18 September 2010

Scooping the Magazines

 

The new October Veranda is out, beautiful– as it always is - full of drool-worthy houses that are totally out of my price range – just like I like it.  But on closer inspection,  the October Veranda looks familiar, very, very familiar.   Why?  Might it be because two of its feature stories have already been seen here on Cote de Texas.   What?   I’m kidding, right?    Nope.   What’s going on with Veranda today?  Why the recycling of old stories?

 

 

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“OY Suzani!!” story from Cote de Texas March, 2009 – seen in this month’s Veranda.

 

Veranda and the late Southern Accents were always the cream de le cream.    They were the two magazines that I would circle the Barnes and Noble parking lot  for - waiting on the Thursday delivery truck to bring the newest issues.   Over the years, so much has changed, but thankfully, much, like an old friendship, has stayed the same. 

 

image A favorite Southern Accents cover – maybe my favorite one ever.   This cover inspired a rash of lilac colorways that were added to fabric houses.

 

Of course Southern Accents is now gone, a victim of the bad economy and scarcity of ads; readership was never the issue.   For me, the death knell started when I first noticed the paper they were using.  Instead of the usual nice and thick variety, SA switched to thinner and lighter paper.  You know, the exact same kind of  lifeless paper that Southern Living uses.  Cheap.   The beginning of the end.   When it was announced they were closing their doors, I was sad for days – I say this with no exaggeration.   Southern Accents had been such a large part of my life, it was a design bible.   Each month I would rush to see if any favorite Houston designers had made it in the issue.  This was before the internet and design blogging, and the ability to follow designers portfolios was nearly impossible.   Magazines alone made it possible to see what designers were up to;  magazines gave you a glimpse into their current aesthetic.   It was a family affair.   Many issues my mother, or my aunt or my sister would call and we would discuss it, house by house.  If it was an rare “bad” issue, we would warn each other:  “got the new SA, don’t bother.   It’s TERRIBLE this month!”   Or, “go get your issue and turn to page 140.   I just love that!”   You see, these magazines mattered to a lot of us.    Back then, they didn’t publish each month and the wait for a new issue was torture.  At least SA came more often than Veranda, sometimes it seemed as if the new Veranda would never arrive.   But it did and still does, while SA is gone forever.

 

 

 

 image All In The Family:  This beautiful house was editor Lisa Newsom’s son’s.  Another classic cover and story. 

 

Over the years Veranda quietly changed.   Their southern-only editorial material went international.    The shift was subtle.   I hadn’t even realized that change was intentional – I always assumed  the non-southern houses were the second homes of rich and famous Dixie-ites.   And yes, Veranda’s paper quality suffered too, just like SA’s.  Pick up an old Veranda and feel the difference, it was almost like reading a design book, certainly not some rag you could pick up at the grocery store.   Which brings up another difference – Veranda was never found in a grocery store or a drug store.   It was special, a jewel that didn’t mingle with Track & Road or True Romance.   You had to seek it out to find it.  But that’s no longer true either since Hearst bought the magazine in 2002.    Veranda even went digital a few months ago and finally rolled out a viable web site.  Will wonders ever cease?

 

Ay.   Was there ever a prettier cover?  Simple perfection in a Belgian country mansion owned by that country’s top fashion designer.

 

Despite all the changes at Veranda, the magazine basically looked the same.   It never changed drastically, it just tweaked things here and there.    It may think it’s now an international magazine, but its roots are southern and always will be.   A few months ago founder and editor Lisa Newsom quietly stepped down, replaced by former domino alum Dara Caponigro.   Gulp.    domino and Veranda?     The blog gossip was brutal.  It wasn’t personal against the new editor who is universally respected, it’s just we didn’t want OUR Veranda to become the “how to get this look for less” magazine for Kappas and Pi Phis.    So far, so good.    I haven’t noticed Dara’s impact yet, but I’m sure it is coming and will probably be good.  She knows what she is doing.   Young and talented, maybe she is what the magazine needs – fresh blood and all.    I just hope she knows what to do with a Pam Pierce or a Carol Glasser house, the importance of them and others like them.   The verdict is out.

Which brings me back to this issue – why all the old features?    Much of this month’s Veranda is very old, recycled news for Cote de Texas readers and bloggers in general.      On the Skirted Roundtable, then House Beautiful editor Stephen Drucker told us (listen HERE) that  he liked to run features as soon as they were photographed.  He didn’t believe in holding onto stories longer than a few months, a year - tops.    It’s unfair to the designer, he said, because if you run work they completed four or five years ago, it doesn’t really reflect their current style.   Five years is an eternity in the design business.   

 

image A Houston legend:  Kay O’Toole’s former highrise apartment.

 

So, what happened this month at Veranda?   I KNOW I shouldn’t be writing this.  I should keep my mouth shut and be a good little blogger.   I don’t like to go negative here, and I rarely do,  but, I’ve gotten numerous emails from readers about this, questioning it.    Making editors unhappy isn’t in the best interest of bloggers. 

On the last Skirted Roundtable (Listen HERE), we discussed the importance of blogging to magazines, again.  Yet again!   I said and I do strongly feel this, that a few years ago the magazine editors seemed apprehensive of bloggers potential power and they courted us.    Today, they are no longer threatened and shouldn’t be.    Blogs and magazines work hand in hand.  Blogs need magazines, not the other way around and editors know this now.   We aren’t a threat, we never were.   We’re more like free advertisers, valuable advertisers for sure, but still free.    

Digital magazines like Rue and Lonny pose much more of a threat than bloggers like me or  “My Pretty House” do.    Still, as Margaret Russell told us on the Skirted Roundtable (OK, enough with the Skirted Roundtable already!!) popular bloggers might reach 50,000 readers a month.  Magazines reach over 200,000.    That statement alone put us in our place, fast.    Reflecting on Russell’s views, I’ve taken myself much less serious.   I’m not a magazine, I’m not a writer, nor am I a photographer.   I’m just a woman sitting in her sweat pants with holes in them pontificating from my backyard about what I like.     Trust me, there’s no one quaking in their boots about this.   

 

image October’s House Beautiful:   Is it an ad or an editorial statement?  Who paid for it and why?

 

Still, it was a shock when I read a two page ad/editorial in the new House Beautiful defending magazines against the internet by asking “Will the internet kill magazines?  Did instant coffee kill coffee?”   Two pages with no hint as to who wrote it, who paid for it and why.   According to the ad, readership is up, especially in the younger, most important demographic.    Magazines, the ad says, do what the internet doesn’t:   “neither obsessed with immediacy nor trapped by the daily news cycle, magazines promote deeper connections.  They create relationships.”   Yep.   I agree with that.   I live that.    But two pages to make a point?  Someone sounds awfully defensive.    And speaking of immediacy and daily news cycles, how old should a project be before a magazine deems it too old to run?   Why hold onto stories when you risk the chance of the pictures leaking out to the internet months and years before you finally go with it? 

 

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J. Randall Powers gorgeous townhouse project in this month’s Veranda.   This project has long been one of my favorite of Powers.  Photo from PaperCity who ran this story years ago.  Additionally, pictures of the townhouse showed up on real estate web sites when it was put up for sale. 

