Shelter Mag Smack Down: Elle Decor vs. Met Home

On the same day that the news broke of Domino's demise, I received my March issues of both Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home in the mail.  Each Magazine crying out:  read me first! I'm better!  I deserve to survive this dreary economy!  Oh, and how about you renew your subscription while you're at it?  With the passing of several shelter magazines over the last several months, rest in peace, Vogue Living, one has to wonder what it takes to stay alive, and furthermore, to stay on top.  Rather than picking a mag to read first, I flipped through them simultaneously, page for page, I compared these last-men-standing, to see which would survive the battle of the fittest.

While Elle delivers color, PUPPIES!, and lots of Madeline Weinrib, Met Home gives me an arch lamp, KITTENS!, and a light filled, but otherwise dull space.

Cover Challenge winner:  Elle Decor.  While I am more of a cat person, I do prefer all the fuchsia to those drab gray sofas.  The bent-wood chaise is endearing, but a bit to Viking for my taste.

On the left, Elle's table of contents gives us 3 preview shots of upcoming stories, while Met only shows us one.  Met really makes it count though, with that uber-hot gold table on the right hand side.

Table of Contents Challenge Winner:  Draw, not only do these two look nearly identical side by side - perhaps someone's graphic designer is moonlighting? - but even the copy editors seem to be collecting paychecks from both companies:  Met Home headlines with "Capitol Gains," a story, presumably on a DC home, while Elle Decor spoon feeds us "Insider Trading" a slightly more mysterious title but with little variation from the former.

For some reason, I always read the editor's letter in any magazine.  I don't know why, they're never that great and tend to be the editorial version of a beauty pageant contestant's response to her question on current events.  Margaret Russell kills in her letter this time, bringing both praise and criticism to this year's Top Design winner, Nathan Thomas.  Margaret seems to appreciate Nathan's style, but the letter acts as a disclaimer reminding the readers that she would rather set fire to her hair then have his hastily decorated apartment in her magazine, but, well, rules is rules.  Donna Warner talks about the economy (snooze) and a bunch of trade shows she visited that had fabulous(!!!) new items, none of which appear in this month's magazine.  

Editor's Letter Challenge Winner:  Elle Decor.  Mrs. Warner drove a hard bargain posing next to that horse, and, I tell you, it just about tipped the scales, but Mrs. Russell's letter was too good to pass up.

Each magazine gives a sneak peak of the items we will most surely crave in the up coming months, according to Elle, we will want lots of pattern, color and well, pattern and color.  Apparently, Met Home thinks we will want a bunch of crappy stuff painted black and awkwardly framed.  What you cannot see here is that Met Home's "Word" section is actually sprinkled with more variety than Elle's but it's a bit confusing and across the map... soooo:

Trend Spotting Challenge Winner:  Elle Decor.  While I appreciate the variety in the Met Home display (again, not fully shown) I value the clarity of vision presented by Elle just a little bit more.  This was a tough call and I really wish that the horse from the table of contents had been in this section, making my choice that much easier.

Each magazine has a lead story that veers a bit off course from the rest of the edition's fare:  Russell delivers on her promise to feature Top Designer, Nathan, while Warner gives us some brew-ha-ha about prefab houses.  Honestly, I didn't read the article, I already subscribe to Dwell.

Lead Story Challenge Winner:  Draw.  You may remember that Erin and I already covered Top Design ad nauseam, so that was a bit old hat, about as old as, say, prefab housing.

Elle and Met Home each take a tour of the globe bringing us back the most salacious treats our hearts can handle, and will most surely kill to obtain. Elle Decor promises that butterflies are the new black, while Met Home counters with the argument that we will all be causing riots in the streets to get our hands on every possible bit of fuchsia.  (Remember, Fuchsia was all over the cover of Elle, so, apparently, they unknowingly agree)

What's Hot Now Challenge Winner:  Met Home.  Ok, Elle Decor, Butterflies?  Really?  I know that the last butterfly trend was laid to rest circa 1999, so, working on the 10-year-trend-cycle, mathematically, these winged beauties should be on deck, but I have to say, sometimes trend math is wrong and I'd really like to pop those suckers back in the vault for another 5 years.  Met Home, on the other hand, you've read my mind:  I really have been into the hot pink lately.  Pssst, you would have scored double if you'd trash-talked red, currently my least favorite color.

