JOURNALIST Q&A: Dominique Browning

Shelter titles have been sprouting like weeds over the past few years, but House & Garden has been faithfully fulfilling the knowledge needs of nesters for a century.

Shelter titles have been sprouting like weeds over the past few years, but House & Garden has been faithfully fulfilling the knowledge needs of nesters for a century.

From high-concept design to hands-on gardening, the magazine covers every topic home-obsessed Americans have ever wondered about. Editor-in-chief and prolific author Dominique Browning explains what sets House & Garden apart from other magazines. PRWeek: There are dozens of home titles on the market now. Who does House & Garden typically appeal to? Dominique Browning: The typical reader is probably a woman, although we have a male readership that loves their homes and is fanatic about design. Our reader is usually somebody in their mid-40s who is well educated and has money to spend on the home - people who like to dream often and see places that aren't theirs. PRWeek: The title has existed for a long time, but the magazine has retained its popularity. How have you changed the editorial to stay relevant? Browning: There is something about the well-lived life that echoes across the ages. But we are constantly evolving. We've never changed the underlying spirit of the magazine, but we've changed elements. We've honed in on breaking down the particulars of decorating. For example, we decided we wanted to do more hands-on gardening. I'm always looking for something a reader can use in one way or another, whether it's inspiring or useful. There is a certain warmth and spirit that appeals to me. Oftentimes, you see that it's just spending money for the sake of spending money. But I like to see a life lived in the walls of a house. I love to see something new, not just for the sake of being new, but because something has been invented. PRWeek: You have a couple of new books on the market, The Well-Lived Life and Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardner. How do they relate to the magazine? Browning: The Well-Lived Life is a book that was inspired by our 100-year anniversary. We went into the magazine archives because it turns out that there are just fabulous photographs that have been capturing the well-lived life for years and years. You think that you're so original and creative in thinking of something now, and then you find something from 1929 that is the same. It's a great cultural overview of America, especially the post-World War II period. We divided it up into categories, such as entertainment and domestic bliss, so it relates to readers' lives. PRWeek: We're redecorating. Any advice on what's hot and what's not? Browning: Definitely things that are on their way out are rooms that are so formal that they look like a hotel room. What is in is a personal touch, a touch of your life. I am also seeing a lot more color. I'm seeing a return to wallpaper, and it means people are committing to their rooms. And also old-fashioned fabrics. I think chintz is going to make a comeback - not the '80s style, but instead softer, more romantic.

Name: Dominique Browning Publication: House & Garden Title: Editor-in-chief Preferred contact method: through the website Website: houseandgarden.com

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