 

So, buy the new Veranda, I did.  As usual, the photography is gorgeous.   Their pictures cover both pages in many instances and there are some wonderful designers featured this month.    Although if you are short on cash, you might just want to read this story of mine “Oy Suzani” – from   March, 2009 (HERE.)   It’s the same spec house from Mary McDonald shown in this month’s Veranda.   Pictures of this house have shown up all over the internet this past year.   Or, to read about the Randy Powers house also featured this month, see my own article called “Chinoiserie Central at Piano Nobile”  HERE.  This gorgeous townhouse by Powers was actually first shown years ago in PaperCity, a Houston magazine.   I know Powers is thrilled to have his work seen in Veranda, no doubt, but I can’t help wondering if he would have rather had a more current example of his work shown.   Probably.      Then, there is the profile on Timothy Whealon, that wonderful young interior designer, which showcases a house that has already been featured all over the blogs.   The bloggers  took their pictures from Whealon’s own web site.      I’m sure Veranda would have preferred Whealon not post those pictures until their story was published, but how many years could they expect him to hold off?  One, two, three years?    Once a photograph turns up on the internet, it goes viral, it spreads from blog to web site to blog, over and over like a nasty cold, until no one can actually say where the original picture came from.   And yes, I know, copyright issues and the internet are much debated, heated topics best left for another time. 

Finally, there’s the Veranda story about Edith Head – yawn.  Please don’t tell me that Veranda is going to take up Architectural Digest’s mantel and  showcase Hollywood ad nauseam.   Now that Margaret Russell is heading up AD, maybe their Hollywood adulation will end.  Hopefully.  But really, Edith Head in Veranda?  Seriously? 

 

image October’s House Beautiful:   gorgeous new decor – eye candy to inspire, to lust for, to dream about.   Interiors like this by Daniel Sachs are why House Beautiful is at the top of their game.    

 

I know times are tough for the magazines.  And like I said, I probably should  just kept my mouth shut and hope that maybe soon we’ll be getting current stories from Veranda never seen before, of projects just completed.    I can’t recall ever seeing a house in House Beautiful that was first shown all over the blogs.   I could be wrong about that, but that magazine always looks fresh and current.    And it is always a a surprise, a visual feast.   This month’s cover story shook me to my core, leaving me to question, again, my own aesthetic.   The heavily ethnic, Indian and English inspired interiors by Daniel Sachs left me speechless.    Bland Belgian-who????  There are so few quality magazines left, so few design magazines of any kind left, and I want to be surprised, I want to be speechless, I want to be inspired.   I want to get my magazine and have my mouth fall open and just stare and gape and read and reread and scan in the pictures and talk about them here on the blog or on the Skirted (ok ok ok – I won’t say it again).  

 

Jill Brinson’s Atlanta house was the subject of much adoring blog buzz.

 

The last time that truly happened for me was House Beautiful’s cover story of Jill Brinson’s house HERE.   GAWD.    It inspired me, it awed me, it made me green with envy in a very good way.   It provoked discussion and blog buzz.    I want that from my magazines.   Every time, every issue.   Too much to ask for?   Probably.  Yes.  Too much.    I’ll settle for once a year. 

106 comments:

  1. You´re magazines here are right up my alley :)
    Veranda is me best friend....what a magazine.looooove it!!!! And I remember the first time I found Southern Accents in the shops here in Norway...I was so happy and the declared "Now this magazine was made for me!"
    I also love Florida Design,and of course I buy a lot more,- can´t seem to get enough!!!:)))
    I find that Magazines makes my life richer!!!!

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  2. Hmmmm. Joni, do an online mag...c'mon...it would be GREAT!

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  3. What an interesting topic, just talking to a non-blogger friend about magazines and wondering how many will be around next year because by the time they've come out I've already seen it or it's yesterday's news...good discussion here...maybe you should have your own talk show, think Veranda instead of the View, I'd watch

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  4. I got so disgusted by the lack of fresh appeal in many of my magazines that I let my subscriptions lag. I finally bit the bullet when my grands were selling subscriptions for school and bought 4 new ones. I am disappointed that so many of the mags have gone to cheap pulpy feeling paper..it doesn't do any justice to a fine article to have it printed on crappy (pardon the expression) paper.

    Veranda is one of my all time favorites and I was like you-I would haunt Barnes & Nobles when the new Southern Accents/Southern Living mags came out. I have been all around disappointed in the last few years.

    I am sick to death of Hollywood showcasings that belong right there- in Hollywood. Keep them in Hollywood-please.

    Okay-guess I have been witch-y enough for one night...but thank you for voicing what I have been thinking. Diana

    ps...somehow..I just can't picture you sitting around in hole-y (not holy) sweatpants;>)....yeah...me neither!

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  5. I know that feeling of "panic" when one of the little delights of your life changes or vanishes. I hope this doesn't happen to our beloved Veranda.

    I've been a shelter magazine adict ever since I noticed my mom's subscription to McCalls when I was a little girl.

    Living in California, I learned about Veranda a little late; probably about 13 years ago. I had been following Mary Emmerling for years and I bought her book, Quick Decorating. It included pictures of the house in Santa Fe that she shared with Carol Glasser...I drooled over those pictures like nothing I'd seen before. TGhe blend of new and old European and American designs was just what I was trying to achieve (on a much smaller budget of, course).

    One day I was on a plane and the woman sitting next to me was reading a gorgeous magazine with pictures of the same house only the magazine pictures were much better and more complete than the ones in the book. I bought a copy of Veranda as soon as I could and have bought it pretty often ever since. There is a certain feeling I expect from Veranda, a calm elegance yet such attention to detail that I can take out an issue years later (yes I keep all the ones I really love) and see something new in the photos. These might be details that I wasn't ready to see the first time; there is always so much to take in. I hope that Veranda only improves and shows us more of the very best design and doesn't become just another grocery store mag.

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  6. anon 1:21
    i know the book - i know the magazine issue. i loved that house - the blue and white dhurri (duh!) the armoire, the slipcovered furniture. they didn't own it for very long at all.

    a few years later, a magazine showed another house in santa fe and the armoire looked very familiar. the sources confirmed it was the same armoire from Mary and Carol's santa fe house. hehe.

    loved that moment of stalking so much.

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  7. Joni, this is such an interesting post! And what's up with that "ad"? It just seems really strange, and like you said, defensive.

    Fingers crossed that Veranda doesn't turn all Beta Phi on you (although I loooved Domino ;))

    I've actually been thinking of the integrity of Norwegian magazines, sinze they buy so many of their spreads from abroad. Something is definitely happening...

    Have a great weekend!!

    xx
    dagny

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  8. I think House Beautiful is still putting together a great magazine :)
    I do miss the old HG though, don't you?
    Architectural Digest...zzzzzzzzzz
    American publishers should take a page (pun sooorrt of intended) from some of the Australian magazines like Vogue Living & Entertaining- the quality of the paper and most importantly, the photography is very high.
    And then, although not a shelter magazine, there's British Vogue- now that's good paper!!

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  9. Great and thought provoking post Joni! I noticed that ad about "the magazine" too and wondered where that came from. I sure hope that print mags will always be around as there is nothing like it. As much as I enjoy reading online mags such as Lonny and Rue, nothing compares to dog-earing and curling up in bed with a paper mag.

    Here's to keeping them alive!

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  10. Here in my country (the Netherlands) I can't find good USA decorating magazines AT ALL! I SO love them, when I was in the USA 4 yrs ago I bought a stack and still re-read those lol. The Dutch mags are fine to be honest, but they don't compare to the USA kind, I LOVE USA magazines, am a junky needing a fix lol.

