Monday, 29 July 2013

July / August 2013 US House Beautiful Review

Hello there!
There was a double issue of July and August so I am not late with the review of the summer issue of House Beautiful!

Now it is always interesting the upcycling or lateral use of items.
The napkins below look kind of like tea towels or Moroccan bath towels but they make a lovely graphic modern statement.

I once went to a riad in Marrakech where they cut up similar looking fabrics and used them for sarongs, curtains, tea towels, pillow covers.  
It is a nice reminder to try and use different cloths and designs for unlikely uses.

Momogramming mad just as Heidi from Adelaide Villa predicted in this post.  Or you could give each guest a bucket with their own wine bottle but at least they can't touch yours?

Loving the playful nature of these sketches.
What I would love is interchangeable wallpaper because as much as I love all these patterns I would have a problem committing.

Most of you know how I feel about haphazard throw styling so I will deduct two points for this issue for FLTS otherwise known as 
faux lazy throw syndrome.

The throw is touching the floor - I know it's a new rug but still.
The monogrammed towel is covering the lone lovely pink accessory on the outdoor lounge. 

Just had to show you this ad as it was conspicuous in it plainness and lack of art direction. 

Where is Don Draper when you need him?

Everytime I see a rug I like featured in a magazine the cost is usually more than a monthly mortgage payment so it was nice to see some nice affordable rugs shown.

This book is so clever in its deconstruction of flowers.

Do you ever feel like doing lovely flower arrangements but then they look the same way they did when you bought them in the store?  Well this book might help spruce up a floral display so I might get it myself.

The last few "tablescapes" featured on the magazine have been rather uninspiring and this one is no different I am sad to say.
HB gives tablescapes a monthly feature and yet it rarely wows or gives us fresh new ideas.  I mean a few colored glass bottes, shrubbery, and a basket of lemons is hardly ground-breaking.

The set table below in one of the editorials is a lot more fun...

This house is less than 700 square feet but is decorated in such a grand manner.  Ok it's got a bit of a Napoleon complex in a way but if we didn't know it was a small house you never would have guessed by its comportment.

I love how the exterior flora is so tied into the general decor of the the house as a whole.  Some interior decorators frown upon live plants inside but I love the freshness indoor plants bring.

I also love how the green pattern on the walls and upholstery mimics a type of vine on the walls reflecting the lush garden outside the walls.

 I am deducting five points for FTLS though...

I think people automatically limit scope of patterns and furniture placement when homes are under 1000 sq ft but this flat shows that size should be no obstacle in being daring and bold.

Another 5 points deducted for the FLTS on the picture bottom left.

It shows you only need a bit of wall to make it a feature
and seemingly celebrate and use any space to have fun 
with color and pattern.

I love the zoning of space usage by using the different rugs and upholstery in the living room below.

Oh look, there is FLTS again..!
But I love the D. Porthault-esque look of the sheets on the bed. 
So crisp.

500 sq ft? 
Now this is something people living in Europe can learn from.

There is no entrance foyer or hall and goes smack into the living room.  I love how immediate the home is and makes a statement but still manages to gently cajole you inside.

I think stripes are always referred to in making things bigger or smaller both in fashion and decor. But the soft yellow seems to add just enough color but also act as a netural palette simultaneously.

There is still room to display a collection and have a cozy snack.

The furniture in this instance is both ornamental and constructive acting as an airing cupboard.

The person who made the bed must be into origami...

I think most people would benefit from this article even 
if you do live in a McMansion.  

Funny thing is I find it easier to decorate a small space rather than huge caverns.  But these tips are universal.

I don't particularly agree that one needs visual continuity and everything should match everything else.  Like fashion, I think it is how it is worn.  I don't like faking size for instance. I think it's about bringing a sense of lightness and comfort.

I think cupboards to the ceiling should be done if only to prevent 
a dusty grimy buildup on top!
As you can read in the color debate, even the leading designers are at odds whether or not you should go light or dark in painting a small room.  Personally, I think it has everything to do with the local light and function than size of a room.

But for every shape and size of house, I think editing is truly key.
In my recent clear up, I was ashamed at how I had been using storage space.

In what would be an otherwise boring flat, the drapes and curved furniture add visual interest and flow.

My heart doesn't necessarily bleed when I see anything over a 1000 sq ft as I live in London.  But I will let it pass...
Even the inside of the cabinet is such a feature and I would keep open myself.

Even though there are strong contrating colors next to a 
seemingly clashing pattern with tassled fringes by no means does the space seem small perse.

The color palette may not suit your taste but I don't feel hemmed in.

 I like the use of mirrors but I do worry about the inhabitants coming home after a drunken night...

This chair sure got a "fanciful update"...

There is a lot going on in this bedroom but I do like how the ceiling is mirrored in the blinds. The feature wall and the footstool I personally don't see how it fits but as long as they like it.

Unusual color choice for a kitchen but it is cheerful I suppose.
I personally woud have extended the counter and cupboard space instead of putting two chairs there though.

Because then I would have been able to cut up a few more leeks.

Mirrors always do the trick although I don't know where to look.

