I have had a love affair with Architectural Digest since the early eighties. That was when I discovered it on my news stand while looking for Seventeen. It was the Exotic Homes Around the World issue, and I remember being hooked instantly. A home in Mexico was featured, where there were no exterior walls, making the outdoor and indoor of the home seamless. I had never seen anything like it.
This was a step up from the Sears catalogue that served as my first design magazine. I grew up in a very small town (less than 1000 at the time), and the Sears Catalogue was our only way to buy, aside from a 2 hour trip to a, not much better town, Growing up, I felt culturally isolated, but AD represented the best of the best …and set my life path in motion.
My AD library…the last 10 years
Over the years I didn’t miss the AD100 issues, following the careers of Thomas Pheasant, Carleton Varney, Scott Snyder, Michael Smith, David Rockwell and Mariette Himes Gomez to name a few. I have been introduced to the Legends of Design; Elsie de Wolfe, Albert Haley, John Michel Frank, William Haines, Sister Parish, David Hicks, Andree Putman and Mark Hampton, again, just a sampling. New favourite designers emerged, like Anouska Hempel and relationships were revealed, when I realized Alexa Hampton was following in her father’s footsteps. I visited places mentioned, like the Dylan in Amsterdam, Taliesen West and the Delano in Miami; all amazing!
Remember this bathroom by Sills Huniford in April of 2002? A 290 gallon Japanese tub over looking Manhattan…they got my attention, although I have heard they have split.
Later, Paige Rense’s introduction, the Designer’s Own Homes issue and Interior Design Legends became reading I looked forward to. Celebrities homes like John Travolta, Diane Keaton and Demi Moore have been memorable among others. Kelsey Grammer’s home in Hawaii was so inspiring!
Kelsey Grammer in Maui, Interior Design by Kathy Merrill, ASID, Photography by Mary E. Nichols
The photos in AD are top notch…I have been introduced to the photography of Tim Street-Porter and Scott Frances. From southern mansions, Mexican open air homes to west coast modern tree houses, the magazine both looks forward and backwards to give us the full story. Even the ads are worth browsing.
Interior Design by Shelton, Mindel and Associates, Photography by Scott Frances, AD April, 2002
Interior by Rose Tarlow, photos by Scott Frances, Architectural Digest
Albert Haley’s sketches featured in 1994, inspired me to do these sketches for my portfolio to be accepted to Kwantlen. The magazine featured Mark Hampton’s book –Decorating, and it was my reference for this fearless sketch; one that I look at now, and makes me realize how far I have come…eek!
Vancouver’s Patricia Gray has graced your pages…a well deserved honour for great solutions and a beautifully designed Gastown loft. I now know the Regina chair by Poltrona Frau, and how to deal with just 3” of ceiling plenum space. Being one of the only Canadian designers to grace the pages, I think she has yet to pull her trump card, since all of her projects are AD worthy.
AD has gone in and out of vogue, but I have religiously collected the issues since my early 20’s. New magazines have come and gone, but AD has stood the test of time, I believe, because of the roots of design they embrace and the quality of the photos and the homes featured. I have also considered that it may appeal to a more mature demographic, since they don’t focus on the DIY, but Interior Design as a profession.
This months issue got me thinking of AD for several reasons- first because Albarosa’s McGuire chairs are on page 145, and we were admiring them at her dinner party. Also, because of the gorgeous beach house by Thad Hayes and Stelle Architects on page 82. The dining room of a palatial Mansion in New Orleans (on page 108) by Alexa Hampton has been marked for a rendering, because of the historical feel and greens.
Interior Design – Thad Hayes, Photography – Scott Frances; Architectural Digest, April, 2009
So, thanks for the inspiration AD! I hope you continue to offer education and insight, to us all, for a long time to come!