The July 2009 issue of House Beautiful is really great, probably the best this year. Thats hard to beat when you're one of the top decor magazines left and each issue seems to get progressively better. However, I have a small problem with this month's 'Theme', Small Spaces, and decided to air my concerns in this open letter.
You do realize, House Beautiful, that the apartments and houses pictured in this issue ARE NOT SMALL. Neither are the rooms pictured in these houses particularly small. The only exception would be the kitchen of the month on page 108; I've seen smaller and it wasn't the first adjective that came to mind, but it's small, I'll give you that.
While the apartments pictured aren't huge and may seem somewhat small to the suburbanite in a mcmansion -they are large apartments to us city dwellers. The house featured on page 96, cute and cottagey as it is, is not a small house. What WERE your qualifications for a 'small space', because I'm not seeing it. PS - a 'guesthouse' doesn't count....as it's basically a guest room -BUT A WHOLE BUILDING bigger than most people's houses as a whole!
This gigantic sized notion of what a home (and a car or even a meal) should be is one of the problems I think this country is facing right now. Remember the houses built after WWII that no one wants anymore? Whole families, larger then the average family of today, lived in these houses: college graduation till death. Do 2 people really need 4,000 SF? Is this environmentally or fiscally responsible? Not to mention the fact that to decorate a whole house beautifully requires a lot of time, energy and money which not everyone has at their disposal. One of the biggest problems being "what do I use this space for?".
I would love to see pictures of a thoughtfully decorated ACTUAL small space. Remember Cottage Living? They featured some small spaces (before closing shop earlier this year). How about a 1920's 2 bedroom bungalow that measures in at under 1,000 sf? How about more studio apartments creatively and beautiful decorated? Nick Olsen's studio apartment was featured in Domino and was a huge success (remember those 2 twin beds, the acid green color and the beautiful fireplace?). I currently live in a small space (475 SF studio apartment -which is an AVERAGE sized studio and was featured HERE) and I am always looking for new and creative ways to improve my space: Maybe next month you'll feature something small, or at least not tease me with a theme on the cover? Thank you for listening.
Pictures are of my first apartment out of college: a truly small space at 375 SF that I loved living in for 3 years. I realize it wasn't beautifully done or magazine worthy but it is an example of a truly small space.
PS: the 'One-Day Makeover' on page 72-77 is probably the most brilliant thing I've ever seen in a magazine before!