I have just gotten back from Austria and be default I was not only on a food diet but a digital diet and I must say that I have come back a lot more relaxed and less wired.
I hope to get back to my normal blogging schedule but it has taught me to stop finding out what the latest news is...
It certainly helps you sleep better!

Well that was the summer issue for House Beautiful so the next one won't be out until September!


  1. I think rather than embracing the digital diet it is time to venerate verve and savior-fair. Life is ephemeral; experience is ultimately invaluable.

  2. I think I need that flower arranging book. Unfortunately I missed out on a Finishing School education, so I'm fairly poor at floral arrangements, one reason why I like my Alvar Aalto vase so much (makes everything look better).
    Laughing at the monograms.... Nooooooooooooo!
    Love the use of the sheridan style bookcase as an airing cupboard in the green room- it looks fab, and a very original use for it too. But the quilts on the bed are too much with the folding, and your origami comment cracked me up, as are your general comments on the styling in most photos.
    Love the use of wallpapers everywhere, so fun.
    Glad you're back from digital rehab. There's something there for us all I think. I read such an interesting book last week, the woman (who lived in the 18thC) was so productive and creative. It made me think about what she would have produced had she lived now.... possibly not a lot with the suck of tv/ internet etc every night. We have so many time saving products/ gadgets, yet we're all so time poor. xx

    1. I love flower arranging but for some reason it always just flops and always looks the same. I love that vase as well because it does half the work!!

      Monogramming is seriously everywhere!! made me laugh :)

      I wish i could just knuckle down and wallpaper but those sketches were too far off the ones that your little one did the other week!!

      I feel digitally detoxed although I still read but I wasn't bombarded by the telly and the live updates and that made me feel much less anxious plus I was in Austria for the royal birth so I saw it once but not twice or 100 times as the rest of the British population was subjected to. I am not quite compus mentus yet though xx

  3. I find most of the rooms in that lot a bit fussy but I LOVE the house with the red laquered walls. So cheerful and funky, and would not date as quickly as the others.
    Blogs are like my magazines. I rarely buy a magazine anymore, on the net I can pick and choose what I like.

    How was your stay at the Mayr? Feeling all nice and light and stretchy?

    1. I love lacquered walls but my builder refuses to do them as he says it is a nightmare...I buy less mags now than I used to for sure but I still like to file things for my own pinterest board that even digitally is a mess.
      Mayr was fab and I will write about that very soon. but I still have detox brain!

  4. I bought the book and one for a friend as well for her B -Day. It is gorgeous!!

    1. Oh good - thanks for that, so someone who actually can vouch for it is a great thing - i might get an extra one then for my present cupboard!

  5. Hoping you would do this post as I read HB cover to cover ( twice ) on the plane...which was "diverted" due to bad weather in Atlanta to Nashville. Not having boots or a country hit scribbled on a napkin I stayed on the plane & read it again...laughing each time I saw the "tile" girl ad....That cracked me up so much as I was thinking exactly what you wrote when I saw her the first time. I know you wrote that several issues ago, but no one in HQ @ the Tile Company has taken note...they r still paying the big bucks for her to be in HB monthly. Whatever! Loved this post as well!
    Tell everyone u like to enter my give away!!

    1. Yes Kelly - you are having a fab giveaway that I have to officially enter - will do that this avo xx

  6. Welcome back! I hope you are feeling fresh and revitalized and have replenished yourself with lots of calories!

    Some gorgeous homes in this post; very tempted to re-decorate. I'm not really one for blues and teals in the home, but that kitchen where you said the colour palette may not suit us all is surprisingly right up my street. I feel like printing it off and telling someone to make my kitchen look like that!

    Love mirrored walls - I don't have them, but I would if I had the resources. What's your thoughts on a mirrored bedroom ceiling - only joking ha ha xx

    1. Hey there - i am back and will tell all in my next post but still haven't had any tea or coffee but did have dark chocolate and i liked it! my palate has been cleansed... I love mirrors in general but that makes it sound like I am narcissistic. But they do just make a space so bright although i have been known to bump into them when tipsy...too funny re ceiling!! xx

  7. Hey...nice to have you back... Hope your time away was how you wanted it to be. This blog has so much to learn, for me anyway... Thanks for sharing... xx MM

    1. Thank you! it is lovely to be back. and am more than glad to share with you xx

  8. I can SEE that you are back. Welcome!

    I used to buy the US HouseBeautiful magazine regularly a few decades ago. I liked to look at the pictures. There were lots of other magazines I bought too.
    Then something about HB changed, but I still bought The Metropolitan Home ( an the others ).
    During the past years, I might occasionally buy an interior design magazine, but I prefer books nowadays.

    Thank you for browsing this magazine for us. The best part was to be found in your own comments!
    From a Scandinavian point of view, the interiors pictured are too full of everything, too colorful, too " romantic ".
    We are more puritan with our interior design over here.

    I fully agree with the three bits of advice at number 12.
    I also have a definite opinion of the interior matching with the building, the neighborhood ; the surroundings.
    And finally - I can´t stand the Aalto vase. Please don´t shoot me ; )!

