Magazine Talk: House Beautiful

So here goes: House Beautiful February 2011 Free Association…

p.38 Bethenny Frankel is given (what I can only assume is) the coveted Tablescape feature in House Beautiful.   Bethenny is pretty awesome, I must say.  She’s been my favorite random reality TV star since the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice, which is decades ago in TV time.   And I will even admit to watching her in every one of her post-Martha TV incarnations  (except for that unbearable skating show), but I was a little startled to see the granite contours of her smiling face in the pages of one of my shelter magazines.  I get the whole old-media/new-media blur, but this crossover went a bit too far, even for my tolerant tastes.  I don’t want to see Bethenny extending her brand into interiors, at least not yet.  Especially when she undoubtedly outsourced this assignment to someone who actually has the time and knowledge to shop for tableware and linens.  In all the hours and hours and hours of Bethenny Frankel’s life offered up for our viewing pleasure, interior scapes of any sort, tables included,  have never seemed to be of the slightest interest to her.  So it seems a bit of a stretch to suddenly expect us to take pointers from her about avoiding pink and blue when setting a table for a baby shower.  Or anything interiors-related, for that matter.   I think we need to pull back the reins on the Reality Show love here.  I kinda still want my design magazines to feature interior designers.

p. 10 Love these ceramics.  They remind me of this Alison Evans dish, pictured – very poorly – on the right. I was given the dish as a gift from a shop here in Rockport, and it is so beautiful that I find myself staring idly at it as it rests on my kitchen windowsill instead of doing the dishes.


p. 11 This cunning little iPad holder made to look like a book made me happy.  Any subliminal pro-book (physical book) message we can send the present generation is nothing short of fantastic.

p. 77 The One-Day Makeover has become an annual feature that I really anticipate  in House Beautiful.  It’s full of great solutions for people short on time (though not on money).  I’d love a follow-up feature on what the homeowner changed or continued to love and live with long after the finished makeover.  That tie-dyed rug was pretty intense, at least in the photo.  Did the homeowner hang onto it?  Also, it was strange that post-makeover, the room was arranged with such animosity toward television viewing.  I wondered why they just didn’t do away with the TV altogether.  Of course it’s great to avoid making the TV the room’s centerpiece, but it’s also great to avoid banishing it to a corner where the only way people can see the screen is to prop themselves upright in a straight-back chair like Presbyterians on a Sunday.  TV as punishment.  Maybe that’s the idea.  And a never-ending loop of Bethenny Frankel reality shows playing on the screen to drive the idea home.

pp. 91 & 92.  Pillows were the real star of this issue.  They dominated every photo shoot.  And then the magazine goes straight to the point and devotes a whole feature to pillows on p. 91, most of which were wonderful.  But the two depicted above deserve special mention.  That  giant salmon-colored doggy face pillow is just too amazing.  And absolutely not for the faint of heart.  The designer actually had this pillow (and a matching one) custom-made, honoring his pets by screening their faces onto giant pillows, transforming his beloved whatevers into huggable laser-eyed monochromatic companions long, long after they’re gone on to the big upholstered doggy bed in the sky.

And the zebra tuft pillow on p. 92  is just alarming.  Texturally, conceptually, and other words I would like to include in here and tack an -ly onto.  Nobody wants to stroke dead zebra tufts while lying on the couch watching Bethenny Frankel.  No. body.

Well, HB I got lots more to say about you, but I have to wrap it up.  Thanks for still being in print, and sending me actual pages that I can tear to pieces and glue to a page like a first-grader.

Keep on truckin’!

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