Sunday, February 10, 2008

Country Living makes me feel dirty on the inside.


Why does buying Country Living at the airport make me feel like the guy who buys Jugs magazine and The Economist just to cover up Jugs?

Country Living makes me feel dirty and shameful. The problem, first, is the name. Nothing makes me want to vomit doilies like that name. And then the content is a tricky because you stand there flipping through and there is usually one amazing feature in every issue where some design-y fab person gets some version of casual living totally right. No doilies. No toile. No evidence of Rachel Ashwell having visited the premises.

Below you can see two features that make the magazine worth reading. Artist Sandy stone reuses cast-off and vintage fabric in insane ways, and even if you don't like her country-ish aesthetic, look at that room with the green lamp. It's certainly fun. If a friend invited me over for margaritas and this was her place, I would think she's the coolest kid on the block. I mean, that zipper creation on the ottoman? Hysterical. Too much going on for me to live with, but it's punchy.


For the record, I do not approve of the star over the bed, above.



An then Caroline Keith's place is the kind of result you get when you are flea market obsessed (something I know too well). I like the effect, especially that dresser and mirror.




Moral of the story... you can't judge Country Living by its cover. But you SHOULD buy something to wrap around the cover so that no one thinks you are shopping for doilies.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another not-nearly-as-bad-as-its-title-suggests magazine is Traditional Home. The editors define "traditional" with a lot of elasticity, so you get some intelligent design in there.

(My personal "country" nightmare is checks (the pattern). I would take doilies over checks if forced to choose at knifepoint.)

Anonymous said...

I happen to love Traditional Home! It's more upscale than "Country Living" and more livable than "Veranda". Who lives in those rooms anyway? Don't these people have kids, pets, televisions and computers. Stop picking on REAL LIFE!

Anonymous said...

These magazines bear the same relationship to "real life" that couture clothes bear to real wardrobes. If you keep turning to them expecting "real" designs, you'll keep getting disappointed over and over, like Charlie Brown and the football.

Decorno said...

Believe me - - I *love* real life. I mean, look at the photo below. I am not afraid to buy furniture off the street. The problem with part of Country Home are when the places they features are just too feminine and jam-packed with roses and flowery printed fabrics and the whatnot.

I am with you - I want to see real life. I want to see pets in a home. I want to see an urban-tumbleweed of pug hair rolling through the dining room - - wait! I know the perfect house they can use for this feature:

Mine.


Second thought, maybe I don't like real life. My place is not exactly camera-ready. :)
:)

pve design said...

hmm. seems like you - decorno - have the perfect opportunity to start your own magazine, no doilies, no skirted tables, just great real life living with a twist.
subscriber here. I can see it now, a do's and don't/s section, an x-rated, a centerfold.... letters to the editor, op ed, you get the idea. it would be the best!

drwende said...

How bizarre... I pulled up your blog today thinking, "Maybe Decorno is the Next Big Thing in the shelter publication world -- she has a distinct voice -- she has a grasp of real-life problems -- she has taste that readers recognize as taste"... and PVE got in ahead of me.

Abbey Goes Design Scouting said...

its a terrible name, but some good content, I agree.
I just gave you a you make my day award! you deserve it!

LondonCalling said...

Cottage Living is a similar title. 6 months ago I would not have touched it with a ten foot pole. But it's consistantly one of my favorites. Bought "Country Living" last month-they have that amazing nickel sink in the 2008 Idea house that I'm currently lusting after.

Decorno said...

Oh, London Calling, I am so with you. There no shame in my Cottage Living game anymore. Dumb title, but the features have been generally really great. I even subscribe now.

I am going to have to scour old mag for that sink you mention. I bet it's dreamy.

Habitually Chic said...

I haven't bought Country Living yet but I did pick up Southern Accents one day and felt weird about it since I live in NYC. Lol. I liked reading the Traditional Home magazines we used to get delivered to the office. I agree that it is much better than expected. With so many magazines folding, there really aren't that many magazines left to buy!

LIBERTY POST EDITOR said...

