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Friday, May 28

What’s old is new again

When I think back about where my love and passion for interior design started, one of my earliest memories is pouring over magazines for hours and hours. I used to daydream that I lived in the spaces on the pages. I wanted to be the people in the magazines. I dreamed that one day that I could be in magazines too. I used to study positions of furniture and see how rooms were laid out. I used to study styles of furniture- from Swedish to English to French to Italian. I wanted to educate myself and learn all that I could. I guess it could seem strange to some people. I would lock myself in my bedroom for hours at a time, reading issues over and over again. When I think back at these memories of when I was a child, I had no clue at the time that I would make my early dreams a reality. I hadn’t thought about this for years until just the other day. I was visiting a dear friend who had been saving hundreds of back issues of Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, House & Garden and House Beautiful. I could only fill my station wagon with a few stacks on this trip, but I can’t wait to go back and keep filling up my car. On this three day weekend, I am so excited to relive my childhood and spend hours thumbing through these issues and many more. Sometimes reading these old issues is like spending time with an old friend. I look forward to the memories. I look forward to learning something new. I look forward to seeing interiors that inspire.

So this is what I am doing this weekend. What are you doing?

Do you have favorite magazines that you save for years like me? In this digital age, with email and texting and reading things online, I have to say that sometimes there really is nothing like flipping through a magazine.


Lynne Rutter said...

I also love pawing through magazines. I used to subscribe to several shelter rags but now I only get World of Interiors. I have every issue back to 1988. and I still flip through them now and then!

Things That Inspire said...

I love my Veranda magazines, as well as House Beautiful and Southern Accents; there are a few brands that I have kept but never go back and reference, and I need to get rid of these.

I find that Veranda in particular is what contains the most inspiration when looking at older back issues.

Howard Wiggins;Hearthstone Interior Design said...

What truth you speak! I am Howard Wiggins of Hearthstone Interior Design in Nashville TN. , I did, and also feel the same as you. I still like to look through magazines every free second.I keep them by my TV chair and refer back to them during commercial breaks. This is still how I keep current with my profession. I study them , critique them, and discuss what I saw in them with other designer friends.

Kathysue said...

Hi Grant, Oh yes I have stacks of magazines also. I can not throw away a good Veranda or House Beautiful. I have not been reading them lately as I use too. I have been reading blogs too much I guess. I love to sit in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee or tea and just slowly turn the pages and soak up every word. Nothing like it. It sounds like the perfect weekend to me. I am going to be painting an old wicker piece and planting some flowers for my front porch. I finally finished it!! Have a wonderful long weekend, Mr. Grant, Kathysue


If I have saved a magazine for one reason it seems that I love it for another 5 yrs later. I also love Veranda and House Beautiful.I even like the old ads! Perfect for this long weekend after I pull a few weeds.

All The Trappings said...

I'm DYING over those lapis blue chairs with the appliqués.......gorgeous!

I too, would pour over mags for hours, redesign my bedroom over and over and dream up what my surroundings would look like when I was older. Guess its a disease from an early age, right?

Thanks for sharing these great covers! Goes to show that a well designed room rarely falls out of fashion!

Camille said...

If there is an award out there for the most visually stimulating blog, then you are the winner!!! Your generosity in sharing other wonderful blogs has kept me from being stuck in the design doldrums.
About magazines, when I was a child my sis ter and I would play the "mine" game. We would turn a page and slap the item we coveted. How's that for early consumerism? When I was in my 20's my husband and I would dream about our future home through magazines like House Beautiful, House& Gardens, even W had some great ideas back then.Remember when the pages were way bigger. I had to fold them to fit them in my file cabinets. The English and French House & Gardens also expanded our insights. After many years and many subscriptions of Southern Accents, Veranda, H & G, House Beautiful, Coastal Living, The World of Interiors, etc.with bookshelfs filled with past issue mags. with our walls lined with magazines looking like 8" thick wallpaper to the ceiling I came up with a cruel but manageable idea. Being a designer I thought it would be helpful for clients to thumb through binders labeled "French" "English", "Swedish", "Shingle Style", "Italian", Details, window treatment, bed treatment, wall treatment, etc. I have found it to be a godsend for me but the act of ripping the pages and chucking the magazines was painful but short lived. I hopes this helps someone drowning in the magazine tsunami. Sounds like you are. Enjoy it! I do love going through old magazines but the storing is a monumental problem. Go binders! And they are without the ads.
Could not do without your blog!!!!!

kayce hughes said...

Love old magazines! I save them until I run out of room and then I tear out my favorite pages and put them in a 3ring binder.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

i did the same thing as a child LOL - ugh -the embaressment -but I'm glad I wasn't alone and in good company too!
I save world of interiors (a collection that goes back to it's start with only a few missing gaps) and architectural record (which I know everyone hates but I'm still a fan). I used to have the architectural digests goign back to the 1960s, thanks to my grandparents who also saved them, but in a move a few years ago, I was exhausted and only took things from 1995. I left behind DECADES of magazines -argh. I so wish I never did that now.
I'm headed up to my roofdeck now to enjoy the good weather and read a magazine( and no i'm not even kidding!). Nothing can ever beat a hardcopy magazine. Sorry, Lonny!

Suzanne said...

What a timely post. Just last week, I went to an estate sale of a local architect and lugged home several large boxes of old magazines, including 3 years worth of Veranda that I hadn't previously seen =)

I hang on to almost all of my old magazines and love to go back over them on slow weekends and rainy days--they are invaluable tools in studying what makes a design classic and timeless. You can really see what endures and what ages a room by looking back in time like this.

