This stack of House Beautiful’s I’ve been holding onto for about a year now. It’s only about twelve, which in the scope of things isn’t bad, but when you look at what else I have collecting dust, then it is. But here’s the thing. House Beautiful has got to be one of the best ‘idea ‘ magazines for describing a house. How many times I have been trying to create a space for a character and drawn a blank. Open a HB and look, wonderous rooms of every shade and size. Decorated for the most elegant lady. Or manly enough for a masculine man. I mean, it is a plethora of ideas.
However they were collecting dust, so I decided that they just needed to go. I rapidly flipped through them and pulled out a sheet or two. Nothing much, and just decided to call it a loss. Then I opened one again today (they were not in the trash can yet) and I started flipping through it. And I just couldn’t bear to rid myself of the lovely ideas.
For instance; the one I opened had this gorgeous picture….. “The paneled double doors led to a stunning sitting room. Designed in warm pinks and creams, it was like one had stepped into a luscious seashell, only instead of hard surfaces, the sofas were squishy and soft; the carpet a pleasing cream Berber.”
See, doesn’t that sound just yummy? And wouldn’t it be the perfect setting for, say, an older blue blood woman who has to have her house just so? Or maybe a young woman is a secretary for someone, and this is the first room she sees when she enters the home of her employer. Or, or, or. There are so many ideas to come from the pictures.
And it helps to have that visual to describe something, or to place a character in the right setting. I have one character, Phil, who is a wealthy to do guy, but kind of boring. I have yet to find his ‘home’ but by piecing together bits from different magazine houses, I’m sure I can finally create his setting.
So, instead of chucking the HB’s, all unnecessary adds, and articles were torn out so that the basis of the magazine is now just the cool pictures.
As for the Martha Stewart’s, well, I can’t bear to toss any of that, so that stack is steadily increasing as my grandmother indulges me in her cast offs and the free ones from the library come floating into my dominion. They, as well, make lovely idea magazines for design, though MS seems to have more food as well, which is lovely when ‘setting a table’ for a scene.
So, all in all, home design magazines: one of the best ways to get inspiration for writing a scene, or describing it. How else would your character live?