A few years ago something great happened, Newell turner and his creative team put my home on the cover of house beautiful magazine. At the same time I was starting my blog and a new business, the cover and story really helped things take off for me and I will always be grateful that I was in the right place, at the right time.

I’m also grateful and thankful for magazines- i can’t think of anything i love more! They inspire me greatly- I love the beauty, the editorial stories and I live for every wednesday when all the new magazines hit my favorite newsstand  here in L.A. a few blocks away- i’m always the first one there come rain or shine, and they always have veranda, house beautiful and elle decor pulled for me (yes, i still go to the newsstand, i get them more quickly that way because i can’t even wait a day for my subscriptions).

so, you can only imagine how excited i was to be able to interview newell turner, editorial director of the hearst design group. like many of you, i had a million questions for newell about his new role and the merging of veranda, house beautiful and elle decor into one group.

what i found out was that everything i love about the magazines would stay the same, and that the behind the scenes changes are only going to make them better. with great excitement newell also shared with me so many new and innovative things the magazines are planning to do over the next few years…..all i can say is, “just wait” and if it’s at all possible,  i actually think i’m going to love all these magazines more than i already do!

thanks Newell for participating in this interview- you are not only a gentleman, and one of the kindest people i know, you are also helping make the design world a much better place!

MDS- You have been in the new role as editorial director of the Hearst Design Group for over a year now. What will change with each magazine (Veranda, House Beautiful and Elle Decor) and what will stay the same?

NT- As the editorial director of the Hearst Design Group I work with all three magazines, but there are still editors in chief responsible for the direction and editorial content of each magazine. So, I have the wonderful opportunity of working with incredible people, which includes all of our team and staff, but in particular Michael Boodro at Elle Décor and Clint Smith at Veranda. I’m also still the editor in chief of House Beautiful.

MDS- How are you juggling overseeing all of the magazines and also being the editor in chief of House Beautiful?

NT-It’s been challenging, but exciting time for magazines. Traditionally we’re all print publications, but now we’re also publications on a variety of digital platforms, too. I’m working with all three magazines to develop all of those digital opportunities. As a group, we have a lot of advantages within Hearst and in the world at large. Each of our magazines in the Hearst Design Group offer very distinct and clear points of view. While there is a small amount of readers who overlap among the three, each magazine has a very large, healthy, distinct readership. I like the challenges of growing our magazines and expanding the ways we communicate with our readers.

MDS- I’m loving the new pop up editor feature at House Beautiful- what’s coming up?

NT- Pop-up editors bring fresh, smart ideas and energy to House Beautiful. We’re choosing these editors very carefully and specifically for their appeal to readers. We’ve just finished our February issue, which is the third issue to have a pop-up editor. Sarah Costello, the creative director of the original Domino, collaborated with us. I’ve known and admired Sarah’s work for many years at The Wall Street Journal and now at the New York Times’ T Magazine. Each experience working with a pop-up editor has been a different experience, and we’ve been growing in how we work with them. The important answer, though, is that pop-up editors are just one of the ways that House Beautiful keeps evolving and being a leader in our business. It’s all about creating exciting, engaging content for our readers. In many ways, we’re in the entertainment business.

Ellen Niven, Newell and Chesie Breen who was House Beautiful’s October pop-up editor.

Newell, Charlotte Moss and Shax Riegler- Charlotte was the House Beautiful pop-up editor for November.

Sarah Ruffin Costello- the next pop-up editor coming up in the February 2014 issue of House Beautiful.


MDS- What’s coming up at veranda and elle decor?

NT- ELLE DECOR is celebrating its big 25th anniversary in 2014 and Clint Smith’s first issue as editor in chief of VERANDA will be out in January. For more, you’ll have to ask Michael Boodro and Clint Smith! It’s a very exciting time, a very exciting year in store for the Hearst Design Group.


MDS- If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

NT-These are great questions. I’m always fantasizing about some alternate life. It’s usually the result of some place I’ve just been or something I’ve just seen. After a trip to Rome last year, I started dreaming of a year at the American Academy in Rome making a magazine—very hands-on as either something you literally hold in your hands or alternately as something you visit in the digital world. I’d love some “time apart” to explore this intersection of communication—something that combines print and digital in a natural way that makes sense if you stop and think about it, but is so appropriate and right you don’t stop and think about it. You just enjoy. I love the art of magazine making, and that’s what I look forward to nurturing here at the Hearst Design Group.


MDS- Who or what is inspiring you right now?

NT- Most of it is in the current issue of House Beautiful.


MDS- What is your favorite gift to give or to receive?

NT- It’s got to be something with thought and intention for the recipient. I don’t have a go-to gift.


MDS- What are your plans for the Holidays?

NT- I’m diving into family. I’m flying down for a nice long visit with my family in the Delta in Mississippi.


MDS- What do you want to be known for?

NT- That’s really deep and not something I’ve thought about. But, in general I want to be remembered as a good person who lived a rich, full life doing things that made himself and others happy.

MDS- OK, I have to ask- What do you think is chic, stylish and glamorous?

NT- The two things that just popped into my head, right now: 1. An English room, meaning a room with a floor plan and organization that gives it many places to be and enjoy in a variety of ways. Nancy Lancaster, for instance, knew how to create a room for living. And, 2. Something I’ll call rustic modern. It’s something I see as clean, contemporary architecture or decorating with warm, tactile surfaces. Simple/rich. Bold/restrained. Look at the work of my design heroes, the legendary California decorators Michael Taylor and John Dickinson.



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