I had the pleasure of being invited to a talk at the Boston Design Center this week. The speaker was Sophie Donelson, the editor of House Beautiful. Sophie was a delight, she was approachable, funny, and knowledgeable. She spoke about the history of design and the magazine’s role in American design. House Beautiful is the oldest home publication in the country, and arguably the best. It was fascinating to see how design has changed through the eye of this publication.
Here are a few of my favorite examples.
I love the softness of this February 1923 issue, “Dedicated to Builders and Lovers of House & Home.” This issue’s cover is a lovely snap shot of life in the 20’s. Sophie mentioned that at that time, the photos were all black and white, so the covers were illustrated and the logo changed with each issue. I found it fascinating to think about changing the logo to go with your cover illustration, imagine the team that came up with these covers, I think they probably worked long hours.
House Beautiful was the resource if you were doing anything to your home. See how they show their readers to mix patterns and colors.
This 1935 cover depicts the ideal home, post WWI & before WWII.
If your dream house is an apartment, they had you covered, in this article “An Apartment That Knows No Rules”
September 1940 was before the United States join WWII, but as we see from the architectural model the war is on everyone’s minds.
This ad from the issue above is classic! I think the bear rug is a must in every red room.
Modern design 1959…Frank Lloyd Wright had a great relationship with the magazine.
April 1976 show us that there was no shortage of patterns being used!
I have always loved history, interior design is such a good way to see how people lived in different time periods. In addition to detailing the history of the publication, Sophie told us what they look for in prospective projects. They want a home to have a sense of history, and they like color!
I always try to give my clients homes a collected feel, I agree with House Beautiful you need to have antique items mixed in with new. If you want your home to look like a catalog, you don’t need a designer you just need a credit card! If you do hire a designer, work with them to give you a unique home, that reflects you and your interests. Remember, DON’T BE AFRAID OF COLOR!
Thank you to all the brave men and women in the military and their families. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY.
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