    Hugs from the Netherlands.
    http://just-me-a-dutch-girl.blogspot.com/

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  11. Joni,
    I agree with most of your post. However, rethink that comment about How to get the look for less mags. Most of us don't have unlimited means to decorate a house with silk tafetta curtains; authentic Swedish chairs ETC... I welcome any magazine that shows me how to achieve the look on a budget.Remember Metropolitan Homes' column doing exactly that. I certainly appreciate the upscale homes that the design mags show, but for most of us they are out of reach.

    Kare

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  12. Joni - the American magazines are too cheap, this is why they have been going out of business. I keep saying this. I have a subscriptions for 2 years of 24 issues of House Beautiful shipped to Australia for about $48.00 - this low price is absolute insanity and an insult to the people who put the magazine together each month.

    The September issue of Veranda was really good but I'm getting a bad feeling about why Veranda might be buying years old photos and articles to re-run in Veranda. Cost cutting?? I hope I'm wrong, I can't stand to lose another favourite magazine because you guys are simply selling them too cheaply.

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  13. Joni,

    One more comment!!! There is no reason Cote de Texas can't have 200,000 readers. You don't come from Texas for "Nothin"

    Kare

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  14. Magazines have been the great connector to my sister and many friends as we can turn to the page and immediately fill our lives with instant and lively conversation. A dear friend called me from the hospital after delivering her third and had to tell me about a certain light fixture....
    My sister and I share a love for homes, decor, art, food and inspiring an artful life.
    That is what I want from a magazine, I want to open it up and connect with a beautiful and somewhat decadent dream.
    pve

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  15. Joni, you write what most of us think-GOOD. Maybe V. is in that transitioning phase-shoring up the good stuff for a burst of wonderful! I hope so. I did read a short interview with DC's thoughts on how the mag will evolve- I think I linked it in a recent post about a press party V had in Charlotte. House Beautiful has adopted or co-opted much of Domino's arrows and scribblings on the photographs to direct readers on how to get the look. It looks overwrought and catalogish- I am considering letting my subscription lapse. The Sept issue had 5 Trends- they were on Paint- glossy, patina, whitewash, decorative painting_I forget the other one- what the hell? I thought this was Paint-pure and simple. How could what has been done FOR forever be Trend- I don't get it either. Time will tell, meanwhile you capture the enthusiasm for design the magazines lack-200,000? but what is the impact to that number -very little I'd say. pgt

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  16. I was very disappointed in all my mags this month. I hated that "granny room " from HB... I did not remember that I had seen the rooms before, but I did feel that most of it was already dated and uninspiring. I am like you , I want to be excited, rushing to read the text, not look at it once and give it to my mom...

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  17. This morning read felt like a Marathon as you took us back to your plagiarism post...I still remember the fear being of the word as one could get kicked out of college for doing so....have you seen the Restoration hardware catalog...please have some creativity, it seems they only shopped at Bobo and...well, our own little Interieurs. At the shows in Paris and new York I saw more industrial and other flagrant copies...i actually went to the "owner" of a company and asked where did they get their inspiration. They had obviously bought the original from us.
    As for Veranda, i was talking to them last week, we need to give Dara some time.These few issues to come are not hers yet and she is immensely talented.
    I am simply amazed how you can recall all these previous issues, you must have such a photographic memory.

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  18. To be honest, my magazine reading consists mainly of European and Australian magazines, with Veranda and HB thrown in. Occasional flip-throughs at Borders allows me to decide if anything else is worth buying.

    I definitely miss H&G!

    -Ann

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  19. That 'Sachs' room is the definition of 'a brand new lover design'! I said it over on Facebook and I'll say it again. Witnessing MR and ADMag will be 'like watching someone resurrect the dead'. Can't wait!

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  20. Great great post. I try not to write negative posts either but sometimes it just has to be said - if that's what you're thinking, then chances are, many others are also. One of the reason people love certain sites, like yours, is not only for their style and taste but also their integrity. It's important, it matters. And trust me, readers like me respect and appreciate it. So - off to read my new Veranda.

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  21. I think you should continue posting what you are thinking. This was an informative post and well worth reading.

    And, I think we need both kinds of magazines--how to get the look for less--AND the high end inspirational interiors. I'm with you--and hope Veranda doesn't become the former.

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  22. Since you brought up this month's Veranda, I have to get if off my chest and say I was disappointed with the October issue and wondered what would happen when Dara Caponigro took over. And the thing is, I was not surprised to be disappointed. Gone from the issue were the features by Carolyn Roehm, the expensive jewelry and those over-the-top flower arrangements by noted floral designers. Sure, I could never afford any of these things in Veranda and could not relate to Roehm's lifestyle, but it was a visual treat to see such gorgeous things you couldn't see in other magazines. This month they have a feature titled "Well Matched" telling readers where they can find similar items that are shown in the magazine, including paint, and another on Veranda's favorite bathroom vanities. Bathroom vanities and paint?? Come on! It seems to me that they are "dumbing down" Veranda, but I hope I'm wrong.
    BB

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  23. Carolyn Roehm does do a feature in the October issue-I read it. Just check again- She is in and I always enjoy her style too.

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  24. Mea Culpa, Little Augury. Thanks for pointing out the Roehm feature. The rest of my comment still stands.
    BB

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  25. Hi Joni! I read lots of other magazines, and that ad about magazines has been in a lot of them, not just design related ones. I was just reading TIME this morning and there is a 2 page spread. They used mag covers to illustrate there point.....here's what it says...."Some PEOPLE in this WIRED age question the FITNESS of the magazine business. They suspect it's in tough SHAPE, even failing HEALTH. A genre no longer in VOGUE. Well you might be surprised to DISCOVER that readers 18-34 actually read MORE issues than those 35 and older and that our overall readership is growing. In fact, nearly 300 million now spend their MONEY on magazine subscriptions." The real covers of the mags are in caps. Hope this helps!
    Leigh

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  26. If I worked for Veranda, I'd read every word here. Where else can they get such honest, unsolicited, educated yet humble feedback (you certainly weren't prideful about your blog's impact, despite the fact that it's one of the best ones out there...and the sweatpants imagery...very humble!)? They couldn't pay to get this kind of insight (and people spend big bucks on consultants trying to get this kind of real feedback). Hopefully one of their wise and forward looking staff members is tuning in!

    Another thought-provoking and well presented blog article by Joni Webb!

    Happy Sunday,
    Linsey

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  27. I have to agree with just about everything you said here, and I'm glad you said it - someone had to and you are respected enough that maybe the mag's will listen to you!

    I am hoping that Dara needed a free month to get her "new" Veranda up and running, which is why they went the easy route this month. Let's hope for one of those stop-your-heart issues next month.

    I haven't understood the appeal of AD for years, so I am really optimistic about the changes there. And you are so right about House Beautiful. It just keeps getting better and better.

    But, oh, how I miss House and Garden with Dominique Browning!! Didn't you love it?

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  28. Actually, if I were big time at Veranda, I'd do more than tune in. I'd hire you!

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  29. I agree with your comments about AD and Hollywood...boring, boring, boring! They need to listen to you!
    Julie in Fort Worth

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  30. Maybe it comes down to the scrutiny publications are under now and the fact that more interested parties can connect.

    Joni, you are the great connector! I don't care if you are in your distressed and comfortable sweats. How many magazines today have someone so diligent to drive around their neighborhoods day and night looking in windows and following up the research?

    The good and the bad?...instant information on the internet. I think that champion bloggers like yourself have given the editors a run for their money and they now have to keep up with you and all the other industrious designers out there.

