Author Archives: Michelle Jones

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Elle Decor Magazine’s Mapmaker Publishes Compilation Book

corwin maps frontcover.jpgFor the past seven years, illustrator Lena Corwin‘s quirky, colorful maps have been a regular feature of Elle Decor magazine‘s monthly city portraits. Corwin’s interpretations of city hubs include simplified, angular renderings of landmarks positioned among thick yellow lines of streets and thoroughfares.

Not exactly made for precise navigation, her maps are instead a combination of city plan and city fantasy.

For April, Corwin’s map of Barcelona accompanies Andrew Ferren’s story on the city, but that’s not the only place you’ll find her work this month. Forty of her maps–20 of U.S. cities, 20 from around the world–have been collected in the aptly titled “Maps,” published through Other Books, the small publishing company she cofounded with Maria Vettese.

HomeMagascene first read about Corwin’s new book on the Design*Sponge blog, then decided to track her down to find out more about the book and the maps we’ve been enjoying for all these years.

HomeMagascene: How many maps have you done for Elle Decor since beginning in 2004?
Lena Corwin: Sixty-nine; I have drawn a map for each issue for the last seven years. (Elle Decor publishes nine issues per year.)

HM: How long does it take you to create a map?
LC: Usually about six to eight hours, plus time for revisions.

lena_corwin_map_copenhagen.jpgHM: What’s your process/how do you start?
LC: I initially looked at vintage books for inspiration; I love old children’s books. For creating each map, I start by tracing a real map of the city to draw the roads, then I look at photos of the buildings, monuments, and other points of interest.

HM: What materials do you work in and how large are your original works?
LC: My original works are about double the size in the book. I use a Wacom tablet to draw directly in Photoshop. I like to play around with the shape and style of the icons in the map–but still keeping them true to reality.

HM: What led you to create Maps, the compilation?
LC: People kept asking me to turn the maps into a book!

HM: Your last map for Elle Decor is scheduled to run in the May issue. What are you working on now?
LC: I’m starting to plan new projects now, although I’m still on maternity leave for the most part. I have several new book ideas taking shape!


House Beautiful Magazine Receives Its First-Ever ASME Nomination

house_beautiful_subscription_april2011.jpgThough they’ll have to wait just over a month to find out whether they’ve actually won, the team members responsible for House Beautiful magazine already have something to celebrate. House Beautiful is one of five finalists in the Food, Travel and Design Magazine category of the annual National Magazine Awards presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

This is the first time House Beautiful has been nominated since the awards began in 1966; the magazine, meanwhile, predates the awards by 70 years. It’s also a bit of a coup since the magazine got a new editor-in-chief last year, as did a few other titles.

House Beautiful’s editorial change, from Stephen Drucker to Newell Turner, happened during the first quarter; the June issue marked Turner’s debut.

While I’m a little surprised this is House Beautiful’s first nomination, I’m not surprised that it scored one for 2010. In fact, the magazine got my nod for Best Home Interiors Magazine for the year. One of the things it did particularly well in 2010 was discuss and use color–on the cover and in a monthly column devoted to choices for different rooms or parts of rooms.

House Beautiful’s April issue demonstrates some of the magazines best approaches to editorial, including the monthly “I Love My Bed” column in which a designer or celebrity talks about much more than his or her bed and bedroom. This time around, Cindy Crawford displays a wry sense of humor while introducing her new line of bed linens.

Quick hits of design are offered in the features at the front of the issue; this month that includes silhouette patterned wallpaper and “preppy” fabrics like gingham, a spring-like ikat in pink and green, and an argyle pattern. This month’s cover is another example of a compelling image paired with colorful (again, with color) blurbs and logotype. In fact, this cover deserves extra kudos because the dining room shown looks surprisingly devoid of color as pictured in the feature story.

Another nice touch in this and every issue is Turner’s editor’s letter, located at the start of the features as opposed to the magazine’s opening pages. Laid out like a designer’s inspiration/project file with photos and swatch imagery “clipped” to it, the letter puts the spreads that follow it into context.

Congratulations, House Beautiful–and good luck.


April Magazine Subscriptions Invite Readers to Take a Seat

dwell_magazine_subscription_april2011.jpgIf you love chairs, you’ll really enjoy your magazine subscriptions this month. Pull up a seat, because features on chairs turn up in three April magazines.

Garden Variety: Head outside with help from Martha Stewart Living magazine‘s story on outdoor seating. Along with hammocks, porch swings (one reminiscent of a traditional English garden bench) and ottomans, there are chairs that go way beyond plastic patio furniture, including a teak interpretation of a Louis XVI armchair and a tall red filigree chair.

Sit for Less: Dwell magazine‘s April edition is for you with it’s whole-issue focus on affordable design. More on that later. For now, just note that nine inexpensive chairs are evaluated in this month’s “Dwell Reports” story. An iconic Eames chair (“It’s so popular, it’s become ubiquitous–see practically every issue of Dwell,” the copy reads); a classic Thonet bentwood, and other seats each costing less than $250.

