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25 Beautiful Houses

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      26.01.2014 21:40
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      Just fabulous darling.

      I was lucky enough to win a subscription from 25 Beautiful Homes Magazine and have had nearly a year's worth of magazines now. As soon as she heard about my prize, my mum was keen to suggest I pass it straight on to her which I always do after a flick through. I have the March issue here as a reference copy.

      What's it about?
      Well, interior design mainly but it does look in to 25 homes which are, of course beautiful, every month. It also features a Q&A style column, tracking down hard to find materials and pieces of furniture. The magazine lists what's hot this month and has a nice colour coordinated page for inspiration of the types of furnishings that fit in to the current trend. There are also lots of adverts, and I've noticed through the subscription that it's a lot of the same companies that advertise each month.

      A quick run through
      Front Page: A nice living space picture titled 'light and bright'; an offer for 50% savings on a Methven Shower. Price - £3.99 per issue.
      Inside cover - ad for Howdens joinery co
      Page 5 - Contents for March includes a hint towards the features eg. "How one woman returned to Durham from her African travels to rescue her rental property from ruin. The houses are boxed by theme like new build, replanned, unique, distinctive etc
      Page 9 is a welcome column from the editor, Deborah Barker, who is chatty and friendly and quite down to earth.

      Regular features
      News, Website links to the 25BH online pages, Q&A on decorating, Reader offers, Expert tips, Stockists and room envy (the style scheme that is most inspiring this month).

      So what's in this one?
      I was quite taken by the trending page, what's new for March including must have buys. The page is filled with blue indigo denim themed products like a toaster, door stop, foot stool, picture frame and even ltd edt Smeg Fridge (which is considered an investment buy at £1,300!). All the stores and prices are listed which is handy. Over the page is another themed page which I also like using lace as a common ground but including lampshades, room divider, clock, vase, tea light lantern and sofa. I would add that whilst some of the items are out of my price range (£1248 for a seat, but it's very nice!), there is also affordable on trend items for example a metal lamp from Sainsbury's

      Moving on
      After a couple more pages of ads, it's on to the page that links to the 25BH website. They are on Facebook, offer online moodboards and have a daily blog to read online too. Then we turn the page straight in to the Q&A which I enjoy reading, even if it's a bit specialist info. The themes this month are floral fabric which advises where to find and how much per metre and then a dark wood console table is the hard to find item that was featured in the December issue. A link to a shop called 'bespoke lifestyle' is provided with a suggested table at £499. An alternative is offered via Sir Terence Conran for Benchmark which is similar dimensions and costs £1889. Phew! Finally geometric cushions are sought and IKEA gets a mention here with their eye catching design called Lappljung Ruta which is accompanied with a picture and costs a measly £9. The opposite page carries on with the hard to find items, unusual table lamps that look like vintage oil canisters (ie ugly); mirrors that look like church windows and wood grain tiles. It never fails to fascinate me what other people lust after in their lives in terms of home furnishings - a quick trip to TK Maxx usually does me!!!

      Adverts and self promotion
      A couple more pages of adverts leads on to a two page subscription offer for the magazine itself - £27.99 per annum if you're interested. A bargain if this home furnishing and decorating lark floats your boat!