    1. P.S. I mean the three clues on number 12 Edit.

    2. A lot of the magazines seem to be inconsistent but then again they are competing with blogs that provide access to images unlike beforehand when one was almost forced to buy them. I always try and get the best bits from each mag. I must say that the double issue wasn't as juicy as I had hoped although it did give some good points for sure. PS different opinions is what makes things interesting!! :)

  9. you had us at FLTS.


  10. HouseBeautiful is my least favourite out of the interior mags but to be fair they are all getting repetitive. Cancelled my living etc subscription and only read Elle decoration now......but may scour for HB US as I've only read the crappy UK version!!!
    Love monogramming:)

    1. At the moment US Elle Decor is my fave but I find HB the most helpful with articles with tips written out but they are lacking in true inspiration and doe get a bit repetitive for sure but I am still a sucker for it all :)

  11. I always love when you post decoration styles... I'd love to have the time to make a perfect flat for my boyfriend and I!
    Thanks for the inspiration darling!

    1. I can't wait to see how you decorate your flat :) xx

  12. Hi CSW - I have the book as well and swear by it! Really, really good!

    As for rugs, whenever I think I can afford one, it turns out that it is the size of a bathmat! Is it just me or what?

    I laughed out loud about your critique of the haphazard throw...I can never make them look right that way so I simply fold them and place them neatly. The dog pulls them down and tries his best to make them look good!

    Agree about the digital diet. I am limiting my screen time each day and am finding it very helpful!

    1. I haven't seen the book here so I might have to amazon order it then!

      Yes the haphazard throw is just so prevalent now in HB editorials...

      Yes I am realizing how my brain has calmed down with the tv news exposure overall so now i am only watching the news once a day!

  13. thoroughly enjoyed your magazine commentary. My best friend and I love to sit and flip through decor mags at home and simp wine and make comments back and forth. This post makes me feel at home :) Thanks to for all your insider London tips. I've been using them all. John Lewis is my new lover!


    1. I used to do that a lot too so now I just do it with all of you! I am so glad you are enjoying London - let me know if you need any other tips :)

  14. I love the house with a "napoleon" complex... It's really beautiful... I could go for one like this !

    1. It is isn't it? I need to get some napoleon into my house as well...

  15. I am with you on floor to ceiling cupboards. I wish I had them! And LOL, I am now going to rush round and pick up all my throws!!!!!! Which are only where they are because I am too lazy to fold them up and put them back where they belong in the linen cupboard. Gallivanta

    1. Oh I am a terrible mess Gallivanta but thats why I dont like disorder on the features but don't you think that for a magazine shoot they could make an effort? ;)

    2. I have floor to ceiling cupboards in my kitchen... Love them.. but have to get the stepladder for the fruit jars in canning season. Also, the Christmas dishes are up there... But it really frees up space below. I like the cannisters inside the cupboards. Have new granite countertops from granite transformations... lovely, the dark granite picks up the browns and blues in the backsplash tiles.

  16. Thaknks for the review, love the napkins x

    1. Hi MaiTai - thanks for coming by. I am also trying to repurpose all my fabrics now! x

  17. Welcome back Naomi - says me who has gone awol too!!. How was your time away? Thanks for the entertaining read through HB ... I am a neat, neat, neat throw folder!! I have a lovely friend who piles her throws on the corner of the bed in a casual swirl - as if someone just let it drop there ...?? Have a great weekend! xx

    1. No pressure but I can't wait for your next post! Hope you are having a great weekend x

  18. I found quite a lot of inspiration in this issue. I'm drawn to all things blue at the moment and I'm seriously considering redecorating our bedroom to include a touch of fresh crisp blue and there are two gorgeous bedrooms here which certainly look frsh - I love the Roman blind in one of them too. The Garden Party table is very pretty and what an inviting outdoor space. Thanks for the recap.

  19. I like the tips for how to make the most out of small spaces. My living room has one end which is quite dark, I'm going to try a mirror and see it that brightens it up. I love that kitchen xx

  20. The magazine cover is featuring grey and mauve~seein a lot of that lately!!

    Lauren at adorn la femme

  21. @miss b - I am loving indigo a lot lately but find that my favourite colors change all the time!

    @Sian - mirrors are so underutilized and they lift a space no end.

    @Lauren - I have noticed that as well!

  22. Love your breakdown of the essentials for us - your interpretative skills are great! So agree re the FLTS...I HATE this as well. I cringe when I see it in homes I visit,and just want to roll the offendinding item into a ball and "throw" it in a corner. That little house looks wonderful - punching above its weight but making it work. Glad you're back! x

    1. Thanks Sulky! But why on earth do the magazines let the stylists get away with such things? My house is a tip but if a magazine were coming to photograph it - you can bet I would at least vacuum...x

  23. Loved this. I am cracking up about the leeks- So true! Not very good space use on that kitchen. Also totally agree about the whole tablescape thing. It hasn't been inspiring for a long time!

    So glad you are back and catching up on all your posts!


    1. I just didnt get the space in that kitchen and it didn't deserve to be kitchen of the month and also the tablescapes editor needs a holiday because there was no inspiration at all!

  24. Accessories are so stylish..........Thanks for share.


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