05 January 2010

We’re Back!!!!

 

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After a few weeks off, we are finally back!!!!  Yeah!!!  It seems like an eternity since I last got to chat with my two new besties – Megan and Linda.  In December, we thought we’d take a break along with everyone else and one of the last things we did was interview Stephen Drucker, Editor in Chief of House Beautiful.    Much discussion later – we decided to wait until after New Years to release the interview so that anyone interested would get to listen without all the holiday excitement.    We are thrilled to start the new decade with this interview of the hottest rising star in decor magazines.

 

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The Editor-In-Chief of  House Beautiful:   Stephen Drucker.

His official biography: 

“Stephen Drucker has been an editor and writer in the style world since 1978.  He has held positions of editor-in-chief/executive vice president at Martha Stewart Living, editor of The New York Times Home Section, and features director of  House & Garden. He wrote exclusively for Architectural Digest for five years. He was features editor at Vogue magazine and created the Styles section of The New York Times Sunday Edition. At the end of 2005 he took over as editor in chief of House Beautiful. His total redesign of the 113-year old publication has launched  an exciting new era for America’s oldest decorating magazine.”

 

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Interior Designer Jill Brinson’s extraordinary Atlanta house.

As expected, Mr. Drucker was a delight – personable and charming!   A man of impeccable taste, he shared with us what he likes to see on the pages of the magazine and how those stories are chosen.   He took a lot of the mystery out of the process and was even encouraging of anyone who feels they have a project to submit – to just do it!   His office is always looking for fresh talent.  Unlike other magazines that have a stable of designers they go to time after time, Drucker looks at the house, not the designer.   Case in point:  This cover story from Atlanta, probably my favorite HB story in recent memory.

 

 

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Brinson’s charming dining room with the chicken wire shelves and dueling lanterns.

 

What I love about House Beautiful are the big, ravishing photographs where you can actually see what is in the room without a magnifying glass!   And that is no accident, of course, you can thank Mr. Drucker for this.   If you love House Beautiful and wait anxiously for it each month as I do, you can thank Mr. Drucker for that too.   Under his tutelage, the magazine has become fabulous.  There are no long stories – instead short, concise interviews with the designer have taken their place, which, of course, frees up space for more photographs!    For this particular story pictured above, I think every room in the house was shown – and from different angles.  It didn’t leave you wanting for more, instead you felt you really had stepped in through the front door and left through the back one.   You have Mr. Drucker to thank for that.    I just hope he sticks around for awhile now that he has accomplished his goal of turning this magazine into something truly worthwhile – certainly worth much more than the subscription price. 

 

 

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Brinson’s kitchen with large windows and open shelving instead of overhead cabinets.

 

To listen to the interview, visit The Skirted Roundtable blog HERE.  And remember, you can also subscribe on I-Tunes if you prefer.   We have more guests lined up in the coming weeks and we saved some space for just the three of us.   As always, thank you for your support of the SRT.   We hope to continue to grow and improve in the coming new year.   Any suggestions you might have to help us with that goal, be sure to leave them in the comment section at the SRT blog.

47 comments:

  1. I did a little post about that house on my blog that's really about living in Austria just because I loved it so much. And, three days ago I got an e-mail from Jill herself! LIttle old me was loving that. Now off to listen to the SRT!

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  2. Hi Joni,

    Been checking for when you would have the next story for us. I can't wait to get speakers for my computer as from what you have written a pet hate of mine is looking in a magazine and loving a home featured and they have small pissy pictures of a watering can (for example) and the in the text they will say "the beautiful antique wing-backed(!!!) chair is very rare" but what's the point of telling me about that and not providing a picture.....or they will show a picture of a lounge room and chop in half the thing I really want to see aaaarrrrgggggghhhh. So three cheers for Mr. Drucker. I am racking my brains if I have seen the magazine in any of the newsagency's here. Anyway, better go as bookwork calls!!! Yay.
    Take care
    Janine
    XXOO
    Tasmania, Australia

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  3. Wonderful! I missed hearing him speak over the summer and really was disappointed about that- so I am very glad you all have interviewed him!! Will go and listen....