      Houses featured
      1. Out of Africa - a 1970s home is transformed with a fusion of English and Colonial style.
      2. A rectory re-do - treated with reverence
      3. Dilapidated Manor house turns in to a family home
      4 Beside the seaside dated cottage in to pretty light coastal home
      5. Period Victorian apartment gets the deco treatment - includes a floor plan - delightful detail: when we pulled up the floor there were seashells between the joists used by the Victorians as a natural sound insulation.
      6. American Beauty - period town house in New Jersey USA turns in to an eclectic family home
      7. Warehouse conversion in West London - a page of advice follows on the challenging job of converting an industrial space
      8. 1920s detached house in Surrey given a modern make over
      9. Amazing Grace, Somerset Georgian detached house
      10. A converted Royal Mail sorting office now an apartment - this is followed by an advice page on creating a home office
      11. Converted church
      12 . Victorian extended town house given Scandinavian style
      13. 1960s bungalow in Devon now family home
      14. Straw Bale eco build in County Wicklow - a colourful feature
      15. 1910 Altbau apartment in Berlin - followed by a feature on wooden flooring
      16. Tuscan farmhouse - rustic cool - followed by a feature on achieving style secrets held in this issue's homes. Then Inspired Shopping, a two pager on ideas for unusual home trinktes like ladder shelves and five of the best kitchen chairs.
      17. Victorian Terraced Cottage, Brighton stylish new home owned by a designer
      18. Stables Conversion Suffolk
      19. French 15th century manoir in the Loire Valley.
      20. 1860s extended cottage in Co Down, a holiday home loved so much by its owners that they decided to move there
      21. Detached Georgian House in County Carlow, Ireland - an abandoned period property turned into a comfortable and stylish home.
      22. 1875 Victorian Terrace, Bristol becomes family home.
      23. Neglected Durham cottage semi detached, originally a gardener's cottage then rented, trashed by students ... and lovingly restored now
      24. Dublin end of Terrace, ruined by flood water, now a stunning renovation
      25. Lake District cottage transformed. Final pages feature 'where to buy' all shops mentioned in the magazine are listed. Followed by around 10 pages of adverts for pianos, chesterfield sofas and cow skin rugs (urgh!) and our last look is a room envy design which just bewilders or dazzles. This one is a mezzanine floor bedroom over a kitchen diner. Fabulous darling (but a little poky!).

      My thoughts
      Hopefully you'll have picked up a few comments in the last section but overall, this is a stunning magazine, the photography is just second to none, each picture is full of detail and high quality. It's just amazing to read this but beware, each issue will have you wanting something or other new for your home. From a personal point of view, our house currently looks like a dump with the amount of plastic toys consuming the majority of floor space downstairs... so reading this magazine enables an element of escapism from me as I procrastinate against that forever unending job of bending down to pick up toys from the floor!

      Final word
      I loved getting this as a subscription but do think it's a good value magazine that will inspire you to do more in your home. Even if it's just a bit of whitewashing the walls to freshen them up! I do feel that some of the people who own the properties lead a privileged lifestyle, some do it to advertise their interior design skills, but others have worked very hard for what they have got too! The cover price is justified by the content, the adverts are there but not overwhelmingly so, the editorial content definitely leads. I won't be having my home featured any time soon but never mind!

      PS. Good to know
      Digital editions and back issues are available online and can even be downloaded to iPads and kindles plus other applications.

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        11.08.2011 01:31
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        Not the best.

        I have a bit of an addiction to home magazines and buy 25 Beautiful Homes (not Houses) from time to time. As the name of the magazine suggests, it features photos of 25 real life homes. It's a great opportunity to be nosey and have a snoop around other peoples' houses and form your own opinion of their decorating style.

        There are several photos of each house that is featured showing different rooms throughout the houses. The photos are accompanied by a "Home Truths" section that tells about the owners, the type of house it is and it's location, what rooms are in the house, when the current owners bought it and also a bit about their previous property. The main article is an interview with the home owners, who give you an insight into the inspirations behind their style. With each photo is a sentence or two about the room and details of shops that sell a similar item featured in the photo. This for me is disapointing as I would prefer to have more details or ideas of where to buy more of the items featured. I would also think it would be good if they included a rough floorplan of the house so that you have an idea of which rooms are along side each room.

        The houses featured vary greatly in terms of the size of the house, eg. appartments, semi detached, country houses, villas and barn conversions, their period, eg. listed and new build and the style of décor within them so there's a good chance there'll be something that the reader can relate to. The magazine also features homes in Britain and abroad. As they are real life homes, each of them is very unique and personal and not necessarily just following trends, some are classic and traditional and others are full of vivid colour. There's always plenty of style ideas to steal.

