Skip to main content
Blogging Advice

What it’s Like to be the Boss of a New York Magazine

By 05/17/2011January 28th, 201722 Comments
Photos by Maria Killam

I have always imagined that being the Editor-in-Chief of a [any] shelter magazine would be the best job in the world. Travelling the world to see the most beautiful interiors, free merchandise flowing in the door in the hopes that you’ll feature it in the magazine. . .

Yesterday, Blogfest started with lunch at the top of the Hearst Tower (the world headquarters of Hearst Corporation) hosted by House Beautiful. Notice how they coordinated the flower arrangement with the centrepiece on the cover (above)?

Hearst Tower (image source)The view from the 44th floor on a normal sunny day is spectacular of course, however the rain is socked in New York this week so it simply looked like the windows were frosted there was so much fog!

Stacy Naquin, me and  Traci Zeller

Check out the colour me happy salad!
Did you know that Cosmo is the #1 selling magazine and Oprah is second? The editors of House Beautiful, Veranda and Town & Country all gave a presentation.
First up was Dara Caponigro, Editor-in-Chief of Veranda.  She said when she first came on board a few months ago, she tore out both of the above ads and looked at them for a long time. She decided that the woman on the left looked cold and hard with something to prove. The woman on the right, beautiful, soft, timeless and modern.  The latter was the look and feel she wanted Veranda to have.
The panel of Editors
Dana said Veranda has the best paper in the industry and although I’ve never thought about the paper when looking at it, there is a quality feeling to that magazine so now I know. “There’s also a sensuality to the photographs with not only gorgeous interiors but beautiful jewelry and flower stories. It’s about living well, not just about decorating.”
Newel Turner (House Beautiful Editor) said ‘Home is the only place we want to be when the world seems crazy’. And the mantra or the final test to see if a photo makes the cut in his magazine is the question, “Is it beautiful, is it happy?” And I do have the experience of ‘happy colour’ when I read House Beautiful.  Also I think they have the best headlines.  I get many headline ideas for my monthly newsletter from browsing the headlines on the covers of House Beautiful.
The editor-in-chief also had some suggestions for bloggers:
1. ‘There is an art to packaging and a blog should be packaged at the highest possible level.’
2. ‘Editing is Important’
(Just because you can go on-and-on forever doesn’t mean you should)
3. ‘Be careful of too much over-editing’
4. ‘Be true to yourself’
5. ‘Rules are for Fools’
Don’t you just love the contradiction?
Apparently there were 100 bloggers on the wait list to get into Blogfest so next year my lovelies, you need to jump when it’s announced!
Have I mentioned I love New York (even in the rain). It’s wonderful to be here!
Related posts:

It’s all in the Undertones, download my ebook here.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

0 pins


  • Ellen Smith says:

    Wow! that is impressive huh?!
    Must be great and fun to be the boss, I totally envy your position, Good luck!

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says:

    Well that was a fun post! As someone in the publishing industry it's always fun to read about how those at the top level of the industry approach their jobs.

    I hope you'll expand on some of their tips though, particularly the one about being careful not to over-edit (this is not a problem I've noticed in the blog world).

    I think it's interesting that very few high-level blogs employ editors and wonder if that's something that will change as the blogosphere moves out of its "toddler" phase.

  • Luciane at says:

    Fantastic post and great info! I'm so happy you got to be there! And meet Traci! Isn't she so adorable?

    Have a wonderful day!


    Luciane at

  • Susan jamieson says:

    Great post! Nice to see you again

  • hollyG says:

    What a great post and what a great opportunity for you to be a part of an elite group of editors (I get SO excited when my new issue of HB shows up in the mailbox). I'm a newer reader to your blog (I read some time ago but just started to read more) and enjoying all of your posts.

  • Designwali says:

    sounds like a good time! have fun!

  • Marie~Window Designs Etc. says:

    Sounds and looks like you are having a great time Maria. I watched the livestream of the panel discussion yesterday. So nice to see they are all "real".
    Today's agenda sounds great.
    I can't wait to see photos of the warehouse "rooms" of the designer's recolored fabrics from lee jofa.

