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Nov. 9 2009 - 4:08 pm | 2 views | 1 recommendation | 2 comments

No Shelter For Shelter Books — ‘Metropolitan Home’ Shut Down After 26 Years

Magazines

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Another shelter book, and another longstanding national magazine devoted to celebrating the good life, has bit the dust. Metropolitan Home has been killed after 26 years. Parent company HFMUS plans to focus its resources on its in-house competitor, luxe, international Elle Decor instead.

I remember Met Home back when it was Apartment Life, long before Dwell, Nest, Wallpaper or Domino (now-dead) showed up. I was much sadder when House & Garden was closed and I still miss the elegant reflectiveness of Dominique Browning’s letters from the editor, but every time another shelter book dies so does a place for a different point of view and an outlet for talented writers and photographers and designers to celebrate domestic beauty, something I believe passionately in creating and sharing.

I studied interior design full-time for a while, intending to flee journalism, and came away from my studies in awe of the intelligence and drive it takes to create and promote great (even mediocre) design. I’m personally not a fan of the cavernous and relentlessly modern houses Met Home focused on, but many people are — while dozens of shelter books remain safely focused on cozy, pre-digested ideas.

It’s sadly ironic that now we’ve got designer garbage cans and toasters and lighting a mouse-click away, available from even mass marketers like Target or Pottery Barn, we’re losing places like Met Home that salute design’s cutting edge.


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    Nice post. I think we’ve reached a point, given the economy and print journalism, that shelter books are the new bridal magazines — people will pick them up when they’re motivated to renovate or redecorate for themselves (as opposed to updating their homes in order to sell them). But fewer will take annual subscriptions. In other words, newsstand purchases rather than subscriptions will be more important. As I wrote on my blog, http://bit.ly/9HI6Y, I had actually thought glossy shelter books would survive because the photos look better than they do online or when printed up, even with a color printer. Too bad.

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