5 Reasons Your Interior Designs May NOT Be Published

We’re so thrilled to have the opportunity to share a guest blog post by our friend, and magazine editor, Lisa Mowry! Lisa is the genius behind more than 1,000 features for national and local magazines. Needless to say, she knows a bit about what it takes to have a space highlighted in a publication and why some stories just don’t make the cut.

photo by Christina Wedge
photo by Christina Wedge

Lisa Mowry has been a home and garden writer, editor and stylist for 25 years. She is the homes editor for Atlanta Magazine and Atlanta Magazine’s HOME, plus the regional editor for Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home and all their special interest magazines such as Country Home, Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, Décor, Elegant Homes and Country Gardens.

Without further ado, we give you Lisa’s take on 5 Reasons Your Interior Designs May NOT Be Published…

I get excited when I go to my inbox and see a designer’s name with the subject line, “New Project.” –I never know when the most amazing house will appear before me with all sorts of possibilities for one of my magazines. But sometimes the house in front of me may be beautiful—I may even wish I could move right in myself—yet it’s not a fit for the publications I work with. Here are a few reasons why:

1.It’s not unique enough. If a living room looks “showroom perfect,” that may be impressive to neighbors, but magazines need more depth and personal style. Just as in the world of fashion, often the best rooms have one unexpected element, or may include features both expensive and budget-friendly. Always a pleasure to see: original art, layers of visual interest, and good use of color. I see a lot of swanky white kitchens, for instance, (and included in that category are light gray and light beige) because we all love a light-and-bright place to eat and cook, but the magazines need to show ideas beyond white.

Interior designer Chenault James’s house for a Columbus, Georgia client hit a homerun with Traditional Home magazine, thanks to its classic lines with a few important twists: great architectural elements in the form of metal French doors and windows and the ceiling treatment, plus her clever mix of patterns while still maintaining a serene color palette. Professional photography by Emily Followill enhanced the project even more.
Interior designer Chenault James’s house for a Columbus, Georgia client hit a homerun with Traditional Home magazine, thanks to its classic lines with a few important twists: great architectural elements in the form of metal French doors and windows and the ceiling treatment, plus her clever mix of patterns while still maintaining a serene color palette. Professional photography by Emily Followill enhanced the project even more.

2.Your scouting photography doesn’t capture the space well. I depend on designers and architects to send me photos of their projects a lot of the time. Are professional photographs good to send? Yes, they can be helpful, but rarely tell the whole story. Magazine editors need more than one “money shot” of a room; we need to see all angles, vignettes and details, plus exteriors, and outdoor spaces. Good non-professional shots can be sufficient and are almost always needed to supplement professional photos. Don’t use a wide-angle lens and do turn off most lamps in a room so the lighting is more uniform. An artsy detail of a fern on a coffee table may be something you want for a blog post, but editors don’t need that sort of thing.

This master bedroom in a coastal cottage in Watercolor, Florida will be featured in Décor magazine. Rich pops of color and salvaged doors distinguish it from a typical beach-house look…nice work by Tim Adams. High ceilings don’t feel too large, thanks to the wood-plank walls and large-scale furnishings. Photography: Emily Followill
This master bedroom in a coastal cottage in Watercolor, Florida will be featured in Décor magazine. Rich pops of color and salvaged doors distinguish it from a typical beach-house look…nice work by Tim Adams. High ceilings don’t feel too large, thanks to the wood-plank walls and large-scale furnishings. Photography: Emily Followill

3.Your projects are too something: too big, too small, too low-end, too high-end. Cavernous two-story living rooms often don’t have a charm factor readers are looking for, and on the other end, the blogging world is filled with first homes having similar DIY looks.

Condos can be a harder sell for magazines because there often isn’t as much architectural charm, but interior designer Helen Davis’s own loft has the advantage of brick walls and an arched window, plus her own swanky furnishings: a colorful mix of vintage, repurposed and personal accessories. Atlanta Magazine has covered her place, and it will also appear in BH&G’s Refresh later this summer. Photography: Sarah Dorio
Condos can be a harder sell for magazines because there often isn’t as much architectural charm, but interior designer Helen Davis’s own loft has the advantage of brick walls and an arched window, plus her own swanky furnishings: a colorful mix of vintage, repurposed and personal accessories. Atlanta Magazine has covered her place, and it will also appear in BH&G’s Refresh later this summer. Photography: Sarah Dorio

4.There’s not enough to show. I can’t do much with one room, and designers often send me just the living room or dining room. Occasionally a unique room might work for a magazine (We have a regular feature in Atlanta Magazine called “Room Envy,” for instance), and some spaces such as kitchens or porches can warrant a whole feature, but in general, know that your chances to get published are limited with only one area.

Designer Sherry Hart took this scouting photo of a Buckhead project herself, but put the time into styling and getting the lighting right to accent this Zen-like bathroom. The bathroom itself combines textures and materials in a fresh way, and it will be featured in the fall issue of BH&G’s Kitchen & Bath Ideas.
Designer Sherry Hart took this scouting photo of a Buckhead project herself, but put the time into styling and getting the lighting right to accent this Zen-like bathroom. The bathroom itself combines textures and materials in a fresh way, and it will be featured in the fall issue of BH&G’s Kitchen & Bath Ideas.

