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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

House "Not So" Beautiful???

Ever since Stephen Drucker departed House Beautiful to take up the helm at Town and Country (which, incidentally, we hear he is already leaving), something about the magazine just hasn't been the same. Have you noticed this as well? We really feel like we are failing to connect with the interiors they feature. Not that every edition has to be chock full of Meg Braff and Miles Redd (though we certainly wouldn't mind), but a lot of the homes that have been featured lately have left us scratching our heads "why is this house in a magazine?"

My subscription to HB expired a month or two ago and I keep forgetting to renew- so the other day I shelled out $4.99 at the newsstand, excited about the so-called "Makeover Issue." I read the whole thing from cover to cover in about 10 minutes, and was so disappointed that I came thisclose to trying to return the darn thing! Also, when a magazine touts itself as the "makeover issue", doesn't that entail an actual photo or two of the "before"? Rather than just a few generic bullet point adjectives?

I'd say this was probably the highlight of the entire magazine- this zippy yellow console in a blue bedroom decorated by Gideon Mendelson.

The rest of the house- more blue and yellow. This is pretty, but just doesn't blow my hair back.

Then there was the one day makeover by Pat Healing and Dan Barsanti. At least we got to see a "before" picture- the only "before" whole magazine.

This room is pretty, but that tie dye blue rug- I wonder how long that lasted after the designers left! IMHO the prints and color palate are all over the place. But, better than I could do in 8 hours, I'm sure!

Neeeeeext we had Cheryl Tague's house in Aspen. A nice house to look out, but truly, I got ZERO inspiration from this.

The story itself was pretty entertaining though. Her quotes recalling "oking a Euro wire transfer to buy German flooring from an English rep to be shipped to Aspen" and a sales clerk asking her "what's the name of your chalet?" so they could monogram it on her French linens were a bit much. They reminded me so much of the David Sedaris story "Our Perfect Summer" than you can read here in the New Yorker (The story also appears in Dress Yourself in Corduroy and Denim so it might be familiar if you're a Sedaris fan). "My home, well, one of my homes..."

And of course, then there was the cover story, this Alexandra Angle-decorated house in Venice. MORE blue and yellow! This is a lovely vignette but reminds me of a Waverly catalog or something.

And the bedroom. Again, nothing against it, but to me this is more Cottage Living or Coastal Living than House Beautiful.

And of course, don't even get us started again on Bethenny's funeral-themed baby shower. Fit for a goth baby, I guess.

So, the usual caveats. We're not saying we hate House Beautiful or that somehow we are more talented than the designers in the magazine this month. But, other people have told us they feel the same lately about the magazine- that it seems to have lost the more clearly defined aesthetic it had before. There were months when my jaw would hit the floor over most every house featured in one magazine, and this month I couldn't find a single thing that inspired me.

Here's hoping that House Beautiful finds its way in 2011!


Anonymous said...

Totally agree- I haven't connected with HB recently either.

Pagoda Press said...

I just isn't the same. Great Post!

Belclaire House said...

Well said! I thought it was just me. I do love that yellow console against the blue and white.

Julie said...

I am so glad someone else feels the same way I do. I thought the last several months have been lackluster and uninspiring. I hope they can turn it around.

christine {bijouandboheme} said...

Agree! I did like that first room though.

Anonymous said...

Agree! Felt the cover was so out of place (as a House Beautiful cover and also as a winter cover!) Bring back Drucker, since he seems to be free now.

Kelly said...

Agree completely.... it's very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

I loved the yellow console, and the makeover room, but my husband thought the tie-dye rug was "revolting". The rest of it was utterly forgettable!

Christine Carroll said...

Couldn't agree more. Also, happy to see I wasn't the only one who didn't "get" the tie dye rug or the hideous baby shower table setting. Just a lot of hum drum and no WOW :(

Carpe Diem said...


Anonymous said...

I loved the tie dye rug, and most other elements in the makeover room, including the lamp and artwork. However, I agree that the rest of the issue left much to be desired.

Danielle said...

Agree for the most part, but have to say I liked the first image and thought the before and after was fabulous! Maybe it is the old grunge look in me, but I like a bit of mis matched tie dyed elements in a room! But as usual your post is hilarious...the funeral themed baby shower LOL!!!!! I rarely put LOL, but when I do I mean it! Hope you ladies are stayin' warm!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree.I finally subscribed and now I hate it. I'll have to see what the next issue holds.

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