        At £3.60 I don't think it's great value for money as other than the houses featured in the magazine, there's very little content except for the usual contents pages, Editor's letter, reader promotions and numerous full page adverts. I also think that it is lacking in the practical advise that it offers in comparison to other home magazines on the market, it does have a couple of "News" pages that features a few new trends and an "Interior Solutions" section where an expert sources items such as furniture and wallpaper that reader's have written to them about but I would prefer a bit more of it. Once I've flicked through it and read the articles accompanying the houses that I like, there's not much reason to pick it up again.

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          13.05.2001 21:37
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          I only really discovered thsi wonderful magazine by accident there a fe weeks ago inmy local papershop. I have recently decided to build a house and I was really trying hard to decide on my house design - all i was looking for was some ideas. I spotted 25 BEAUTIFUL HOMES and decide to buy it for a browse through it. And gosh was I impressed by what I found - this magazine is full of home interiors for you to browse through - it has given me some wonderful ideas about what way i would like to kit out my interior of my home. The magazine caters for all types of taste - everything from barn homes to modern day homes and old homes that have been converted. The layout is clear and easy to understand - and there is some beautiful pictures inside. Unlike many magazines there are very few advertisments - so you are really getting value for money as there is good content. This magazine really delivers what it says on its cover - and in my opinion well worth the money unlike so many other magazines in our shops today. there are lots of good ideas - and its so nice to see around other ordinary peoples homes - whic is not so often done by other magazines who show us around the hob nobs homes.

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            11.01.2001 17:33
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            This has to be my favourite home magazine because that it was it contains from front to back. There are relatively few adverts and more importantly, for me at least, no gimmicky set up rooms with brand new cheap and nasty furniture. The homes are portrayed beautifully. They are photographed well with large pictures of various rooms within the property shown. There are no small, stamp sized pictures that you can hardly see and which are not worth looking at anyway. The few smaller pictures are of close up plant arrangements or objects within that home. In my opinion the rooms shown are very much lived in and loved as well. They are almost exclusively comfortable, although not all are tasteful... at least not to me anyway, but we are all entitled to our own taste and opinions. I personally don't go for minimalistic rooms as I find they are cold and boring. This magazine contains few rooms along these lines, although one or two are shown occasionally. The magazine sometimes goes through the homes of the rich and famous which is an interesting slant that few other home magazines seem to do. It's amazing to see that often these homes are not flamboyant or ostentatious and some even appear to be shabbily chic (anyone into house design will know what I mean by that). I refuse to throw out my back issues of this magazine and often refer to them time and time ago when decorating, or even altering the seating arrangements etc., in my own home. If you don't want to be depressed by matching your own home to the homes portrayed, try looking at the pictures through a magnifying glass. This really brings the homes to life and it is then possible to see the true reality, ie., tears in the arms of sofas and frayed rugs etc., it is then that you realise that the most attractive rooms are those that are truly lived in. This magazine has replaced Ideal Homes in my view which unfortunately (for m
            e at least) has gone into the mass magazine market for women, now having clothes sections etc., You will not find recipes in 25 Beautiful Homes (thank goodness) it really is just 25 homes photographed for readers to browse over. I would certainly give it a try if you are a home lover.

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            19.07.2000 04:10

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            I used to buy this magazine every month,it costs £2.50 and shows you pictures and details of 25 houses most are unusual houses like barn conversions, lighthouse, barge etc But all tend to be houses that were bought as wrecks and done up they tell you about the renovations improvements made etc and pictures of easch room, I like the way every house is spotless, (must all belong to houseproud people) as there is never a toy out of place ,just wish my house was like that for once! The magazine is good for ideas ,on decorating,storage i found, had a bit of a laugh at some of the houses though,awful taste of decor! After a year i stopped buying the magazine i found it too repetitive in ideas, also drove me mad when i saw there spotless immaculate houses and my 2 yr old decides to empty yet another toy box all over the floor again!

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