Chairs That Rock: House Beautiful magazine‘s April “I’m Looking
for A…” column focuses on rocking chairs. Among the nine styles
spotlighted: traditional straight back, short modernist wire, porch and
wicker versions. A few whimsical takes are also included.

Speaking of rocking chairs, that reminds me of the Elizabeth Lane character in “Christmas in Connecticut.” “Another rocking chair? You already have eight,” her suitor says when one is delivered to her apartment. “Thirty-eight. The rest are in the basement,” she replies. In case you’ve missed this chestnut starring Barbara Stanwyck, the character writes a popular food column and her devoted readers are sending rocking chairs because she mentioned searching for one in a previous column.

Me, I’m holding out for a Herman Miller Aeron chair in “True Black.”


On the Hunt for Eggs in April Issues of Your Magazine Subscriptions

martha_stewart_living_subscription_april2011.jpgRemember that commercial jingle, the “Incredible Edible Egg”? You might find yourself singing the words to yourself as you read your favorite magazines this month.

Used as a symbol for spring and for Easter, the egg turns up in recipes, photo spreads, craft pages and other places. Sometimes it’s in features, and sometimes you’ll feel like you’re on an egg hunt when you come across a little tidbit of egg information.

Which Came First?:
In the case of April magazine covers, the eggs come first. Martha Stewart Living magazine‘s cover features an eggshell-like bowl full of eggs in white and various hues of blue. One is cracked and stuffed with foil-wrapped treats. County Living magazine’s cover also features a white dish full of eggs, these covered in swirling earth-tone designs. All You magazine, meanwhile, has pink and yellow eggs on a pale blue cake stand.

Duck, Duck, Goose: A reader asked, so Martha Stewart Living gives tips for dyeing and decorating ostrich, emu, duck and goose eggs.

country_living_magazine_subscription_april2011.jpgEggs Over Easy: Decorating eggs can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. This year the trick seems to be decorating them with stickers. Brilliant and oh-so easy. Find suggestions in Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Edible: What to do with all those beautifully decorated eggs once you’ve recovered them from their hiding places? Recipes for hard-cooked eggs in Real Simple magazine and Good Housekeeping go way beyond deviled eggs.

And Incredible: There’s much more about eggs in April’s magazines, including using the shells as fertilizer (Good Housekeeping magazine) and five more ideas for eggshells in Real Simple.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get cracking!


Travel + Leisure Subscription Inspires Travel Envy

travel_leisure_subscription_april2011.jpgLast year, I was subject to a weird phenomenon. After returning from a two-week odyssey through Germany and Denmark, I found stories about the places I’d visited everywhere, as in my favorite magazines and newspaper. Not just the usual centuries-old tourist attractions, mind you: very specific places (a cultural center in Leipzig) and people (a noted typographer). It was weird.

So far this year my magazine subscriptions are only imitating other people’s lives.

Take Travel + Leisure magazine‘s April issue with its story on Icelandic cuisine. Sounds fairly random, right? As it happens, a good buddy of mine just got back from Iceland. A gorgeous postcard arrived today, as did a link to a gallery of his stunning photos of glaciers, lakes and geysers.

(This is the same buddy, by the way, whose upcoming Istanbul trip came to mind as I read a recent issue of Forbes Life magazine, so you can see where a certain degree of envy–at his joie de vivre and itineraries–is understandable.)

So, with Iceland on the brain, I opened Travel + Leisure to find fantastic images of Nordic vistas, interiors, and a cuisine that requires a curious palette, if not acquired tastes for reindeer, pickled berries and the like.

Honestly, I knew this subscription was likely to have me mentally packing my bags and plotting my next trips, I just didn’t expect such a bizarre coincidence. Though it has become increasingly popular, and last year’s volcanic eruption certainly made people more aware of the country, Iceland isn’t exactly England or France, or even Costa Rica when it comes to ubiquitous travel destination.

Yet the same defiantly, vibrantly painted structures I’d just viewed on my monitor were laid out on glossy page after glossy page as I read through the magazine. Thus, magazines imitating life–and feeding travel envy.


Money Magazine’s Guide to DIY

money_magazine_subscription_april2011.jpgWhat? Yep, you read that headline correctly, Money magazine offers do-it-yourself advice in its April issue.

Make that two kinds of DIY. First up, three pages of the traditional type of DIY. Here readers will find tips on repairing lawns ravaged by a rough winter, a guide to planting to weather next year’s cold months and how to make sure you’re not overdoing it when you opt for home-improvement projects. (One example, don’t add more granite and stainless steel than you’ll recoup when selling your home.)

So much for playing This Old House magazine; Money sticks to its financial magazine role with the second DIY story. Snappily titled “The Case for DIY–and When You’d Be Crazy to Go It Alone,” this story includes clever illustrations and informative charts and graphics in an examination of a range of potential–and sometimes surprising–DIY projects and the variables that should be factored into any decision to go it alone.

Preparing your own taxes, applying for college, writing a will may seem simple enough, but what of managing your own portfolio or creating a retirement plan?

Meanwhile, Money’s April cover story may be the ultimate DIY story: How to reach a million dollars. Say, what page was that on again?