5. Your project is over-exposed. Be careful not to let every blog around publish your best work; editors tend to shy away from homes where those good ideas have already been shown. That brings up some Magazine 101 refreshers: Don’t submit a project to more than one magazine at a time, and don’t always have your work in the same magazine. Once you get a reputation as a regular contributor to one publication, it can hurt your chances with others.

Wow! This is some fantastic – and super interesting info – for both designers and interior design appreciators alike… It’s amazing all that goes into the production of some of these beautiful home features!

A giant thank you to Lisa Mowry for taking the time to author this wonderful guest blog post and for sharing some of her behind-the-scenes tidbits on working with some of our favorite shelter publications!

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Tastemaker Tuesday: Eddie Ross

Steve first met Eddie Ross back when Eddie was working for House Beautiful and Steve was working for Larson-Juhl. Over the years, they were able to collaborate on many design projects and, together with Jill and Eddie’s partner Jaithan, they formed a close friendship.
Steve and Jill both value the rare moments they’re able to spend with Eddie and Jaithan, and we’re so pleased to finally have an opportunity to feature Eddie as a Tastemaker here, on the blog for steve mckenzie’s!
steve and eddie
Back in March of 2013, Eddie was named East Coast Producer/Editor for Print and Digital for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. In this role, Eddie produces home, decorating, DIY and entertaining stories for print, digital and video.
Prior to his role with BH&G, Eddie was Editorial Director of Rue La La, where he produced content across multiple channels, including online, mobile, and tablet. Ross has been a design, decorating, and food editor for Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, and Food Network. In addition to his print work, which has been featured in Elle Decor, Domino, Lonny and The New York Times. Ross has appeared in numerous TV specials for Martha Stewart, HGTV and Bravo. Ross graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.
Eddie Ross
Eddie Ross

1. What are three words that describe your aesthetic?

Eclectic, Colorful, Lived-in

2. Would you please share a little about your favorite space/project to date?

As an editor at BH&G, I get to work with a top-knotch crew, inspiring readers with real-life stories about people living in beautiful, comfortable homes that express their personal style. I feel so lucky to be able to do something for my job that I truly, honestly love!
BH&G
In addition to this, I’m loving working on a book with Jaithan, which will be coming out in the Summer of 2015.
3. What are the sources of your inspiration?
I’m constantly inspired by flea markets, tag sales, thrift shops–anywhere you can go and find beautiful, affordable things. I’ve seen a lot of high-end homes in my career, but I love being able to look to flea markets and create spaces that look magazine-worthy on a budget. I’m all about mixing high and low – buy a nice sofa, then mix things up with an Ikea table. It’s like wearing a really good pair of jeans and with an H&M top.
4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…
I would definitely invite Julia Child, Yves Saint Laurent, who has such fashion style, and to round out the party, let’s thrown in a Lindsay Lohan, because everyone needs a little hot mess here and there to add flavor!
apartmentcabinet
5. What’s a piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?
I would say my favorite piece of furniture is an antique pharmaceutical cabinet I found painted yellow at a junk shop for $50. My grandfather stripped it – and we found it was lined with zinc, and that all the hardware is solid copper and brass. I love it for it’s versatility – I’ve schlepped it to every apartment I’ve lived in and so far, it’s lived as a china cabinet, a linen closet, a medicine cabinet and now it’s in the library with books and magazines.
living room
6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way of doing a mix for someone’s own personal style. I don’t feel as if I can tell someone they have to mix stripes and florals or to just mix solids with a graphic pattern. In our place, the more pattern the better! I always pay attention to color and mix patterns with abandon. The sofa at our NYC apartment features a mix of leopard, tribal cloth, needlepoint, quilted pillows, all from different time periods. It all has to do with finding your own personal taste and style. If something makes you smile, it’s right. 
one of a kind
7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?”
I’m into one of a kind/vintage. I’m totally obsessed with vintage fabric; like chintz and out-of-print patterns… For me, it’s all about being one of a kind. These are the kinds of pieces that really make a home. You could have all the money in the world, but if your house looks like a brand new showroom, it’s totally impersonal and that’s not me.
 
I’m over chevron, trellis patterns in kelly green, and plain black and white spaces. There’s so many beautiful colors in the world, and I love waking up to color, it’s just happy.
black glitter etched art
8. How does artwork fit into your designs?
I think artwork is so important – it makes a room. I am a true believer that art needs to speak to the person who is going to live with it. Right now, I’m obsessed with LA-based artist Anna Ullman of A.E.U. Studio. Her paintings, monoprints and glittered wonders are fantastic! If you can afford it, investing in art is key. But for someone starting off, you can find lots of great things at a tag sale – just pop it out of the old frame, and surround it with a more modern frame. Once you get more settled in your career, then you can consider investing. I love all of my art – from the pieces I found when I was younger to the ones I’m collecting now. It adds to the overall, decorated look. Personally, I love Steve’s paintings; they’re colorful, beautiful, livable and add a modern take on traditional artwork.
eddie & jaithan
9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
Sour patch kids. I LOVE Sour Patch Kids. I literally couldn’t live without them. (Oh, and Jaithan too :-))
10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry.
Get ready for a lot of hard work. You really need to put yourself out there. Build relationships, do internships and be prepared to work for free. If you love it and are passionate about it, it’ll pay off in the long run.
That’s great advice Eddie – and such a fantastic interview; thank you! We’re so grateful to call Eddie a friend, and now a Tastemaker for our blog!