    We don't get paid and we don't have to wait to put our ideas, inspirations, and desires out there. We see it, we love it,we blog it.

    It's a new world.

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  31. As a former shelter editor (HG and others) Im a bit confused as to why you feel so very put out by Veranda running stories that first appeared in local publications. This is not unusual and in-fact many interiors appear repeatedly in numerous big shelter mags over the years ... like the Bill Blass apartment. Its good to see a great room through the eyes of different photographers and editors. You get to see whole other sides of a room and the look can be completely new in a different light.

    Have you thought about how hard it is to be "new" and "first" in the shelter world today? The competition now includes slick local luxury shelter mags, masses of coffee table books coming out twice a year sporting new interiors and decorators own websites sharing their work with the whole world.... all sometimes before the likes of Veranda gets a chance. Something has to fill the pages or there will be no Veranda and it's getting harder and harder to be so perfectly first.

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  32. As a former shelter editor (HG and others) Im a bit confused as to why you feel so very put out by Veranda running stories that first appeared in local publications. This is not unusual and in-fact many interiors appear repeatedly in numerous big shelter mags over the years ... like the Bill Blass apartment. Its good to see a great room through the eyes of different photographers and editors. You get to see whole other sides of a room and the look can be completely new in a different light.

    Have you thought about how hard it is to be "new" and "first" in the shelter world today? The competition now includes slick local luxury shelter mags, masses of coffee table books coming out twice a year sporting new interiors and decorators own websites sharing their work with the whole world.... all sometimes before the likes of Veranda gets a chance. Something has to fill the pages or there will be no Veranda and it's getting harder and harder to be so perfectly first.

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  33. Hi Joni,
    I have been so disappointed in design/ home magazines that I have let every subscription go for many of the reasons that you mention. In addition to the bad paper, it drives me nuts that there are more ugly ads than content and an insane amount of subscriptions cards falling out all over the place! I'm not a designer but rather a consumer and I exclusively get my home design "fix" from my favorite bloggers like you. No ads (except side bar), no subscription cards, and you save me from sifting through the blah and only post the fabulous. The best part, is your design opinion and personality as you feature something seals the deal for me. I honestly believe that more and more consumers are heading online to blogland for design ideas and inspiration. Thanks Joni for my regular fix!
    Cheers!
    Cyndy

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  34. Joni - you continue to have the keenest eye and longest memory of anyone in blogland! I'm always amazed at your ability to recall an image or photo spread from years back. One of those mags SHOULD hire you.

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  35. House and Garden: will the grief ever end? That was the magazine for which I camped out at my mailbox hoping against all odds that it would arrive early. I'm in complete agreement with this super post; also glad to see that traditional design with a certain edge is returning to current design aesthetics.

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  36. I adore Veranda for many reasons...they even place their adverts so they harmonize with the facing editorial page. One of the few elegant publications I would not miss, ever. Thanks for Randy's pic too, just lovely. xx's

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  37. Very interesting, food for thought. I think articles like this are what make for a much more substantial blog. I also read and enjoyed your pieces in Antique Shops and Designers.

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  38. Know the feeling of waiting for a magazine to arrive. As long ago as I can remember no matter where I was or how little time I had if a book store was nearby I would run in and quickly go through each one looking for something I couldn't live without. Still have many of those magazines I fell in love with. Have favorites and like you, Veranda is on top- but always looked through them all sometimes finding treasures you didn't expect. Lately have found they are not as exciting as they used to be. - I want to be wowed again!!! it doesn't happen as often as it used to. (Your blog is a wow for me - keep up the good work) The magazine editors need to take lessons from you!! You mentioned Pam Pierce - She's one I always look for she is always a wow. - can't wait to see more from her. Have many designers I love but won't go on and on. Or give us a new designer that wows us. New wows and quality photos - that's what we need in magazines!

    Great post as usual - Love you!!

    Janice
    Pemaquid

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  39. To hell with Lonny. When will someone do a digital H&G? If mags are simply imitating each other, why not imitate the best?

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  40. I miss the photography of Peter Vitale in the "new" Veranda.
    I will keep buying and subscribing to magazines even if they suck now and then.
    Anything to spare us from the herd of online girl mags as our only inspiration.
    xo xo

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  41. Hi Joni,
    That ad was there because everyone's turning to blogs like you to see this stuff because times are tough and YOU are DELIGHTFUL. That's one thing the magazines can't touch and they know it. You don't giggle when you read Veranda. And in times like these, everyone needs a good giggle.

    I have to be honest, I've ditched lots of my magazine subscriptions because it's all here on the internet. I've hung on to my House Beautiful because I'm still rubbing the pages. You know that sigh and rubbing of a beautiful page. I don't dare dog-ear... I take a razor blade and slice those pages right out for my bulletin board. You can't do that with a blog. But what you can do is narrow down what you will spend your money on. I use to subscribe, embarrassingly, to most of them, now only two interior magazines.

    The fashion magazines are taking a hit too. I subscribed to ALL of them and called it a business expense, but I've discontinued several of those too. This year's September Issue of Vogue was so disappointing that I think it's next off my list. I saw everything in it months ago during the fall fashion weeks around the world from the blogs... I use to carry my September issue around in my purse for two months after it came hugging it with my Marie Claire.

    I am a serious magazine NUT, but blogs are instant, I like instant. What the magazines are going to have to do is exactly what you're making them do... their JOB! Get to work y'all! You now have competition not only in other magazines, but in your readers! The Designers have the talent, go find the new talent!

    As always, I adore you and savor your blog like the best of any magazine selection. xov

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  42. It's one thing to go back a couple of years and feature timeless design. It's quite another to feature a real estate staging gone bad. The Mary McDonald house which CDT featured earlier is drop dead ugly. Why would Veranda even consider choosing this house when they have archives of stunning properties and design work that would have had more universal appeal.

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  43. Anon 9:19. I understand local pubs duplicating mags. No problem. It's just this issue of veranda had two feature stories which had been on my blog and a third had been on others. Seemed weird and a little disappointing. I would have much rather seen something new that powers has done. Last year hb ran a huge spread of a house he had just completed - many pages and pictures - and no one had seen any of it before. It was fresh, inspiring, and original. This veranda was unoriginal. IMHO of course.

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  44. Joni I agree with almost everything you have said here except the Sachs' Room, too much blinding little prints lost in the translation, could have been stunning!

    The world of blogging and especially researchers like yourself have an enormous power. If the ultra shelter mags with their budgets can't come up with something new and exciting for an issue they should hang it up!

    Myself I have been in countless homes in Kansas City that would make fabulous feature stories for any of these, Veranda, HB or Ad!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  45. PS The Shelter Magazines are also missing out by not using work by some of the lesser known fresh interior designers! Talk about hidden treasures!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  46. Great post Joni, You have the ability to write post that make me read every single word. No skimming on your blog. You are a writer and you are a writer that I personally love to read your writings. Bravo on every issue you wrote about. Maybe it is we have all seen too much because of magazines and blogs as that saying goes, "There is nothing new under the sun" I hope there is because I personally would love some inspiration!!!! Have a wonderful Sunday, KATHYSUE

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  47. It's an ad, part of a campaign ("the power of print") by the Magazine Publishers of America, and they are on the defensive : ). If I recall correctly, the Canadian magazine publishers have been running a similar campaign, too, for the past few years.