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  4. I can't wait to listen. As I was flipping through the latest issue a few days ago, I kept thinking how good the last few issues have been. I really love the direction they have taken the magazine.

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  5. Can't wait for that one Joni; It was probably one of my top 5 HB homes too! Check out the dirt on the it's complicated garden on my site.
    La Maison Fou
    Leslie

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  6. Another great SRT interview. Mr. Drucker understands design fans: "What would it be like to live there?"

    I have toured the gardens of the Brinson house and asked myself, "Why isn't this in the magazine?" Well, I guess it is. -TK

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  7. CDT,QUESTION????...Where can I buy the RCJ Designs Linen candles? There isn't a website for them! THANKS !

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  8. Hi,
    Once again I have used a great photo from your wonderful blog in my blog, Decor Arts Now. I linked to you. The post is dated today and it is on the use of zebra pattern. I would love it if you would take a peak and comment on whether you think the trend is over done. You can find my blog at www.decorartsnow.com. Best, Lynn Byrne

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  9. Hi,
    Once again I have used a great photo from your wonderful blog in my blog, Decor Arts Now. I linked to you. The post is dated today and it is on the use of zebra pattern. I would love it if you would take a peak and comment on whether you think the trend is over done. You can find my blog at www.decorartsnow.com. Best, Lynn Byrne

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  10. I'm convinced HB would have died a shelter mag death had Stephen Drucker not become Editor in Chief. I actually canceled my subscription to HB the year prior to his taking over. That is extreme for me considering my husband & I have about 25 magazine subscriptions we receive. I remember seeing the redesigned HB on the newsstand and being so excited about the potential. Drucker certainly has a fan following in us now, doesn't he?

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  11. I need to know where to find that wicker chair in her dining room - it's fabulous. Any thoughts Joni?

    Happy New year, and glad to be reading your posts again.

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  12. I guess I'm one of the silent minoirity that happens to like a lot of words--big surprise, I know--and for a really simple reason: pretty pictures are nice & all, but even in the best books & magazines, the writing can far outlast the images.

    Looking at the original editions of The House in Good Taste or The Decoration of Houses, I'm always struck by difference between the text & the pictures. After a hundred years, the ideas in these books are still as strong & practical & up-to-date as they ever were, but the same thing can't be said of the pictures. As modern as the words are, most of the rooms in the accompanying photos have come to seem very unremarkable--even "dated"--and I say that as someone who prefers traditional decorating & the historic styles. Anyway, words rule.

    That's why I was sorry to hear--well, OK, read--SD say a few years ago that the typical article in the new House Beautiful wouldn't try to 'commit an act of literature.' What's wrong with literature? That was the bad news as I saw it: a new policy of dumbed-down, anti-elitist writing standards, aimed at a busy, fast-paced audience with no time (or patience) for boring old "literature". And for a while, that's the way the new HB seemed: short questions, short answers & lotsa paint color names. It was turning into the People Magazine of the shelter industry.

    The good news is that after a few years of puff-piece interviews & that whole uproar over last summer's "This Room is Great Because..." issue, this last issue has what sound like real conversations with the designers, with responses that sometimes go on for a whole paragraph, not just a sentence. Not only that, but in every single piece, this time--and the articles themselves are long, which I like--there is at least one articulate quote with real thought or insight behind it: the interviews are no longer just a bunch of catchily-edited soundbites strung together so that the subject wouldn't come off as too egghead-ish. It's like a different magazine than it was when SD first took over.

    At any rate, with the bigger page size & with this more adult approach to writing, House Beautiful seems ready to step into the gap left when H&G vanished.

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  13. I love House Beautiful! It is now my favorite shelter publication. Mr. Drucker is a gem!

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  14. I am signing up for you on itunes today. With luck I can listen to you while I am running around Dallas.

