House "Not So" Beautiful???

Style :

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

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

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


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



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



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


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


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





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




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




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


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


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







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