    And they're on the defensive because there's so much more available -- information, eye candy, thoughtful conversation -- faster and cheaper. The internet has taught us to want faster, Wal-Mart et al. have taught us to want cheaper (and that desire is probably behind Veranda's new "how to get the look cheaper" feature). And yet as one commenter said, for what you get and the cost of production, most magazine subscriptions are a deal. Hard to compete based on that...

    Rebecca

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  48. PLEASE DON'T DO IT??? REALLY????
    PLEASE DON'T GO THERE AGAIN??? I love you and your posts and here I sit knowing I am going in to do a stress test tomorrow to see if I can handle having a lobe of my right lung cut out because I have cancer. When I read posts that say don't go back in time with the mags, it just makes stress and feel sad. This is the last time I promise I am going to say this but good home design is timeless. I enjoy looking at my 2 yr. old mags as much as the new ones that come out now. I don't care when they originated. Haven't you shown pictures of homes that have been decorated and sold and sold again and re-decorated and sold a third time and been re-decorated for a third time?
    xoxo,
    nancy

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  49. Hi Hedda!!!!!
    Hey I think you nailed some really good points...... I think people still want magazines but I think the magazines have been businesss as usual for so long they need to start thinking outside their own box. People are not hesitating to shell out three figures for a Beta Plus book, and now there is so much interest in the European publications like, Rue, Jeanne'd'Arc Living and some of the Scandinavian ones. People are buying Cote Sud and a lot of them can't even read it! I agree with what you said and would like to add also that maybe this transition didn't give the new Editor a chance rto make her mark yet? Hope this was the case, by the way you picked some of my favorite covers.......Thanks for stirring the pot Joni in such a deliciously subtle way!! HEHE Maryanne xo

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  50. Glad to know I wasn’t losing my mind and I had seen those articles before Veranda. Anonymous above, the former shelter editor, said that it’s hard to be fresh, new, first but I disagree. I know personally Veranda has articles submitted by professional photographers and designers that don’t get printed, ok, I know of three articles that never made it but were amazing. That Suzani home while beautiful was published by many magazines so why wait a year or more to do their take on it? It’s been done move on. I loved that coffee ad and thought it was provoking and wondered who put it out? Time to do your magic Joni and find out who and why! Thank you for an amazing article and I think you should keep putting your opinion out there it never seems to be far from what’s actually going on.

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  51. Great post , Joni! Your insight and eloquence never cease to amaze me. Everything you said was just right on. The entire time I'm reading I just want to shout, me too, me too because I so agree with every word. I sure hope that someone at Veranda is listening. Please, please don't turn the magazine into another runway to room, and how to get the look for less platform!

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  52. Well written and right on! When you get that call from Veranda (and you will) let them know that the internet and magazines can peacefully co-exist and mean spirited, political campaign type ads are not going to change anyone's mind. I, too, saw that ad and wondered who or what was sponsoring it. I figured nasty old ASID was somehow involved..It is tough to "scoop" anyone on design these days and why even try? There are enough readers to go around. Thanks for stepping up to the plate and speaking your mind.

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  53. I applaud your awareness that design bloggers, even 'well known' and well read design bloggers, are not in the same league as the magazines - far, far from it. That is not taking anything away from talented design bloggers - but there are so many blogs out there these days, and gaining and keeping a readership is no easy task. Also, many of the blogs are just repeating and rehashing the same old thing, time after time. Your blog is one of the big exceptions to this rule. You have an original take on decor, and are genuinely entertaining and helping your readers.

    But - I think that the design blog world is a very small niche. Many, many people who read the magazines have no clue, or no time, or no interest in weeding through the thicket of design blogs. So by saying that a magazine is publishing something that has already been out there on the blogs, is somewhat irrelevant - or maybe it is like the tail wagging the dog. Magazines should not base their stories on whether it has been published on a blog before. They should focus their stories on amazing decor, and giving the magazine readers an inside perspective on the thought process behind the decor and the talent that created it.

    It is perplexing, though, about using 'old' material. I have heard that magazines have literally hundreds of projects on the shelf because there are far fewer magazines out there, and there is such a big backlog of projects that are publishable. Maybe the Veranda team used some older projects that were already photographed and written up to ease in the transition period.

    Joni, loved reading this post this morning - your blog is really in a league of its own, and I learn something new with every post.

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  54. Riviera Boardwalk, agree, agree, agree! Yes we have seen multiples of the "Sally Wheat" types homes in West University showcased ad nauseam. Sometimes I wonder if CDT is working for the "real estate underground". Good design is timeless which is why we spend so much of our time reading and digesting books on great historical homes from around the world. Best of luck to you in your stress test tomorrow. Blogs aren't worth getting upset over.

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  55. Some very inspiring, thought provoking comments from the blogosphere. Many of you hit the nail right on the head with the varied concepts, judgments and opinions that were expressed. Anything that I might add would be redundant statements at best. Personally, I ended my subscriptions a couple of years ago to all shelter magazines and only purchased publications of Veranda, Southern Accent (until it died), Florida Design and occasionally House Beautiful that I deemed drawing and inspiring to me. Why spend money on something that does not speak to you in any way or inspire you? Lately, I’ve relied mostly on Veranda, interior design books and designer website portfolios to infuse me with vibrant, fresh ideas. Let’s hope Veranda remains in the interior design ballgame. I’ve noticed that it isn’t as thick as it once was (advertising). With fewer shelter magazines in competition with each other and so many wonderful talented interior designers across the US, there certainly should not be a lack of stories to cover (unless it is strictly a cost factor).

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  56. I LOVE Veranda! And I too agree there has yet to be a more beautiful cover than those gorgeous patina green/blue wood walls!

    One of the things I love so much about Veranda is that they never have the story lines all over the front. I love the clean look letting the design do all the talking.

    But I too am disappointed to see "re-runs". I don't wait anxiously all month and make a special trip nine miles into town to buy a repeat of what I've already seen. I have to wonder why.

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  57. RIVERIERA bOARDWALK-bEST OF LUCK TOMORROW- i WILL PRAY.

    iNTERESTING DISCUSSION....i LOVE BLOGS AS THEY ARE IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION, BUT i LOVE mAGAZINES TOO, AND KEEP FAVORITES FOR DECADES.

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  58. "There are so few quality magazines left, so few design magazines of any kind left, and I want to be surprised, I want to be speechless, I want to be inspired."

    Agreed. So why not an American version of "World of Interiors?" No one does designer shock and awe like Min Hogg.

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  59. Blame it on the economy--magazines are a dying breed, like letters received in snail mail. Cherish your old issues. I found all sorts of decor magazines on Craigslist for free, and am cherishing issues from 1997-2006. Goes to show that good taste never goes out of style...like your posts, Joni. And thank you for your 'unskirted blog.'

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  60. From my perch across the Pacific, it looks to me like Veranda is in a holding pattern, just waiting for the inevitable to happen. It's a cut-throat commercial world they exist in & the publishing conglomerates in who's stable they sit are ruthless. New Editors arrive amid much ra-ra & hoopla, but inevitably exit with a whimper. Maybe they just aren't given the mandate & freedom by the bean counters in order to do what they need to do to win the advertisers back. It's the bottom line that matters to their media owners & absolutely nothing else. Joni, your observations as always are considered & thoughtful. Won't it be interesting to revisit this in another's years time.
    Millie ^_^

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  61. I must admit, I've been a little disappointed in the shelter magazines lately. September's Elle Decor was a big disapointment for me and I hate the cover of October's House Beautiful. The September issue of Veranda was beautiful, but I couldn't understand why they published pictures of Melanie Turner's house that had been on her website for quite some time.

