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Moving house or needing a change of environment-from a small ornamental design item to a complete new look- then this is not a bad place to start.
Now let's be honest this is not a flick-thru magazine- or not for most of us at least, it's £3.20 and so you need to need the magazine for a reason, for ideas, for information. Check out the cover and take a glance at the index inside and if there are articles on something you need/areas of interest- then put it in your shopping basket. I have been buying it every month lately and as it is currently on offer at £1.60 per copy on subscription I may well sign up. I am moving and need as many ideas and as much info as I can get and this magazine has given me a wealth of information and ideas for my new home, inside and out. I have bought and am planning to buy from companies that until reading this mag I had never even heard of. Doing that is not only going to mean my home has some great design, with furniture etc; not seen on the high street, but also it means I am helping many small businesses. I went shopping with a friend to a major department store a while ago and they said when we were in the home department..."this is just like being in my brother's house". I can only assume the brother didn't buy Ideal Home.
Every month they look at readers' homes and see how they have redesigned them, they show the home valuation before and after the work and some of the differences are staggering.
Let's take a look inside July's issue. There are five articles on Shopping ideas and five on Home Ideas. Eight pieces on Makeovers and eight in things to do in July. Seven sections on decorating and five buyers guides. Every month there are also regular features such as Where to Buy and Reader Offers and Competitions. All in all 194 pages of great information.
It is a magazine where you are going to turn the pages quickly sometimes - for example this month there is an article on New Bathrooms- not interested so I move on- but the piece on revamping my garden got my full attention. So like I said as long as there is some pieces of interest it is a great buy.
Now one word of warning- I have seen things available from suppliers and when I try and get one they are no longer available- sold out -gone- so if you see something you really really want don't hang about.
I need to decorate and furnish a new home and will have a garden for the first time- there is no way I could do all this research for myself.
To me one of the best things is discovering new retailers- the item shown in the magazine may not be what I need in my home- but if I like it, I will look on their website and by doing so I have found some great companies and bought some great items.
The added good news is it isn't full of items you cannot afford, in fact it often shows you how to get "the look" for less.
Home is where the heart is, it is your personal slice of the planet-you are often so glad to see it- don't let it down.
Ten years ago my Husband and I purchased our first home together and so began my addiction that's right I am addicted to Home magazines I currently subscribe to three magazines and will often pop a extra one in the trolley, currently my favourite one is Ideal Home.
Ideal home is published by Ipc media. The magazine is published monthly and retails at £3.20 however if you take out a subscription then it is considerably cheaper at £20.40 for 12 issues. My top tip is id you have club card vouchers then you can exchange these for a subscription.
Each month the magazine features real reader's homes and gives room makeovers with full details of where to purchase the items used. Each month they are ideas for a particular theme this month is 759 fresh ideas and top home buys. There is also a "which" style guide to appliances which I personally find really good and very detailed. Naturally as per every month there are competitions, Directory They also show you how to recreate the cover look and often will take one room and show three ways of decorating.
For me my favourite parts of the magazine are the readers homes I love nosing around someone else's home!
I also really like the splurge vs. Steal section which shows a product and then where you can get one similar at a cheaper price I like this as often they highlight shops that I would not normally consider as they are too expensive as being better value.
I have also been impressed with the recipe section and have found the recipes easy to follow. I am also a sucker for the competitions and always enter them.
...........Why this is my favourite..........
I think this magazine is excellent quality it seems bigger and thicker than the others, nearly every month there is a freebie as well. The advice given is excellent this magazine seems to cover more topics than other magazines which makes it excellent value as I mentioned I buy 3 or 4 per month in reality I only need to buy one and this is it.
I also think that the website attached to the magazine is top quality.
The website is www.idealhomemagazine.co.uk I mainly use the website for entering competitions but I have found that the website is easy to navigate with tabs along the top which take you to each section there is a forum, product finder, expert advice, inspiration and decorating ,news . You are also able to take preview the magazine I personally do not do this as I love the real magazine!
This is a great value, good quality glossy magazine with great articles for both the experienced and novice homeowner with interesting articles giving a broader variety than its competitors. Well that's I am off to make a cuppa and enjoy my magazine and maybe one day I will be able to enter my own home!!
Ideal home- a vision of Anthea Turner perfect housewife-iness (yes its a word honest!) One of vices (if you have seen any of my other reviews you may notice!) is buying cookery and home magazines every month. This is a monthly must have for me at its bargain price of £3.20.
This is a very intresting magazine a must have for dreamers like me, I will admit I do have a very tidy, organised and nice home but it is far from ideal home lovliness. However we can all dream!
It has loads of different sections including makeovers, reader homes, shopping, hints and tips and the readers letters which always intrest me perhaps more than they should! I love getting ideas and hints and tips for when we do decorate and constantly rip things out to keep for the idea/imagery etc.
The other great thing about this is that it has a website that runs alongside it again full of things like competitions, previews of the magazine, galleries of previous makeovers and so on.
All in all a very intresting read and a lovely way to lose an hour if at all possible!
One rather chilly Sunday morning last April, I dragged myself out of bed and went to a local car boot sale. A seller had a huge box of home magazines. I'd just started having a rifle and she said you can have the lot for £2. At the time we were about to embark on a complete house refurbishment and I bought them, hoping for some inspiration. I do have a tendency to cut things out and make brainstorming sheets so a big pile of back issues seemed like perfect fodder. This is when I discovered Ideal Home, which really struck a chord. To be honest I think I am probably a typical example of the target audience.
