Cottages & Bungalows
My nesting instincts started exceedingly early. As a toddler, I was reading my mother's Better Homes and Gardens from cover to cover before it occurred to her that maybe she should get me a subscription to Highlights. Even after that arrived, I didn't give up my BH&G.
These days, my tastes are somewhat more sophisticated, at least in the shelter book area. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with BH&G. I still read it on occasion and marvel at its longevity and mass appeal. My mother still subscribes, so it gives us something to talk about, too.
However, I've developed an appreciation for old houses, despite my upbringing (and early magazine reading) in two mid-century ranches. I subscribe to two niche publications that cater to that genre, American Bungalow and Style 1900, and recently discovered a new kid on the block, Cottages & Bungalows.
Action Pursuit Group launched the shelter publication late in 2005 and has since put out five quarterly issues. The magazine focuses on historic homes built from the 1890s to the 1950s. Styles include everything from traditional Craftsman bungalows to English Tudor cottages; homes range from the lakeside cottage to the beach house. Departments are written by well-known authorities and cover areas of how-to, restoration, period kitchens and baths, arts and crafts, home accessories and Mission-style furniture.
Unlike its counterparts, Cottages & Bungalows has a definite do-it-yourself emphasis. The title blurbs "How To: Stencil Walls Like the Pros," "Find Your Home's History" and "Tune-up Your Heating System" were a deal clincher because I have wanted to do two of the three for some time. (Forget the heating system; that's one thing I'll gladly pay someone else to tinker with.) The stenciling article has wonderful photography and explains how to use stencils in myriad ways, as well as offering sources for the basic elements needed for such a project.
The cover also teases a "Buyer's Guide to Lighting." Anyone who owns a house or is inclined to invest a few bucks in a rental knows that lighting is one of those magical renovations that can really transform a room, and doesn't require a home equity loan to tackle. This article alone will keep the magazine out of my recycling bin, since it includes a very handy guide to the big A&C lighting suppliers, unabashedly giving both their "pros" and "cons." Sure, you could Google the names of these suppliers pretty easily, but what makes one different from the other? This article answers that question.
Despite its casual and friendly tone, C&B doesn't skimp on aesthetics. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a "font geek" -- P22 is one of my bookmarks. So the use of an A&C font in the headlines throughout resonates deeply with me. Eye candy is a large part of the appeal for all shelter books, so why not extend that to the words themselves, or at least the headlines? The photography throughout the issue is beautiful and would be worth the price of admission even without the well-written articles.
Even though its appeal may be limited, I can only hope that I'll be reading C&B as long as I've been reading BH&G.
Published by: Action Pursuit Group
Web site (At press time, down for service.)