    Oh well, at least Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Veranda make an effort to show beautiful, well-designed homes regardless of who owns them. Unlike AD, which only seems to be interested in showcasing the possessions of celebrities and billionaires. I hope Margaret Russell decides to do away with spreads on yacht interiors, jet interiors and castle interiors and concentrates on presenting good design regardless of the net worth (and/or notoriety) of the homeowner.

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  62. Speaking of Veranda - I was turned off by the images on pages 88 -89 range with the big black CENTIPEDE photo in the beautiful living room. The tail of it also shows up reflected in the mirror over the fireplace. It felt creepy to me. No doubt it is taken by a well respected photographer but I so don't want to see it in Veranda. I've always thought of Veranda as a place of escape. My family thinks I'm nuts but I tore out the pages. They were like - just don't look at it but it bothered me knowing it was in there. Anyway, enough of my neurotic anti-"bug" rant...

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  63. A great post, as always, Joni. I've been thinking about this for a while. As a designer with a blog, I share my projects on my blog all of the time. Does this mean that once I post them that they should not be published in a magazine?
    Should I keep my projects off the blog until they are published?
    I agree with Holly (Things That Inspire). Most blogs (mine included!) don't have the reach of the national magazines.
    As for the long lead times that most magazines have before they publish a project, I couldn't agree with you more!
    xo
    Brooke

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  64. I am so glad you wrote this post. Just last week I was showing my husband the cover of September's Veranda and the feature of Melanie Turner's Atlanta home.I was so annoyed that Veranda had used old photos. When I picked up the magazine I loved the cover; it, also, looked familiar, very, very familiar. I realized after I checked out Melanie Turner's cover feature, that these EXACT pictures were already in my inspiration file (same bananas and tulips in the kitchen, same tulips in the dinning room). I had copied the pictures from the AMAZING blog Things That Inspire, on August 13, 2009 in the post "New on the market: a Buckhead home with celebrity connections".

    I agree with Anon 9:19, to a point. I actually LOVE when the same home is featured over a period of time. For example, I will buy any magazine that features Jenna Lyons' home. It has been published several times in US magazines and foreign magazines. Everytime, it is a treat to see how Lyons' home is styled for each feature. It has also been neat to see her son's room evolve from baby to toddler, as his needs have changed. I also LOVE when Cote De Texas features the evolution of a house over the years (Joni-thanks for those features, they are fascinating).

    Veranda is NOT styling NEW shoots and sending NEW photographers. Veranda is using the EXACT photos that have already made the rounds. In fact, from Holly's post, it seems as though Veranda is featuring the Malanie Turner House from the MLS photos. Seriously, how can that be considered an editorial feature? I find it to be a HUGE rip-off. I was very excited to see that a former Domino editor would be in charge of Veranda, now I am disappointed.

    I will not be buying Veranda, if they continue to recycle pictures. Do the work or fold the magazine. I'm glad I wasn't the only person to notice this new direction Veranda has taken. Hopefully they will stop recycling and start doing orginal work.

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  65. Lisa Newsome started Veranda tweny plus years ago in her garage. She nurtured and loved this magazine and took a small southern publication to world wide success. She did this without the backing of some powerful publishing company. Several years ago Hearst bought her out, not because the magazine was faltering but because it was a huge success.

    As we all know this economy has affected every industry, especially the magazine world. Ads were down and this causes problems in every area.

    Instead of standing behind Lisa Newsom who is Veranda
    magazine Hearst chose to bring in someone to change things. The magazines format,nor the wonderful editor were not the problems, the times were the problems.
    There is an old saying you don't fix it if it is not broken, unfortunately Hearst has never heard this.

    Lisa has always been good to young unknown designers., she published designers because of their talent and not their name. She was always accessible to designers and always called to thank each and every one after each publication expressing "there would be no magazine without designers and homeowners".

    The new editor does need to be given her chance, but instead of distancing herself from The Grand Dam of the magazine world she should treat Lisa Newsom with the respect she deserves and act as sponge and learn everything she can about publishing a successful magazine.

    Lisa was not the problem, this economy was the problem.

    Lisa Newsom started Southern Accents as well as Veranda and made both a success. She did this with her grace and integrity never wavering. She should be a role model to all the editors of magazines.

    Let's just hope Lisa will start a new magazine and show the publishing world what a smart and powerful woman she still is.

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  66. Why would the new editor of Veranda change the format of such a wonderful magazine? It seems she is mostly using New York and California designers and where is
    Peter Vitale who has shot all over the world, the White
    House and major celebrities. Peter is an icon in the photography world. He started his career with AD and is such a professional. It seems if Lisa Newsom used a photographer or designer the new editor wants to change just for the sake of change. These are the people who made Veranda the magazine you keep in your library forever and not an airport throw away that Domino was.

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  67. Hi Joni,
    I know you say that Bloggers need Magazines, not the other way around. But, there are soooo many folks out there who are not bloggers and are enjoying and being inspired so much by what they see and read on blogs, that they have discontinued taking magazines. So while some Bloggers may still feel they need the magazines...not everyone who read magazines was or is a blogger...and those folks may not feel a need for magazines at all. I flip through them sometimes in the supermarket, hoping to see something that makes the price tag worth it. But, I rarely buy them because I can go home, go online and visit houzz, blogs and other such sites and see all the beautiful rooms I like. They wouldn't have spent time and space (and money?) on a two page ad if they didn't feel blogs were having an impact on their business. I don't trust the stats they quoted...you can bend/report statistics to say almost anything you want them to say. Just some thoughts...
    Susan

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  68. wow, i like the ideas of your home decor soo much, they are very refreshing and i dont think they would cost much if you have a thing for creativity yourself, all the furnishings, no matter ho vintage or contemporary are great, i love the designs and the way they are presented for a beautiful home

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  69. just too good furniture, i love your post and all the beautiful things that you have posted, i would love to buy them all :)

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  70. Loved this month's House Beautiful...all that color...wow! Bye bye Belgian!!
    joni...you need to do an online magazine. You're perfect for it!

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  71. I am not sure how much I can say in this comment, except that I know that there are a lot of shoots in the pipeline for Veranda that have never been used. I also know that they are trying not to feature so many Texas designers, or Southerners, as a lot of the shoots were done here and in the South in Lisa Newsom's day. A lot of money gets spent on these shoots, so I can hardly blame them for wanting to leverage that. Maybe the issue is that they shot too many interiors? I don't know.

    Dara has not had a chance to show where she wants to take Veranda, so I hope that we will take a deep breath and see what happens.

    As for old images, I have very mixed feelings as a designer and blogger. Little old me has a master bath shoot that was done a year ago, beautifully photographed by Tria Giovan that I am not supposed to show on my blog or website. But for how long? By the time that they publish it, IF they publish it, it may very well feel tired. And yet I, too, want to be surprised and delighted when I open Veranda or any of the other shelter magazines. Maybe the trick is to style and shoot the magazine photos in such a way that they are very distinctive from other shots that have been available online or in local publications. But fantastic stylists are not cheap, and I am not sure how a shelter magazine keeps track of photos that are already publicly available. As for new designers, I think that this is sort of a difficult thing. With shooting costs being what they are, I can understand magazines wanting to go with "safe" designers. As a new designer and blogger myself, I love to see other "new" talent out there. It is a breath of fresh air. But maybe the reader demographic demands the same designers again and again. Who knows?

