The gloves are off in the Canadian decorating magazine wars! Anyone who knows me knows I am a decorating magazine addict - at the height of my addiction I was purchasing a dozen decorating mags a month....and saving them. My first purge came when I moved in with soon-to-be husband. He said he would take me, but not my decorating magazines, my decorator pillows or my Kenny G CD's. I happily got rid of all of them.
A few years later I was back at my magazine habit (I do want to confirm that Kenny G is gone forever) but one renovation too many and I dropped them all in favour of lifestyle mags like Oprah and Chatelaine...and my number magazine that I subscribed to but never read - Yoga Journal.
But even after giving most of them up, I still subscribed to Canada's two decorating mags, Canadian House and Home - Canada's version of House Beautiful...and Style at Home, it's cozier sister. I loved the editor of Canadian House and Home, Cobi Ladner and the style she brought to the mag - very accessible, very Canadian....I always read her editor's message before I looked at anything else in the mag - I loved her stories about her, her huband Bob and the kids...and all her decorating issues, like the time she had to give up her gift wrapping room when she had a second baby, and when she tried to turn a corner of her living room into a home office (I still wish I had that issue) and when they moved to a new house and photos of all the renos she did....I really liked her and I thought she did an amazing job on the mag. and then she was gone - no good-byes, no explanation - just gone - to be replaced by my least favourite decorating personality Suzanne Dimma. Thin lipped, skinny hipped, pinched looking Suzanne Dimma - you could tell by looking at her she was no girlfriend. and in no time the mag went from Canadian accessible to all white, all mod, all stainless, all loft all the time. which is fine is small doses but not my taste. So, for the first time in 18 years I let my subscription lapse. I complained bitterly to all my friends (who agreed that Suzanne was no girlfriend) and I moved on.
Then Style at Home, the poor cousin to Canadian House and Home got a new editor, Erin McLaughlin - now I was not a fan originally....Erin had a checkered background editing several Canadian lifestyle publications and I wasn't sure she was up to the challenge, but after a shaky start I was onside. I liked her personal style - a bit horsy, a bit hip-y and not too perfect - I loved the fact that she confessed that when she and her new husband eloped to New York she was too fat to get into the dress she bought to be married in and had to fall back on an old stand-by. She chats about her life, her new step-children and her renovations....and the fact that her husband couldn't care less. So different from La Suzanne (but I imagine that's the strategy).
So I was thrilled to see that Style at Home is really taking on House and Home by upgrading the size and style of their magazine - now they are going head-to-head. And for me, Style at Home with it's accessible style and lack of Linda Reeves (the too-much-to-take rich lady publisher of CHH) is the clear winner. I laughed this week when they both arrived, looking very much like each other - see above images (aren't there spies in magazine world to warn against things like this?) and a desperate plea letter from CHH to renew my subscription at never-before-seen prices.
I know this is all blah-blah-blah in the scheme of things but I do love a good fight...and all's fair in love and publishing.