House Beautiful magazine gets its own rehab job

HOME STYLE

August 18, 1991|By Linda Lowe Morris

House Beautiful isn't the same old house anymore. It's got a new look and a new philosophy beginning with the September issue, which arrived at newstands just a few days ago.

The magazine, long a bastion of the upscale but cozy country look, has edged a little closer to HG and Elle Decor.

"What we're doing is just being a little more open-minded about what we're doing at House Beautiful," says Louis Oliver Gropp, who has been editor in chief of the magazine since January and who oversaw the upwardly mobile metamorphosis of House and Garden to HG in 1982.

"It's now urban as well as suburban, city as well as country. And we've redone our type and layout so it's a little more contemporary.

"In no way are we walking away from our position as a magazine on homes and gardens

that people can relate to. We're just getting ready for the '90s. The '80s got to be a bit much, so we're simplifying."

The change is obvious in the cover photo of the living room in a Manhattan apartment, which the inside caption describes as "clean lines, subtle pattern and uncurtained windows framing big views."

The latest issue has articles entitled "New American Classic -- John Saladino's rambling ocean-front house," "Milan Report -- The latest designs from Italy's annual furniture fair," "Bob and Elke's Fish Camp -- A fun-filled family house on Long Island," "The Apartment that Broke the Mold -- Losing the cookie-cutter look" and "Culinary All-Stars -- Three young New York chefs and their vibrant recipes."

There are more short columns and editorial departments in the new magazine. "From Thornhill Farm," the column by Baltimore County resident Dee Hardie, is still there. New ones include "Eye On," which looks at the buildings, shops, restaurants and neighborhoods of a different American city -- not monthly but on a regular basis. "In the Garden" is a look at new ideas and thoughts on landscaping.

One of the features of the redesign is an increased emphasis on writing -- on interviews with design superstars as well as essays on the home. In the September issue there is an interview with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, the husband-and-wife team of design theorists and architects whose ideas have shaped the American urban landscape for the last two decades.

When asked why House Beautiful is going up when the economy has been going down, Mr. Gropp replied, "We may have just nudged it up a little bit. But it's upscale in more sophistated design rather than money. We feel readers can adapt things and pick and choose. They can translate and reinterpret at whatever budget level they happen to be."

... Jeanne Benson, a designer and quiltmaker, will be teaching a series of quilting classes at the Columbia Art Center beginning in September.

The first is a basic quilting course. Ms. Benson, whose work has been shown in several national exhibitions and who also teaches through the Smithsonian Resident Associates, will guide students, both sewers and non-sewers, through the process of making a quilt. The class runs for six consecutive Monday evenings beginning Sept. 16. Tuition is $60 and materials fee is $10.

On November 4, Ms. Benson will begin a floral applique quilt workshop which runs for six sessions. Students will learn the techniques for a variety of different designs of quilts. Tuition is $60 and material fee is $15.

On Sept. 21 at 10 a.m., Ms. Benson will give a two-hour slide lecture entitled "Simplify, Simplify. Methods of a Quiltmaker's Madness," in which she shows the development of a quilt from its initial idea and research to its execution in fabric.

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