    The last thing that I will say is this - if we are commenting on this post, then I think we count as design afficionados. I am pretty sure that the vast majority of the subscribers are not. I bet that many of these are financial decisions rather than editorial ones and that the average reader does not notice the older photos, even if we do.

    Joni, you are a star for bringing this up.

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  72. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I think when a magazine starts featuring old articles and photos they must be on the verge of bankruptcy and about to fold. My most recent Veranda immediately went in the give away pile - tired and boring. It is time to renew my subscription and I am not. I never liked Domino and I don’t have good expectations about the changes to come for Veranda. I think it will be like Traditional Home - just not the same. Or House Beautiful. I can remember it from the seventies. It used to be elegant, too, and featured beautiful homes. I can still remember a spread featuring Sandy Gallin’s home. It will be in my memory forever. I was collecting shelter magazines even then and my husband was tired of all the magazines every time he opened the closet, so I finally threw them out, including those House Beautiful editions that I loved. I should have thrown him out then - instead of later - and kept the magazines. I’ve regretted it ever since.

    I agree with Notting Hill about that Centipede! Horrifying to have that spread across a living room wall. lol

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  73. I'm very interested in that ad. I agree with the sense of mystery about its sponsor. However, I agree completely with the role of the magazine--its role in community. It IS the opposite of immediacy and I think we NEED that.

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  74. Maybe the numbers now are showing that shelter magazines should not feel threatened by the blogs, but I wonder whether that will still be the case in 3 to 5 years?

    The design blogs are so fresh and varied that I have a hard time getting excited about the relatively stale content in a magazine. After the passing of House&Garden, Southern Accents, the increasing state of rigor mortis at AD, and too much bleeping Tuscan at Veranda, I have given up my habit. Save for the occasional purchase of House Beautiful or Elle Decor at the airport gift shop, I just don't bother unless it's a killer issue.
    Would I have thought that possible five years ago? No.

    The declining paper quality has also definitely detracted from the whole sensory/luxury experience. Why not go ahead and print it on toilet paper -- that'll increase market share. :)

    H.A.

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  75. A perfectly timed post. I love Veranda more than any other magazine, it's the one that I look at over and over again. The interiors, the colors, the details! All on that heavenly heavier paper {I'm so with you on that one}

    I was slightly dissappointed with this month's issue, precisely for the same reason you are. I look to Veranda for NEW inspiration, not a rerun of old shoots.

    I sincerely hope this is not a cost cutting way for them to continue, it's way cheaper in labor and everything else to basically "buy" a story that has been used before.

    As for the ad, they've been springing up in many magazines. I would assume it's sponsored by the large publishers. But, as long as they deliver quality and NEW stories we love, there is absolutely no worry.

    There is nothing as delicious as thumbing through our pages of Veranda and other magazines, flipping online pages doesn't even compare!

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  76. October's House Beautiful Magazine .... sorry but I do not care for the picture. It reminds me of a Grandma's house. Actually it repulsed me. Typically, in Grandma's time money and resources were short; consequently, all the varied/different textiles and colors. You used what you had in that day and age. Just review the photo ... all the mixtures of fabric and color (red, blue, turquoise, and orange pillows on a green couch ... then a red/white/black throw (as if the couch needed anymore color combinations). I actually got dizzy looking at the photograph. To me this is old and dated interior design. (Of course ... just in my humble opinion.)

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  77. Excellent and thought-provoking post, Joni!

    I have a few thoughts . . .

    Love my shelter mags, HB being my favorite (even if I don't care for a room or two, I always feel my time was well-spent reading the issue.) Also have always loved Traditional Home.

    I plan on subscribing to AD, just to have a front-row seat to what will probably be, at the very least, an interesting year . . . to see Margaret breathe new life into a tired publication will be an education.

    Not sure how to say this next bit . . . I feel that we need to support at least a few shelter mags, as they provide bloggers so much content. (I realize that some bloggers are known for their original content.) I can't help but come back to the idea that bloggers have little overhead (costs), while designers, architects, publishers, etc., are footing the bill - - and a hefty bill, at that - - for the images we all enjoy so much and are becoming more and more used to seeing on-line, for free.

    I suppose I'm just re-iterating what Margaret Russell said on the SRT. Bloggers need magazines . . . but if we don't subscribe or buy, how many will survive?

    And last, I for one would pay to read CDT - - the best design blog, in my opinion!

    Jennifer

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  78. I completely agree with you about the fate of magazines. I work in the design field and was so sad when SA closed. There is pandering to the wrong demographic I think. I hope Veranda doesn't follow suit. Thank you for addressing the issue so beautifully.

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  79. Thank you Joni for the update. I knew that restoration hardware bought the chandeliers from Bobo, but I had no idea that Bobo was actually designing for them.....I'm still bugging as they reproduce copies of antiques that I have such a hard time finding and importing...but that's my petpeeve and nothing will stop the industry for copying and reproducing originals...Design within Reach got into big trouble for it...

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  80. Question for all you complaining about the closing of your favorite magazines including Joni. Why didn't you support your magazine by buying a subscription? The advertisers take out ads based on circulation. (Subscribers) Not the fair weather reader who buys off the rack. I've supported at least one of my favorites (Archit. Digest) for over 30 years. Don't complain if you've never supported that mag by taking out a long term subscription.

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  81. Something to ponder - what if the internet becomes a regulated medium and design bloggers now have to pay for recycled photos from the shelter magazines? This could easily become a question of value for the blogger. It certainly may shut down a few on the fringes.

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  82. Hi Joni! I've been so busy, so I've spent some time just scrolling back through your beautiful posts I've missed. Thank you for all of the work you put into them. Coming here is better than a magazine most of the time, and I don't have to pay for it! laurie

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  83. I know I mentioned I just started reading your blog and love your posts. I love the detail and care you put into your blog. I was in Europe and saved your posts so I could read them when I had time. I let your posts upload while I do other things and when I get a free moment, I read them top to bottom. I completely agree with your post. While Veranda is not my personal style (it use to be), since moving to LA, I've become more cleaned lined and ecclectic but less fussy and Southern and Traditional like the East (I'm from CT). However, after going to design school, I do appreciate all forms of design and get all the major magazines because I think you can learn something from everyone. I'm disappointed that todays home magazines continue to disappear and I loved Domino and House and Garden. I see your point - magazines should be fresh, new and always giving us something that we haven't seen before. Yes, it's challenging with bloggers but I always believe that magazines should take bloggers seriously and one should take all forms of competition seriously - small or large. We can learn something from everyone.
    I think you are incrediable and I love reading your posts. They are always detailed and thorough...I've learned so much from reading your blog! Thank you for being you! Good, bad or indifferent, I think it's important.

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  84. Very lovely homes indeed! Have a beautiful day, Kellie xx

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  85. What an article! Congrats! Looks wonderful, I'll have to go out and buy it so I can read it asap! Beautiful!!

    Deirdre G

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  86. Just wanted to correct one of your points. Elle Decor has a circulation of about 600,000, not 200,000, and a readership of over a million. Most national shelter magazines have similar numbers. Even a local magazine like Kansas City Spaces has a readership of more than 100,000.

    And that Magazine Publishers of America ad is just that--a promotional ad. They've been running campaigns like that for years.

    I love reading blogs like yours because I'm a design junkie. Too many people try to make it a us vs. them thing, but I like to think that blogs enhance the magazine experience.

