Monday, August 9, 2010

Like Coming Home...

I've often wondered if it's weird that I get supremely excited about magazines. I've decided that it is, but I've also learned to embrace this almost manic celebration of the printed page. (Hey, there are far worse addictions!)

I had one of those excited moments when I popped out to my mailbox just now and saw Martha's face smiling at me through its small glass window. ("Hi, Andrew..." she seemed to whisper to me, followed by, "Let me out of here!") It was the September issue of Martha Stewart Living and I whipped out my key, flung open the mailbox door and dashed back inside to begin my editorial scouring ritual: what's new, who's new, what will I adore, what will I learn?

This year's September issue is close to being revolutionary. (It's not revolutionary entirely because I simply can't bring myself to be that dramatic, despite my leanings.) It's definitely improved, certainly engaging and absolutely beautiful in every respect. I love it. So far, this is the leading contender for my pick as Best Issue of the Year.

There are numerous design changes that serve to build upon the clean-and-lean approach developed several years ago by the MSLO editors, but it stops short of being sparse and icy. There is warmth in the layout of the pages and a gathering of ideas that speaks to the collector.

Below is a selection of some of the contents in the September issue I know you'll be excited to read, with a few highlights of the new design.
As mentioned in a previous post, the September issue has been renamed the Home issue, which had been previously designated the Decorating issue. Martha is on the cover with her good friend and colleague, Kevin Sharkey, who reveals his stunning Manhattan apartment.Look at the Contents pages! I love how they are designed to look like bulletin boards, with notes, photographs and ephemera pinned to the fabric-covered cork. I hope this style continues! In her column, Martha takes us up to Skylands where we see some of the giant faux-bois pieces that were custom made for her by renowned faux-bois furniture maker Carlos Cort├ęs of San Antonio, Texas. This large, impactful font is used several times throughout the magazine in headings, including a special workbook at the back of the magazine. Another new addition are these little 'buttons' that mark an item as a favorite. In cooking columns, they are used to denote the amount of time a recipe will take to prepare. Cute idea!
Since the focus of the issue is Home and decorating, a few of the editors at MSL reveal their dwellings and some of the new projects they are working on at home. Above, Editorial Director Gael Towey and her husband embarked on sorting through their hundreds of photographs and works of art to select which ones to frame. The results are stunning!
One of the main features in the well of the magazine is a look inside Martha's kitchen drawers and cupboards. I love the collection of images above that demonstrate her organizing strategies, from cutlery to dish cloths, a first-aid drawer (complete with Jadeite catch-alls) to napkins and cake-decorating tools. A story on icing? Temptation is cruel! Once you've drooled over the lush close-up photographs by Pal Allan and read through some of the rich ingredients in the recipes, there will be no going back. Decorating editor Kevin Sharkey sits contentedly in his Manhattan apartment, which he reveals for the first time. It is a glorious, light-filled space that is modern but warm.Kevin threw a housewarming party and there are two pages of collages featuring photographs from the event that are really fun.An article on a beautiful, rustic, shingle-covered home in Seal Harbor, Maine, will have you taking stock of everything you love in life and finding a way to incorporate those elements into your home.

An article on sedums - one of fall's best offerings in the garden - is beautifullly photographed by Craig Cutler

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