22 March, 2009

the design soup is sadly thinner.

When I was in 7th grade or so, I had a project of some sort that involved me needing images from magazines. This is over a decade before the interweb, children; we didn't have Google. For this project, my great-grandmother gave me a huge stack of her House & Garden issues. It was immediate love at first sight.

House & Garden was a huge departure of class from the People and 16 magazines I was used to reading. It was such a visual magazine, full of pristine livingrooms, colorful rose gardens, and the ads. Oh my, the ADS! I had carefully torn those advertisements out and placed them all over my room. My favorites were the Clinique ones. Always an impactful closeup of a product with a stark white backdrop. All the photography in House & Garden showed an entirely new world for me. I craved the New York life, you see. There was no doubt in my young mind I was flipping through publications I would have one day in my artist studio space in lower Manhattan. Years later I feel guilty for having deconstructed those issues, cutting out photos and words that represented a life I wanted to pursue as a grownup.

When I actually did start living on my own, and very much not in a Soho loft, I would still buy H&G. At one point I even had a subscription. The magazine changed, perhaps became a bit thinner in content, but I still enjoyed it. Eventually, however, I would buy it using the same parameter as a purchase of Vogue: if the cover's great, the magazine content will be good. If the cover's really less than stellar, it's usually skipable. Perhaps my shallowness and others contributed to its downfall.

For a while now I'd looked for the magazine to no avail. Only recently, however, it hit me that maybe it's not just out; perhaps it's no longer being made. Sadly it's true, and going to the H&G website pulls up this message:

*****
DEAR HOUSE AND GARDEN READER:

Thank you for trying to visit the
House and Garden magazine website. Sadly, House and Garden magazine and www.houseandgarden.com are no longer being published. You've been redirected to us, the website of their sister publication, domino magazine. Welcome!

Like houseandgarden.com, dominomag.com is packed with inspiring photographs and clever ideas to help you decorate your home.

We hope you will grow to love both
domino the magazine and dominomag.com.

Sincerely,
domino magazine
*****


Domino is an offshoot of Lucky, a magazine I've been getting since its first issue eleven years ago. I've maybe missed two issues. Visually based, incredibly approachable, and domino followed that take into the home design universe. In my opinion it was a worthy heir of what H&G had become in its sunset years. Sadly, it was not to last. From dominomag.com:

*****
dear readers
It is with very heavy hearts that we say farewell. The March 2009 issue will be our last. Over the last 4 years, in 28 issues, we have done our best to create a great magazine. We started with a real idea—that style is for everyone—and tried to carry it out with stories that provide inspiration and empower you to act on it. From your tremendous response, we know that we were onto something.

*****

I unfortunately knew I was buying the last issue of domino when I did. Really I'm pretty bummed out about this. While there are several good design magazines out there, I feel these two are irreplaceable. While often showing opulence, H&G was never elitist. It's Hunting & Gathering section was always whimsical and fun. Domino was not only approachable, but it was practical as well. It was possible to have good design without spending a lot of money.

Have no doubt that design publications like these have had a huge, and probably larger, influence on my work than any fashion magazine. It's the use of color and the mix of styles and pattern. It's why I flock to the home section of any fabric store and drool over the sample section. Along with her ginger cookie recipe, my great-grandma unknowingly gave me a direction to channel some of my excitement of the creative universe. So to Ba, I look up at the stars and say thank you. And to the more recently departed House & Garden and domino, I say farewell.

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