midrange of price budgets. It was a surprise and delight to turn
Country Home, November 2004 issue:
First four ads: Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne Home,
Every magazine has its gimmick—and this magazine relies on a lot of cowboy
hats and boots to push its “country” aspect. But, there’s a
great deal of good in this magazine’s issue. Consistency is one.
A nice touch was “Palette of the Month” (this issue touted icy blues
with greens mixed with shiny golds and silvers), and then backed it up with examples
from Osborne & Little, Duralee, Modern Masters paint and Sonoma Tile. The
consistency I refer to is in the rest of the magazine, which then used these
colors throughout to hammer the point in. A nice bit of subtle work.
Other articles included a market report from the latest international Home Furnishings
Market touching on tables, houndstooth and shirting stripes; an article on contrasting
old and new furnishings to energize a country home, a personal style article
with plenty of lovely photography and advice, and a department called “Here
and Now,” which continued the theme of palette of the month by showing
how to accessorize a home with sparkle.
This is an accessible magazine expressing original, creative thoughts—truly
realistic in its presentation and application. Country Home has me on the fence,
however; I’m indecisive as to whether I’d pick it up on a monthly
Veranda, November/December 2004 issue:
First four ads: Mikimoto pearls, Henredon, A Diamond is Forever.com, Hearts on
No other issue reviewed touted luxury quite as blatantly as the first few pages
of Veranda. From its glossy, solid cover to its velvety inside pages to its high-end
advertisers, anticipation was high to view how those with a palpable amount of
This is the magazine you need to subscribe to if you have monied clients. Sumptuous
ads touting fabrics, rugs, passementerie, furniture, art, color and style ring
from every page. It isn’t so much that helpful advice prevails here but
that it is an immersion into a culture, a way of life that one must be aware
of when asked to specify the best products.
And this isn’t to say that those with mid-range income clients shouldn’t
subscribe to this magazine. As anyone knows, there is a way to take these concepts
and innovations and adapt them to your purpose.
If only for just the sheer, simple joy of looking at beautiful things, I would
most definitely subscribe to Veranda.
Architectural Digest, November 2004 issue:
First four ads: Henredon times three (yes, three advertising spreads in a row),
I know so many people who subscribe to Arch Digest . . . just because. It’s
prestige. It’s beautiful. It displays celebrity homes with none of the
kapow factor InStyle brings so sharply into focus, but with reverence. Beautiful
photography. Achingly lovely homes, screaming wealth. And what prestige for designers
to be featured in this magazine—unlike any other, perhaps.
The department “Discoveries by Designers” is always intriguing. Beautiful
fabrics are highlighted, interesting furniture debuts shown and terrific little
hole-in-the-wall shops are identified. I always like this section.
And despite that I subscribe to this magazine, it always leaves me a little cold.
Typography is rigid with justified columns and stingy leading between sentences;
the features are primarily unrealistic and pretentious, despite the magazine’s
best efforts. For Pete’s sake, I couldn’t even make it through an
(older issue) article on Dennis Quaid’s home in the western United States—and
I love Dennis Quaid!
Why I continue to subscribe to this magazine has to be on par with why I still
continue to subscribe to Vogue—habit. Note to Kathleen: must break habit.
Town & Country, November 2004 issue:
First four ads: Estee Lauder, Nordstrom, Mikimoto, Kwiat
Like Veranda, Town & Country is a magazine for those with financial wherewithal.
But as a magazine for inspiring interior designers, I’d say no. This is
a social registry.
Pages of wedding photos, party photos and glitzy wardrobes. An elegant publication,
it touches on travel, fashion, beauty, art and design. At times there is a nugget
of inspiration for those who are looking for ideas on decorating the next big
interior. In many ways, however, it is an invitation into the lives of the rich
and richer—a way to look at your next worldly client and understand his
or her lifestyle with much more clarity.
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis,
MN. She has more than nine years' experience covering trends, window
interior fashions, and is a former editor-in-chief of Window Fashions magazine.
Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at kstoehr@chemistry