Eleanor Griffin

If Time Inc.'s Cottage Living, set to launch this month, is any indication, post-Martha shelter and lifestyle magazines are going to leave some room for imperfections.

If Time Inc.'s Cottage Living, set to launch this month, is any indication, post-Martha shelter and lifestyle magazines are going to leave some room for imperfections.

Here, the much-discussed new magazine's editor, Eleanor Griffin, talks about what Cottage Living is about. PRWeek: How did the magazine develop? Eleanor Griffin: We've been in development for over three years. The whole concept is that whenever we had a cottage in Southern Living, Coastal Living, and Southern Accents, readership scores shot up. We looked at the competition and saw what's missing, and explored what "cottage" meant. We did a lot of concept testing and found that "cottage" is a powerful word. Like "beach" or "chocolate," it's a word that makes people smile. We decided to build the magazine around three words: comfort, simplicity, and style. People say, "Oh, Cottage Living; it's a shelter book for second homes." We say, "No, it's a lifestyle book for attainable, affordable style." We cover the whole lifestyle - cottage communities and so on. PRWeek: What kind of associations does "cottage" have, beyond the three words you mentioned? Griffin: If you ask 20 people to define "cottage," you'll get 20 different definitions. That's our strength. It's got a connotation of relaxation. It doesn't have to be perfect. In the houses in our magazine, there's a bit of imperfection. It looks like someone was living there five years ago. PRWeek: Has the nesting trend that followed 9/11 continued in the past three years? Griffin: Yes, but we think people are reaching out again. There's a trend now, decide-it-yourself, which means you decide what you want to do - pick the paint color, for instance - but you may not necessarily do it yourself. PRWeek: Can you describe your ideal reader? Griffin: My ideal reader is probably 40. She works, has kids, and hasn't time to do it all. Whatever she does, she does well. She takes pride in her house, but the pressure to be perfect is off. It's OK not to have fresh flowers all the time. That's over. PRWeek: Why is that sort of stuff over? Griffin: People just don't have enough time. It's OK to be yourself. People don't want to follow in someone else's footsteps or keep up with the Joneses. PRWeek: What do you want from PR people? Griffin: Our goal is to find the prettiest - not necessarily the biggest or fanciest - cottages in the US. We've got two of the top cottage architects in the country, and we're trying to create a network of cottage architects. Our goal is that if you have a great cottage, I want it to be in our title. We call it leading by example. PRWeek: What else? Griffin: We're looking for great travel destinations that are off the beaten path. In major cities, we're looking for shops that only a native would know. We want native know-how. Name: Eleanor Griffin Publication: Cottage Living Title: Editor Preferred contact method: cottageliving@timeinc.com Website: cottageliving.com

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