    I see magnaverde's point about the writing in HB. I am torn on the subject because so often designers and homeowners have the same things to say, and it gets repetitive to read. On the other hand, sometimes there are anecdotes or insights that make you stop and really take stock. Not just of how you might paint your living room on the next go around, but on how you live in your home and whether your time there is being used to best advantage.

    I had a lot of time to read shelter magazines when I was in the hospital with my daughter. Since I had so much time on my hands, I read every article, rather than skimming as I often do. It's refreshing to read about new ways of approaching design dilemmas. I have kept a few pages for the articles this time around, rather than just the gorgeous photos.

    Happy New Year Joni!!

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  15. Amen to loving the new House Beautiful. I just recently subscribed myself and feel like I've been missing out. Now I need to find a source for a collection of back issues...

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  16. That kitchen makes me want to re-do mine. It never ends!!

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  17. I am looking forward to giving this a listen when I have more time later this evening. I am in awe of that man. I am also in awe of Jill Brinson's house. I know it's within a few miles of my house and I'm dying to find it! Those WINDOWS are so genius, and I love her Paris Flea Market aesthetic. That issue was a keeper for sure.

    Linda, didn't you just redo your kitchen? ;)

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  18. Cannot wait to hear this one. Where would we all be now without House Beautiful??!

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  19. "I was sorry to hear SD say a few years ago that the typical article in the new House Beautiful wouldn't try to 'commit an act of literature.' "

    Magnaverde, he's just getting a dig in at Elle Decor--and specifically Mitchell Owens, probably, since the other Elle Decor writers are a lot more straightforward.

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  20. Such a charming man. No wonder House Beautiful is a go to magazine. That Drucker's business philosophy is open and embracing of every geographic region makes HB all the more pertinent in the design world.

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  21. I love that kitchen. great post and glad you are BACK

    Yvonne

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  22. Joni,
    I'd like to ask you a design related question, but I can't find your email address on the blog. Help!

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  23. Oh, Joni, I listened to the SRT this am and it was just the best! Please ask SD to make a return visit! Listening to him it is no wonder he creates and directs a great magazine.

    Thank you for having him on and for continuing your efforts to have such incredible design personalities on your show.

    HNY!

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  24. Looking forward to hearing this. House Beautiful is one of the magazines that gets flipped through before I even put the rest of the mail down!

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  25. Hi Joni, really happy to read this post. I enjoy HB more today than ever.

    Happy New Year ~*~kelley

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  26. I am so glad you are back, and with such a wonderful first podcast in the new year!
    Can't wait to listen to this one, I am a admirer of SD and love House Beautiful!

    Happy New Year to you all!

    Victoria

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  27. Yes, Becky - it's a sickness, really!

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  28. I couldn't agree more! The magazine is so much better. House Beautiful has gone from drab to fab. A lot sassier and a lot more interesting! Can't wait to listen to the interview tomorrow morning when the kids are off to school and I get the house to myself. Happy new year to you wonderful Joni!

    Ox Mon

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  29. I am in love with that house. I had noticed that the magazine was so much better, now I know why. I can wait to go to the srr. Thanks

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  30. yay welcome back! And what a way to start the year off with a bang!

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  31. welcome back from your mini vacation from the blog!
    you accomplished so much in 2009...looking forward to what you have in store for 2010.
    xox alison

    www.froufroufashionista.blogspot.com

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  32. Joni, I loved the interview with Stephen Drucker! I just signed up for House Beautiful, 30 issues for$20! I still miss Southern Accents terribly! Thank you for entertaining us. I keep thinking I will start blogging, but can't seem to find the time, but I am addicted to your blog and a few others!
    Tina Ramer

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  33. Thanks so much for the great interview and good information!

    It's so nice to have a little behind the scenes info.

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  34. Oh goodie....off to listen now. Happy New Year Joni!!!!

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  35. really enjoyed this interview...Stephen Drucker is a genius.

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  36. I love that house and drooled when looking at the pictures in HB....great interview with Stephen Drucker on SRT!
    xx

    come to Atlanta for a visit Joni...got a room JUST for you!

