People often ask ‘What's the most popular type of magazine in your store?’ I'm sure they expect this to be fashion, travel, or maybe art. Well, it most definitely is not art. I’ve looked at the figures, with a hunch that it might be travel, and it turns out to be interior design. It’s hardly surprising when you think about it, given that many more of us are spending time at home right now. The urge to redesign or rejuvenate our living spaces is an understandable itch.
So we’re always keen to welcome a new entrant in this area. The Modern House is an innovative, high end online real estate agency founded by former design journalists Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill, and its a well established brand that will be familiar to anyone who likes to gawk at dream houses. It has a new extension, The Modern House Magazine, and it’s a lifestyle magazine. It was inevitable, say the Gibberd and Hill in their intro, although we might have anticipated an interiors magazine. That’s loosely going on here (some of the homes have been selling on www.themodernhouse.com), but it’s as much about modern living as the modernist home, or as The Modern House lays it out, it’s looking at 'what it means to live in a thoughtful, considered way both in and out of the home'.
Anyone hoping for an interior design magazine can console themselves with the fact that, to a large extent, the website holds down that end. The lifestyle component running through here is a relief and a positive development because design at the modernist, minimalist end can be somewhat arid and samey at times. The magazine is certainly coolly designed and structured but, as we’ve observed in our product description on this site, there's real depth and genuine warmth in these pages and it offers a very decent nosey around the personal and professional spaces of interesting people.
The first outing inspects the homes of Studio Nicholson founder Nick Wakeman, architect Sarah Wigglesworth and Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins, and YBA artist Keith Coventry. It’s not all about the buildings – architect Gunnar Groves-Raines whisks us to Wildland, the rewilding project by Anne and Ander Holch Povlsen on their Scottish estates, before quickly removing us to the backyard garden of organic food grower Claire Ratinon. The photography is varied and abundant and the magazine mixes a number of tones, paper stocks and finishes to evoke a range of moods and atmosphere; the severe grandeur of Scottish highlands contrasts with the serene domesticity of 1950s Dulwich estate home of Corey Hemingway which, with an Apartamento-like eye, roves over her extensive record collection as much as the minimalist mid-century stylings of the space.
Design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn contributes a personal top ten list of design books and the Toast people pop up to describe some of the rustic inspiration for the brand. There’s quite a bit of foody stuff, including recipes for the modern kitchen, DIY musings, music recommendations, designer names to watch, the inevitable bookshelves and more.
It amounts to a very satisfying collection over 136 pages, housed in a modestly sized but handsome volume that is partially sheathed in a brown card wrap that proclaims the issue number. Give it a home.