Friday, February 18, 2011
Things I'm Digging: House Beautiful
This magazine, out of all of the home decor mags, has my number. How do I love thee, HB? Let me count the ways:
1) Your cover. It's always bright and draws me in.
2) Your fonts. I am borderline OCD about fonts. When a publication, or the Highway Department, changes its fonts, the change initially drives me to distraction, even if the change is a positive one. It just jars the eyes. So, yes, I notice fonts. And I appreciate good ones. HB has several.
3) The "Color" feature. Each month, it's a different topic - good colors for ceilings, good colors for north-facing rooms, good colors for kitchen cabinets. Various decorators offer their opinions, which accompany a swatch of the actual color. By and large, all of the colors suggested ARE "good colors." They are, in fact, GREAT colors. They make me want to buy a bigger house, with a bazillion rooms, so that I can paint each room a different fabulous color. Most of the selections are Benjamin Moore hues, with a Christopher Peacock, Farrow & Ball or Sherwin-Williams thrown in here and there. I approve, because my snobbery vis-a-vis fonts extends to paints, and I worship almost exclusively at the Benjamin Moore shrine (although I have acquired an appreciation for Farrow & Ball, I have not had the occasion to actually use their paints -
Occasionally, HB will feature one of the colors that I have in my own home, and a rock-star decorator will make a gushing comment about it, and for a moment I, too, feel like a rock-star.
4) The "Instant Room" feature. A rock-star decorator will sketch out a room, cross-reference the drawing to swatches of fabric, wall- and floor coverings, listing pattern names and manufacturers and explaining why each element was put where it was. Great guidance for those who are a little unsure about how to mix patterns and colors.
5) The "One-Day Makeover" feature. Yes, "One-Day Makeover" is different from "Instant Room." A homeowner turns over a room in their home to a rock-star designer at 8:30 AM, and when they come home from work the room has been totally transformed. It's like your favorite HGTV show, but in print format, with a montage of time-elapse photos showing how the room is tranformed over a nine-hour time period. The designers do add some of their own elements - curtains that they stitch together at a moment's notice (HOW DO THEY DO THAT?), pillows to match, a rug or a table from their own showroom - but much of the finished product is the result of rearranging and fluffing: moving items from other parts of the house into the makover room. That's something that any novice can do if properly inspired - and the "One-Day Makeover" does inspire me to shuffle things, for sure.
6) The rooms. They are bright and cheerful, and the design is accessible. You can imagine yourself actually watching TV or eating or sleeping in these rooms. Contrast my other favorite house porn magazine, Elle Decor, which tends to the overly contemporary, and my mother's go-to Traditional Home, which tends to the formal and stuffy. Not every homeowner in HB appears to be a Brazilian polo player married to an artist/supermodel (Elle Decor, if the horseshoe fits . . . ) or a Greenwich, CT investment banker (Traditional Home, I'm looking in your general direction). I see things in HB that I actually want to duplicate in my house. And, occasionally, I do duplicate them.
But not as much as I'd like - on account of the aforementioned limited number of rooms in our current abode. Wanted: one ginormous house, priced to be a wash with this one. Must be self-cleaning, and must be able to cloak itself (like those bad-guy ships on Star Trek) when the appraisal district comes knocking, so that it appears to be a modest house, thus resulting in no higher tax burden than what we have currently. Or, you know, I could win the lottery, and then I wouldn't have to fret the taxes - and could hire a whole phalanx of housecleaners. I guess for that to become a reality I would actually have to buy lottery tickets - something I haven't done since the newness of Texas Lotto wore off in the mid-nineties.
But a girl can dream, can't she? And, while she dreams, she can live vicariously through the people of House Beautiful.