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  37. I love House Beautiful. It's my favorite shelter magazine right now. Bring on more great shelter magazines like that. Thanks ladies for such great content!

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  38. One of the BEST SRT podcast yet!! And that house!!!!!!!!! AMAZING!

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  39. so glad you are back.. and stephen drucker is wonderful and so talented... thank you for this brilliant post. x pam

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  40. I'm so excited! I love the SRT-- I listen while I work in my studio. I have a hot date with my new website tonight, and this SRT will be playing all the while!
    PS-- I'm DYING over that last shot. Oh, good grief, I want that table so much...

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  41. I so enjoyed the SRT this time and I am right on with Mr. Drucker's preferred turn around time of one year on a story BUT I have to say I don't think it is so important if the family in a story is still living there and in tact when a blogger goes back to look at older mag. design articles. And I do think design is classic and what goes around, comes around. As was noted in the interview, chintz is coming back but with a more modern and edgey approach. So if someone decorated a home with a French flavor several years ago then those imported pieces will remain beautiful regardless of the year in which it was done. What do you think? nancy
    www.rivieraboardwalk.blogspot.com

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  42. Hi Joni, I just listened to the interview with Steven Drucker on the SRT. Amazing job! What a wonderful open minded man. I think he will have continued success because he can look at a room and see good design no matter what the style or location. That in my opinion will keep his magazine always fresh and inspiring.Loved it! Keep up the good work,Kathysue

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  43. Nice to see one of my favourites first up....it's been a while since I've had the decorating bug and have barely thought of 'home'. I'm not much of a fan type person but definitely have become a fan of Mr Drucker the past few years reading HB. If I don't read anything I will always read his short piece....just something about him...I think it's the casual inviting smile. Can't wait to hear the interview.

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  44. Can't wait to listen! I LOVE HB! Just started getting it this past year and it is a true standout. The interviews really get to the heart of what I love about looking at these rooms. I love the QA format that is fun, inviting, informative and NOT stuffy. I always feel invited into these homes, yet the design is not at all dumbed down for the masses-- it's just inclusive (for instance, in this last issue, there is an Ikea lamp because it's a great, simple lamp... not because they have to include anything cheap, but because it is a good design). I KNOW I can't afford these $100,000 rooms, but I enjoy looking at them, hearing about the process, and feeling included in the fun of it all. I don't feel shut out like with some of the other gorgeous magazines I have drooled over (but never bothered to read the articles because they are boring, not well sourced, and impersonal, as well as a little snooty). Also, I LOVE the pictures designers send in for the monthly question about their personal spaces. And the paint color feature. And the quotes at the end... And the... Okay, I just love everything about that magazine. And the last commenter is right. THere is something about SD's smile that makes you want to smile back. He is not self consciously sitting at the perch of style. He just loves great design and his enthusiasm for the subject is catching!! He's obviously having a great time. I can't wait to listen!

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  45. Hi Joni,

    This comment is related to your Dec 18th post about your daughter's room (gorgeous!)

    I copied this bit from your post:

    "The cords, which I still have to fix are from the TV, as are the cable boxes on her desk which will be hidden in the baskets. "

    If you have the time or the interest to write an idea and nuts and bolts post about hiding cords and electronic equipment, I would love it, as I have never figured out out it's done.

    Laura from Galena Park, who's about to freeze in NC, where it hasn't been above 35 in days!

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  46. I ADORE Stephen Drucker!! I think he has single-handedly been responsible for bringing "pretty" back into design, and for that I am grateful. Prior to him taking over HB everywhere you looked (including HB) were white rooms with precious few accessories. And, while I love a beautiful white room, enough already! I am thrilled to see him show homes with beautifully painted walls and gorgeous antiques.
    I could so relate to his comment about imagining yourself living somewhere else. We have traveled often, and everywhere we go I think the same thought- whether it's the house in the middle of no where in Utah to a flat in Paris- what would life be like to live there?!
    I think his vision and being 'open' to everything creates one amazing magazine!
    Thank you Stephen!

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