Monday, January 24, 2011

My Favorite Things: Art & Decoration

I am a sucker for French design magazines. When in Paris I buy them by the armload, but here I only buy Art & Decoration. I had a subscription to it for a year, but that was ridiculously expensive. Now, I buy one every three months or so, but make the trip to the Borders in town that carries it to have a coffee and read it (without buying) more often.

The pictorial spreads are marvelous, very French. The particular sense of style here is delightful, and the editors feature as many small spaces and inexpensive rooms as they focus on chateaux and country homes. Sometimes they show apartments, sometimes suburban or vacation homes, sometimes historical houses.

The point seems to be creating a functional, elegant, comfortable home with a distinct sense of style -- not spending lots and lots of money or the homes of famous people.

They also offer articles on individual cities throughout the French-speaking world (last month, Bruges), historical periods of style and antiques, artists or craft schools, and great "where to buy" sections focusing on individual items shown by color and style.

What I really like is the sense of style featured here. It is definitely not an American sensibility, but I am not certain I can describe what they do. Sometimes the rooms are incredibly contemporary, sometimes historical--but each one shows a definite use of color and texture, a sense of the smallest detail in terms of design and function, and a lack of crowding that is so completely part of borth American and British design magazines, where every surface is loaded with knick-knacks, collections, plants and flowers, mementos, and "stuff." And yet there is usually a sense of warmth in the rooms, a welcoming sense of comfort as well.

I have a few lurking around the house, and unlike the rest of my magazines, I hang on to these. I think of them as research, rather than clutter. For future reference.


  1. Ooh, that sounds like my kind of decorating magazine. I used to love Metropolitan Home many years ago, but can't find it anymore. I'll be on the lookout for this one next time I'm at the bookstore.

  2. I buy this one here in Canada whenever I'm at Maison Presse International. It's the best one.

  3. This is new to me. I will have to check the rack at Borders next time I'm in. I'm wondering if it is the sense of space that creates the difference.


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