All of our contributors spend hours upon hours to bring us the best pieces of furniture currently in production.  Elle is loving floor lamps this month, while Met gives us a taste of love seats, nesting tables (small space issue) and convertible sofas.

Individual Medley Winner: Draw.  Wile each magazine had a couple of pieces of eye-candy, none were lust worthy and most were on par with an after-dinner-mint rather than a big bowl of chocolate mousse.  

Finally, each magazine dukes it out with their version of decor porn.  First up:  Elle

A few of the more notable rooms from this edition, each are from different homes.  Meh.  While I would probably live in most of them, I'm not really peeing my pants with excitement either.

Next Up, Met Home: 

Really, only a few things stood out to me in this issue:  the mirrored wall in photo 1 (drool) the cocktail table, bottom left (gold!) and the barely visible side-table, bottom right (leather bar!)

Home Tour Challenge Winner:  Elle Decor.  While I would never consider quantity over quality, Elle certainly seems to have both.  I would like each editor to turn it up a notch, though.  You, Me, Erin and the rest of the design blog-o-sphere drop design bombs day after day, most of which induce much more hyperventilation and raised heart rates than these entire magazines combined.  We all know there's so much more out there, so why did I just spend my weekend putting together this post while intermittently yawning?


Did you know chevron (no, not the gas station) is the new zebra? Seriously, it's everywhere. Exhibit A:

walnut wallpaper chevron

Walnut Wallpaper's amazing collection of wall coverings includes this hand printed beauty by Paper Mills, which is even named Zebra, although clearly it's a chevron pattern, right? I like this so much better than zebra (even though I do, of course, have the ubiquitous rug in my dining room) because it's less safari and more classic. Plus I totally feel like I could paint or stencil this (a la Karly, the stencil queen) on a wall myself!

Exhibit B: When I saw this post on Decorno's blog featuring House of Mann fabric in the grandest scale ever, I knew I was going to have to do some serious shopping research into this chevron business.

chevron canopy

I already see myself lazing away in this canopy while DH fans me with palm fronds and feeds me grapes... I have a feeling he probably doesn't share the same vision, but I may have to order some of that fabric for outdoor cushions anyway. House of Mann swears it's mildew and UV resistant, and since hemp is a renewable resource, it might temporarily assuage some of the guilt borne by my rampant consumerist tendencies. Probably not, though.

Exhibit... whatever: Once I started looking in earnest, I found that chevrons come in a zillion color combinations, some resembling Missoni from its heyday in the seventies, and some even produced by Missoni today.

chevron montage

Clockwise from top left: Pillow by Twinkle Living at Design Public, Lulu DK chevron fabric, Missoni's current offerings at Sak's Fifth Avenue, and a crazy awesome hooked wool rug from the American Country Home Store. Yep.

Although I am digging some of the colorful options -- especially that insane rug -- I really like chevron  best when it pairs one light tone with one dark one, because simplicity is the chevron's ace in the hole. Check out these amazing Madeline Weinrib Rugs. Don't worry. They're not expensive. They are ridiculously expensive, because Madeline Weinrib is an atelier, you see, and things made by an atelier (insert accent) cost a lot of money. Don't ask me why.

madeline weinrib

(Photo on right courtesy of Domino)

God, I really want that rug, but I'm not a millionaire... crap, I'm not even a thousandaire, so I may have to do as adorable deal hunter Nick Olsen did and whitewash a flatweave rug (like a dhurrie, sisal or seagrass) and then paint some colored chevron stripes on it:

nick olsen's apartment

(Photo courtesy of Bellasugar)

Love the navy, white, and oregano green, paint palette... and do I spy a hint of my new favorite color in there? Dreamy!

My last issue of Domino also featured this super cool chevron patterned urn distributed by Zocalo:

chevron urn

Hooray for the foray into 3D surfaces! The chevron does a great job of defining volume and classic black and white always works because it's graphic enough to be punchy, white still accommodating a range of decorating possibilities. This chevron has all the positive attributes of the beloved zebra print, but it just doesn't feel like it's trying so hard.