Tuesday 31 March 2009

Architectural Digest- 25 Years of Inspiration

ad cover exotic homes

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

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!

thomas pheasant

In Sept. 2003, Thomas Pheasant let us peek into his Georgetown Gatehouse-  Photography by Durston Saylor

sills huniford AD

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.

ad legends cover

ad cover ad 100

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 gramer ad

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.

mindel and photo by scott frances AD

Interior Design by Shelton, Mindel and Associates, Photography by Scott Frances, AD April, 2002

photo by scott frances arch digest calder rose Tarlow

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!

portfolio sketches by me of mark hampton albert haley sketches by me for kwalntlen mmorelan a hadley sketches AD my portfolio for kwantlen 1 albert haley

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.

patricia ADpatricia 2

Interior Design- Patricia Gray, Photography- Roger Brooks; Architectural Digest, Dec. 2006

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.

thad hayes

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!


Anonymous said...

Fabulous post, Architectural Digest does always truly inspire. And I love where you began sketching vs. where you are now! Congratulations on an amazing transformation!!

DesignTies said...

Thank you so much for sharing your first sketches with us. I say this in the nicest and most positive way... seeing how far you've come since your first sketches is so inspiring. They show that you have to start somewhere, and that you can't expect to be perfect the first (or second or fifth or twentieth) time you do something new :-) I hope that comes across as the compliment that I intended it to be!! :-)

I pick up a copy of Architectural Digest now and then, but I'm not a regular reader. I think that'll have to change after reading and seeing the pictures in your post :-)


Fifi Flowers said...

AD is definitely a GORGEOUS magazine... you have quite a collection!

Unknown said...

It's almost impossible to source AD over here in Oz ... so thanks for showing me!

Unknown said...

Hi Michelle
What a great tribute for Architectural Digest. It is one of the ONLY shelter magazines to have stood the test of time. I just noticed recently under the title that is called "The International Magazine of Design". It was the first magazine that I read when I was in Design School and still continues to be my monthly read. As it was always a dream of mine to be published in this prestigous magazine, imagine my excitement when this happened to me. The article was subsequently published in the Italian Architectural Digest and it was on the newstands when I was visiting there. Imagine the rush I got in the airport waiting to catch a plane and I picked up this magazine from the newstand and saw myself published. Thanks for the mention!

Ivy Lane said...

My love affair with AD has been about 15 years! Longer than most marriages!! Great post!

Red River Interiors,LLC said...

Your collection of AD is fab...I also love your sketches and am a Patricia Gray fan too... Fay

Maria Killam said...

Love this post! I discovered AD when I was 20 and have loved it every since. Nothing like sitting down with a fresh one! My home reflects my obsession with magazines.

Brillante Interiors said...

What a treat this Post!
I read and collected the Italian version of AD magazine (published by Giorgio Mondadori who recently passed away)since the first issue in 1981. The sad part is that I had to leave them behind when I moved from Milan a few years ago.
Michelle...your drawing skills then and now...unbelievable! so I may have hope? You inspired me to draw again.

qerat said...

Wonderful post Michelle.
I started buying AD in 1984, then got addicited and started looking for back issues wherever I could find them. Still have them all. In the past 3-4 years i started buying the Italian AD which (even though I cannot read) I enjoy a bit more.
Your drawings were great to see and share and I am sure they would inspire many.

Jeff said...

I am AD big fan - I have all the AD from Spain - I grew up with them and I still get them. Around the 7th of every month I get my issue on the mail and it is definitely one of my favorite days of the month - It is like the perfect porn - spanish text and the magic of AD design.

DesignTies said...

Thank you so much for writing about AD, Michelle. My Mom, who passed away a few years back, was a collector of AD magazines. She would share each issue with me and we would pour over the pages together! Such a great memory... one I hate to admit that I'd kind of forgotten until I read your post. Again, thank you!

smart mama said...

I am desperately searching to find a track arm sofa like the one in TH/ AD spread (see in your pic in blue also in the yellowish in april 2009)- I have the arch digest page sitting on my desk- any help greatly appreciated