Finding the WOW factor ...

A few days ago, I received three magazines in the mail at once – Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Architectural Digest. I admit that the only reason I have a subscription to AD is that it was subbed in for another magazine that folded - so, I took my time about picking up the new issue. After all, I usually give it a quick glance, and then hand it off to my neighbor to take to the assisted living facility where she works (ouch). HB and ED are perused (many times) and then filed in my magazine archives – where I have kept most of my favorites since 2000!
Margaret Russell in her new office at Conde Nast, decorated by none other than Michael S. Smith. Lucky lady. Photo New York Times.
Click to enlarge any image.
When I finally picked up the AD today (the cover WAS beckoning), I was gobsmacked (kinda love that word – do you think a little British ancestry gives me the right to use it?) and so happy to finally see Margaret Russell's influence come to life on the pages. Since her appointment as editor last September, I've been waiting. And in fact, she has just announced (via The New York Times) the makeover and a new editorial staff (including a few who came over from Elle Decor). She has also picked up some of the best photographers in the field, including François Halard and Pieter Estersohn! Every home featured in the March issue has the wow factor that I'm always looking for. Even the obligatory celebrity feature is quite nice (designed by owner Sheryl Crow herself). 

A Michael Smith designed NY apartment is a bit of a shift for him (with a more uptown feel and an ultra-modern kitchen), but is stunningly executed with his usual attention to detail and history.

The living room features a pair of gilt-wood armchairs of Smith's own design. Parquet de Versailles wood floors covered in hammered German silver run throughout the apartment, and a bath with walls and ceiling paved with Davlin tiles (European gold leaf fused between two pieces of handcrafted glass) is quite a dazzling jewel box.

Daphne Guinness' place has the wow factor multiplied –   fierce, girly and luxurious. 

The Muriel Brandolini redesign of her own NY apartment is an evolution of her fabulous ethnic Vietnamese-modern dream into a calmer, more sleek and sophisticated version. 

As best as I can tell, this is the same room as above, before the recent makeover. It looks like the overhead fixture was swapped out for the crystal and jade ship chandelier (which I believe was in the entry hall, at one point), the wall shelves were removed, and the color palette tamed down. Which version do you prefer?

By the way, her redesigned dining room is not to be missed – as it features corduroy walls that have been hand-beaded with abstracted letters.

Pierre Passebon's Paris flat is just what I love – a quirky and artful combination of European sensibility and  individuality. The design is a collaboration with his partner, Jacques Grange.

As great as it is, the new incarnation of AD doesn't seem like it has quite reached its full potential. With the fairly small page size, the features feel confined and tight compared to ED, with its extra-wide, more luxurious size, but I'm sure Margaret will continue to work with her designers – and I can't wait to see how it evolves.

Looks like I'll be making more room on my bookshelves, because Architectural Digest is now a keeper!

(Oh, and don't miss the tented exercise room/gym.)


Jill Seidner | Interior Design said...

I have yet to pick up the latest issue of AD - but now I really must! Been hearing from a few others that it's worth "going back" to, I think I'll need to subscribe once again. Thanks for the preview!

Renée Finberg said...

you are right.
ALL the spaces are pretty much....

The Zhush said...

A keeper indeed! AD is finally BACK!