    Have fun!

  • Poet Whale says:

    Love the blog suggestions.
    Why isn't the event called Design Blogfest? I think of a blogfest as including all categories.

  • Donna Frasca says:

    I miss NY too even after living there for most my life (Long Island actually – just over an hour away). There's no place on earth like NY.

    Enjoy it and l absolutely love your "Color Me Happy' salad – funny!

  • EKInteriors says:

    I am inspired everytime I read your blog! I love New York too!!

  • Karena says:

    Maria okay I cannot stand it any longer, I have a goal and next year I will attend!! What a fabulous experience!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my New Giveaway from Serena & Lily! You will love it!

  • Visual Vamp says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
    I'd love to be in the editor's seat!
    xo xo


    As I have mentioned several times, I enjoy your generosity in sharing the things you learn and hear on your different trips.

    Love the five rules . . . including no rules, at all.


  • pve design says:

    I plan on going next year, this year with the renovation and the twin college thing, I have my plate full…but that salad looks amazing.
    Have fun and thanks for sharing all the blog festivities,

  • Wanda says:

    Thanks for sharing, I will consider going next year. Who knew Cosmo #1?
    You always share information I can use. 🙂 Wanda

  • Intrigue and Inspire says:

    I never knew that House Beautiful had that criteria for beautiful, happy spaces. I just started subscribing to Veranda as I heard about the recent changes. The jury is still out on my end. Thanks for sharing this event!

  • LiveLikeYou says:

    The color combination is that salad is insane!! Went to Vogue lunch the other day, same deal every detail down to the food was gorgeous. Cosmo number one?? What?

  • Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says:

    Again, I wish I was there. Thanks for the nuggets of info! You are lookin' good!


  • Lazy Gardens says:

    Erin – being careful not to over-edit?

    It's not just words – designs get edited too.

    You start with a design gig … often something just pops into your head of the "right way" to solve the design problem. Although it's based on your previous experience and a lot of studying, reading and looking, it just pops out.

    When you start over-thinking that idea, obsessively examining and revising your choices, doubting your "vision", trying to achieve absolute perfection in every detail, you pound the life out of the original idea.

    That's what I would call "over-editing".

  • Donna says:

    Wow–very interesting the points about the magazine and the 'look' they wanted to achieve.

    But I especially loved the blogging tips. :o) I have to say I'm a a LOT sad to be missing a blogfest! How fun!!

    No.2 is the most important for me to remember. And I AM getting better. Really! I promise… :o)


  • Peggy and Fritz says:

    So Jealous looked amazing and informative. I love what you wrote about Veranda and the paper. Paper is a HUGE thing for me personally. I notice it on invites, stationary, business cards, and note cards. I have to say I'm a paper snob. When I had a partner in design 7 years ago, we spent three months finding the right card stock – we wanted our cards to say wow when you touched them. We went with a white color and had them letter pressed as opposed to printed and it was the one thing everyone noticed when we handed it to them. Veranda does have luxury paper and I always associate it with them. Love your post and all the things you learned. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cherie says:

    Well, it’s months and months later, and I’m just now discovering some of your past blogs, Maria, enjoying them so much even at this late date. I’m a retired teacher having fun getting back in touch with my love of decorating my own home, and have taken the “editing” advice to heart, which for me means removing some clutter, cleaning up my look at bit without ruining the feel I had in mind to begin with. Our living room has a library feel, with a beautiful old wine-colored leather sofa–not your favorite, I know. We have beautiful leather and cloth covered books, a pair of pretty fabric chairs and ottomans, and a few Byzantine icons from our Orthodox faith. It’s very colorful, but in an old world sort of way, and we do live in this room. Your blog has made me think hard about some things, though, and my next leather sofa will definitely be a Chesterfield. Thank you for all your wise advice. Oh, the editor of Veranda is named Dara, not Dana, but someone has probably already told you that by now.

Leave a Reply