As some other commenters mentioned, storage is a huge issue! I'm considering having some of the best old magazines bound so that they'll appear less cluttery and be better preserved.

Hope you're enjoying your journey back in design time this weekend!!

La Maison Fou said...

Oh yes. I have a gustavian pine bench full of old H & G , Veranda, Conde Nast, French magazines, Cottage living, Countey Home and many Domino magazines.

Sad so see so many are gone, but what they left behing was pure inspiration.

24 Corners said...

I love my magazines! They have been my constant companions these last 20 years or so, helping me to create the home of my dreams. they educated me in design and architecture and instilled in me a love of beautiful structures and their histories.
I still have most of my "Classic American Home" (remember that one?), "Homestyle & Gardening", vintage "Country Living's" and "Victoria's" and so many more.

We are actually moving into the dream home this weekend that these magazines helped to build (I should be packing) and even after we are all settled, they will still have a very special place in my heart and home!

Enjoy your time with your old friends this weekend....

VoiceTalk said...

My one luxury is collecting World of Interiors. I gave myself a subscription about then years ago. They've taught me a great deal.

Excellent post!

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

What a great post....your weekend sounds wonderful! My collection of magazines is enormous...and my sister and mom just gave me boxes of old issues I didn't have (I was never very into Domino and my sister saved most of them). One of my current projects as we are gearing up for a cross country move is to get all of my magazines organized and filed away....currently they are in stacks and boxes scattered around the house and basement!

Dandy said...

Lucky you! I wish I still had all the magazines I threw out. But I did rip out my favorite pages and now I have 11 binders of my favorite dream rooms and gardens. I fear the great age of the design magazine is over. Who will document the great houses of our time with the quality of photography they deserve? I am afraid that new technology is throwing us back to the dark ages.

Kimmy said...

I curl up in my favorite chair with a light throw and I go through Architectural Digest and Christie's Great Estates Magazines.
I love the varied tastes of those selling their homes and the lovely vivid photos.
This is what I consider a good day!

Vitania said...

I couldn't agree more about the joys of actually flipping through the pages of old magazine. I have issues of Veranda, and AD (and of course Vogue...:-) and I love to browse through them. I get nostalgic lookexterscing at ads..

Anonymous said...

Tiny Rooms
Huge Solutions

the best issue!

Still keep it under the cocktail table.

Carol Troy

Anonymous said...

hey, grant,

a great way to refresh memories and visit old friends.

when i think back, it is to the house beautiful frank lloyd wright issue and to the shibui issue. wiki lists the shibui one as 1960, but i have the 'feeling' that the two issues were early '50s. my family were not savers in those days, and if i hoarded stuff, my mother would mutter about the collier brothers being part of my father's family......

oy. some of those magazines were encyclopedic and are resources in themselves. collector quality now, too.

enjoy the remembrances of stuff past, and the surprising pointers to a recurring future.



Anonymous said...

Hi Grant! I hope your Memorial Day weekend is a happy one, in spite of
this being the time that we honor and celebrate the gifts of our
military, alive and dead. Thanks to all of them who serve/served so

What a great read today! I've been following your blogs since I saw a
spread of your little San Francisco apartment with the window seat and
all those pillows! Frankly, I did not think there were too many pillows;
instead, I thought it gave a lush and lucious look!

Yes, I have boxes and stacks of back issues of the magazines you seem to
save. A few weeks ago I had a "purging," carefully going through each
one, clipping particularly intriguing photos and articles, saving some
entire issues, sorting, and throwing away those that weren't too
gratifying to me. I have brown manilla envelopes that I store the pix or
clippings in, labeling them by room types--living room, bedroom, etc. It
kinda keeps it all organized. The magazines are stored in magazine boxes
with the front open so that I can see the spine. (Yeah, more than you
wanted to know.)

Anyhow, thanks for your blogs and any info you can supply by email. You
are one of my very favorites. P.S. I'll turn 70 next January and have had
this interest since I was just a kid, too, even though I spent my entire
working career as a teacher of English!

Charles Allen
Daytona Beach, Florida

Anonymous said...

I too love my back issues of Elle Decor, House Beautiful, House and Garden/HG, and Architectural Digest. They are like old friends when I look at them after months or years of sitting in the stacks. As some of your readers have mentioned, I too have torn out favorite articles to cut down on the size of the stacks. Latley, I have stopped doing that as blogs have exposed me to articles I missed in my back issues.
I have lately become a friend of World of Interiors. Though a little more than the other titles I mentioned, I am always amazed at the photography and variety of homes featured.
Thank you for exposing your secret and making us all feel that we aren't alone!

maison21 said...

my life is an eternal struggle between saving old magazines and wanting to throw them out. with this post, you've tipped the balance in favor of saving... for today ;-)

pretty pink tulips said...

I had so many....that I finally resorted to starting my Style File many years ago - and just including my favorite pages. But, I must say, I'm very glad I kept my Domino issues!!

Anonymous said...

Great post....I collect the British magazine "The World of Interiors."

Anonymous said...

I am glad to know a kindred spirit. My obesession with the shelters started in 1988. I tear out the pages that inspire me most and file them "by room". My husband refers to my folders as THE FILES, as they need no further introduction. Looking back, I wished I had saved the entire issues and I am so thankful for those who have and so kindly share them online.

Sanity Fair said...

One of my biggest regrets is throwing out YEARS of T&C and AD (back when I was a fan) during a move. SO sad I did that. I still treasure all of my back issues of Victoria - I have decades of them. And I'll never part with a Domino!


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