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  87. Dear COTE:
    From one Southern gal to another, LOVE LOVE LOVE the blog, I also adore Chelsea and use them all the time. Hope you check out our blog, I just become a follower and I hope you will too. I think you will find it interesting!

    http://www.decoratingwithsheets.com/

    XOXO LETA AUSTIN (yes, as in Texas) FOSTER

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  88. I doubt magazines will ever be replaced by the internet. There's something about having a tangible shiny page to turn, to look closely at, and to put on your wall. I know I look at magazines when I exercise a lot and I definitely wouldn't want a computer near my sweaty mess!
    xoxo
    Lila Ferraro

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  89. I don't view this as a negative post at all. In fact,I love this post bc it encourages the reader to think..There were many comments made on various sides of this issue and I loved reading every one of them as I am sure you did also. You remind us that design is more than looking and posting pretty pictures (new or recycled) ... great job keeping the convo flowing.

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  90. The advertisers take out ads based on circulation.

    Anon 9/20, 8:02:
    You're only part right. Advertisers take out ads based on the demographics of the readers: how much they make, what they do, where they live, what their educational background is, and most importantly, how much they spend and on what. The real lesson is, if you live in a modest neighborhood or have a poor-paying job, DON'T subscribe: you'll mess up the magazine's statistics.

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  91. Joni-- I agree, this is a great post. I do not claim to be a marketing expert, but I do believe that most marketers have to find and define a niche. No design mag can be all things to all people, and look at the wide diversity of design blogs! Veranda definitely has had a niche for years, but it looks to me like they are trying to morph to a different market, and that leaves most of us disciples disappointed. Design and fashion evolves and change does not always come easily. I fear for Veranda's future. I also believe losing Drucker was the beginning of decline for HB. They had such a lucious thing going. One last thought: I know the big names have marketability, but I am tired of seeing the same stuff from the same people over and over again...

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  92. I knew I'd seen the Mary McDonald house before, but forgot it was here. But, I knew I'd seen the Randy Powers house on here last year. I was so disappointed - even though the townhouse was gorgeous!

    And as much as I love HB - I didn't really care for the cover or that story, at all. But that's what makes it great, I think. The fact that they showcase so many different looks and styles!

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  93. I adore the Oct cover of HB....my kind of style for sure.
    I can't imagine you in holey sweats Joni! The queen of linen ad beautiful scarves and jewels!
    xo

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  94. I agree...I was so unimpressed with this month's Veranda. I never got around to reading last month's (I subscribe) but I was SHOCKED to see the new editor. Lisa Newsom to me =Veranda. She really seemed to put a personal stamp on it and I liked her personal stamp. Why did she step down?

    Kim

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  95. Joni... love seeing that Your favorite magazine covers are also MINE! Wow... (with the exception of the newest HB.... too busy, and dizzying as some one else has said....) I despised Domino and cancelled immediately.... again dizziness from too much clutter, arrows, and really small pictures.
    I too, saved the gorgeous issues of the former House Beautiful, and was in shock for days upon learning of the demise of Southern Accents... no more thrills at the mailbox from that lovely source. I thought Lisa Newsom was wonderful and read her first before the slow page turning began.... still have my subscription to Veranda.... but am also dubious about it's future.
    Please keep up your good, sincere, and truly educational blog... May I take this opportunity to say your daughters bedroom redo is breath taking, and your stalking stories are hilarious! Your copycat article on the Jill Brinsom cover was absolutely sidesplitting... I was laughing so, my husband came to check on me!
    So glad I have discovered you, as well as the wonderful bloggers I now follow.... A whole new world for this design nut to explore, and I love all of it.... especially that I can see the pictures So Big and Beautiful!
    All the best,
    Alice
    ( from Dallas)

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  96. If nothing else this "you can't go home again" feeling (the PAPER!!!! God, it was wonderful) has made us gather all of our HG s and Verandas
    together and lovingly revisit them.
    Sadly the economy has the most to do with the changes you lament. Here's wishing all the very talented editors in this musical chair game of late the best of luck.

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  97. I agree with interior designer Valorie Hart, The Visual Vamp: "Anything to spare us from the herd of online girl mags as our only inspiration." Like her, I am sick of these young women prancing around, acting like they are better than us older ladies, with their "domino" this and "online" that. With all her talent, The Visual Vamp is every bit as good as these flash-in-the-pan girls!!

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  98. Here, Here!! Fabulous post Joni. I couldn't agree more. I, too, noticed that ad and thought it terrribly "odd".

    joan

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  99. such a relevant and interesting conversation! I have a few quick things that I hope are not too repetitive. 1. If we want fewer ads (several commmenters noted) and better paper, we will have to get used to paying more for each issue. Ever noticed how much more the Euro mags cost? And they also didn't have the massacre that we experienced in the last few years.

    Secondly I do think (know!) that on the whole, editors work very, very hard to keep their content relevant and up to date. I wondered too if this "lapse" at Veranda happened during the transitional period before Dara was fully hands-on. Or how many others noticed!

    And I definitely think there is room for both magazines and design blogs, and it does seem that plenty of blogs exist without much help at all from magazines (help meaning content, of course). There are plenty of design enthusiasts who live and breathe by the magazines each month and never step foot onto the internet. Those of us who live in both worlds have an interesting perspective, I think. We're definitely over-exposed which makes us pretty difficult to please! The relationship between blogs and major publications is going to be an interesting one to watch -- the explosion happened so quickly that there is a lot to be determined on both sides.

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  100. Joni, I quite enjoyed this post. Don't apologize for it at all. There will always be inroads into established business, just as tv threatened movies and internet threatened newspapers. All are still here. Readership is down. I no longer subscribe to any of the design magazines, though I do pick one up at the news stand when one looks promising. I am not quite sure what I think about that ad... was it a dig? Very well may be. If it was, you know you are doing your job. If the great magazine publishers think decor blogging is going away, they are mistaken. I love a button pusher. You make them think. I can't tell you of all the design people I know and some who aren't who mention your blog to me. You and several of your fans who blog are Blogging Royalty. Just as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; a well-placed story like this and the rest of your blog posts can be an irritant to the magazines...
    A demographic study will never tell the magazines what we, the readers of the blogs will tell you. You've been stung yourself. Relax. You're doing your job, and quite well. You said what we all think.

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  101. The Magazines advertisement is part of a series produced for the Magazine Publishers of America, and paid for by Time, Inc., Hearst, Conde Nast, Wenner Media, and Meredith. You'll notice that the coffee photo in the ad you post is credited to Bruce Dale/National Geographic Magazine. The Chairman of the Board of MPA is John Q. Griffin, who just happens to be President of the Publishing Group at National Geographic. The promotional campaign launched in April of this year, and is intended to reach both magazine readers and advertising buyers.

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  102. And by the way, sad and frustrating as it is, you can't save a magazine by subscribing. Subscription income pays just a fraction of the cost of producing a magazine. Advertising revenue is what pays the bills, and it's precisely advertising revenue that has so dramatically shrunk in the past several years. Magazine readership is up. Subscription and subscription renewal rates are robust. Doesn't matter. If the advertisers continue to flee to the web, or television, or simply invest their marketing dollars in creating their own robust and engaging online and catalog presence, magazines (especially those with so little distinction between edit and ad, like the shelter mags) will continue to shut down.

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  103. Great piece! I still pine for Southern Accents. I haven't enjoyed Veranda as much of late as I used to but I figured it was because they got away from the Southern homes they used to feature---the designers they used to feature spoke to me! Thank you for making up for some of the loss I feel at the demise of SA.

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  104. great post, loved reading it and looking at all the pics for their rooms!

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  105. that first image is so bright.

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