You're in luck. We have many roads closed here today (storm) so I couldn't get to the post office. I was sending you a doilie.

LIBERTY POST EDITOR said...

Continued....in fact, on a lark, I think all of your readers should mail you a doilie. What's your address? Cough it up.

Decorno said...

Ha! That would be a crack up. No address for you, LPE... I am sure next time I make fun of Chicago accents or draped tables I would most certainly get a pigs heart in a jar mailed to me as punishment if people knew how to reach me! :)

Anonymous said...

A pig's heart wrapped in a swatch of Manuel Canovas fabric, with a note saying "Table skirts baby--Don't underestimate them."

Alkemie said...

I totally cracked up at your comment of not approving of the star above the bed. Totally agree! I was subscribed to Country Living just to try it out but have not renewed. I very much like the magazine Cottage Living a lot better.

perfect bound said...

I always follow my issues of Cottage Home and Country Living with an episode of The Hills. Then I don't feel so bad.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog - "Jugs Magazine" ? "vomit doilies" ? too funny.... On those rare occasions, usually summer time when I need good reads while floating in the pool, I'll load up on a bunch of rag mags - Star, Enquirer etc... usually in the grocery or Target checkout. Always want to hide those kind. Want to hide them while reading on planes too - even though I swear most of the time the folks sitting around me are reading over my shoulder!

Anonymous said...

The word "country" has such a negative tone to many of you and that is a shame. Do you all think that "country" homes in England, France, Sweden, Italy and Spain are awful and full of doilies, checks and flowers? No. Much of the interiors, colors, furniture and landscaping are timeless, comfortable and exciting but livable spaces, and believe it or not, some of the owners are actually young with a modern lifestyle. Many of the top designers have "country" homes and have designed interiors for "country" homes with industrial, classic and modern blended aestetics.In fact the connotation of "country" furniture gets a bad rap instead of recognizing what most of it is: timeless, simple, functional pieces. To close my rant, I think its ironic that the so-called tastemakers would choose the backwoods, COUNTRY hunting trophy of...wait for it...antlers...to epitomize the latest in chic on their urban walls! Of course, this trend is over now but you get my point. I'll take Country Home/Cottage Living spreads over the uncomfortable, unattainable overpriced rooms that are shoved down the average readers throat in the other mags. Use what you have smartly and stop always "wanting" it's not a pretty or satisfying trait. Stylishly pleasing digs should be about individual tastes that reflect the dweller's point of view while being functional without being broke. Put that agonizing "wanting" energy into something more productive, paint a wall (you have time to paint your nails). Excess is over people....or it should be. - Shelley

Anonymous said...

I do love my Decorno though. You ALWAYS make one really think about their own personal style. ;) - Shelley

Leigh said...

Country Living is a favorite of mine, but I have the same issue with the word country. It's too narrow (or maybe it's too broad? but people often picture the stereotypical country stuff). It doesn't make me picture stenciled chickens and such, but I think a lot of other people do. The magazine goes way beyond any country stereotypes and often doesn't even include much of what I think people in general would think of as country. As far as real life goes, I have an issues with what anonymous said. I don't think the decorating magazines pick on real life. These images are real life for a lot of people, and it's normal for them. I grew up with that way with my decorator/designer grandma leading the way who had 4 kids and 7 grandkids, dogs and the like. And most of the rest of my family's houses look almost as amazing as hers. Besides, any good photo shoot would make someone's place look better than usual no matter how it already looks. And they're magazines after all! People pay to see the decorno, not some people's messy real lives. I don't want to look at a magazine and see people's laundry piles, dog hair dust bunnies, kitty litter boxes, unmade beds, crooked pictures on the walls, etc. I don't think they pick on real life, they just don't show the messy part of life b/c nobody would buy the magazines.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the mags not showing the "real life" b/c no one wants to see all that messiness, it's all styled for the shoot. I'm happy that magazines like Country Home and Cottage Living are proving that country doesn't have to mean checks and chickens and cottage doesn't have to mean overstuffed couches and whitewashed knicknack collections! - Shelley