The magazine is currently split into the following sections:
*Wish list* - 'Great shopping for every room' - This showcases decorative themes with individual pictures of specific items and a list of where you can buy them and how much they cost. What I like about this section is that the pieces shown are affordable with a mix of suppliers that are easily available (mixes well known names such as Ikea, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer with lesser known designers). Each issue picks up different schemes. February's includes a fresh green and chocolate living room. In addition there was a feature on the ten best websites for storage and a feature on bargain buy mirrors. I find this section really useful for ideas to update current rooms without completely re-doing them.
*Dream makeovers* - 'Fabulous homes and brilliant buys' - This shows real homes that have had extensive transformations. These tend to be rather sensational and look amazing. However the minimum spend to achieve this tends to be around the £60k mark and many are significantly higher. I find these interesting but also off putting as is way beyond what we could afford and I think probably more than what a lot of other readers could manage too. At the end of each 'makeover' there is a page devoted to getting the look shown, which is again useful. What I do like is that they are homes that have been created to be loved and lived in. They also show individual tastes and conceptual themes that you can use to fire your imagination.
*Beautiful rooms - 'Inspirational decorating' - This section is dedicated to quick ideas for reinventing your home. A good article in this month's issue is on storage solutions, perfect for de-cluttering in a bid to meet those new year resolutions! This is split into 12 room schemes with different storage ideas for different rooms and colour schemes. Personally I love a wide range of different looks to ponder over as it often only takes a glance at something that is 'just so me' to spark a design idea.
*Big Ideas* - 'Kitchens, bathrooms and projects' - This again follows real people with a focus on kitchens and bathrooms although other things are covered (for example, having an extra room in your garden). Each project is marked with the budget used to achieve the final result. Mixed in are a few snapshot articles that focus on achieving a particular objective, such as, 'create the perfect wet room' or 'choose the right kitchen lighting'.
*Simple Solutions* -- This offers quick tips and short cuts to achieve a smooth running home. This has some genuinely helpful advice in it. Each issue also includes a number of recipes. I loved the Christmas issue, which had a full menu plan for Christmas dinner; I used this and it was well received by my guests. The current issue has a number of chocolate desserts that look to die for; can't wait to try them! In addition, there is a question and answer section where you can write in and have your problem solved by the Ideal Home team.
*Adverts*- Like all magazines there are adverts throughout and a directory at the back. I don't find these too intrusive to the reading experience as they are relevant and there is plenty 'proper' material to balance the content.
*Offers and Competitions* - There are some great competitions in Ideal Home. In the current issue there are over £77k of prizes up for grabs including 'win £25k for your own dream makeover*. Although it is true that this wouldn't really buy you one of the dream makeovers often published, it would probably take you a long way towards it. There are also reader offers available in each issue. I keep entering, maybe one day I might win ... dreams .....
*Price and availability* - The cover price of Ideal Home is £3.20 and it is widely available at newsagents and supermarkets. It is also available via subscription. I subscribed late in December 2008 with an offer of £20.50 via direct debit (50% off retail) plus a free gift of a limited edition pomegranate Crabtree and Evelyn hand wash and hand lotion set (RRP £25). I chose to subscribe over the phone as wished to confirm that I would definitely get the free gift as it was marked as 'limited numbers'. It was very easy to subscribe, the advisors were pleasant and helpful and all I needed was my bank details for the direct debit. A word of caution, it is an 0845 number so subscribing via this method will cost you the national rate. However, you can also sign up via post using a slip from the magazine or on the website. I have now received my first issue in a timely manner and am waiting for my free In the February 2009 issue, the offer of £20.50 is still available but the free gift has expired. Given the current financial climate it wouldn't surprise me if they put on more incentives to subscribe in the next couple of months. It might be worth keeping an eye out for a good deal. Other websites that sell magazine subscriptions have Ideal Home available, however, I couldn't find a better price than direct when I subscribed.
*Website* - www.idealhomemagazine.co.uk - I think the website is good although perhaps more basic than some. I have also noticed there are a few glitches in the system at times. There is a forum, where you can chat to other site users and also a blog spot. You can also enter competitions on the site for free.
In summary, the material included is mainstream and contemporary. The colour schemes are tasteful and realistic for everyday living; no Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen here! The photography is excellent. I thoroughly enjoy reading this magazine. Whether you will like it or not will probably be linked to your budget and your taste. If you have a preference for traditional tastes or prefer a higher end selection of designers other magazines would be more suitable.
The Ideal Home,something that I will never own !
But just looking through the magazine that is jam-packed with ideas makes up for all of that.
A glossy covered magazine that is bursting with inspiration on how to design,decorate and furnish your home in the style of your choice.
But there are no articles that refer to `muddy boots and dog hair`! a common problem in my home.
There are pages devoted to showing you just how beautiful a home can look,the marbled bathroom to the shabby chic living room.
The magazine covers each and every style of home,showing Victorian splendour,French chic,Traditional,Contemporary and Eclectic living.One of the most recent issues shows a selection of ideas for decorating a child's bedroom.
Room designs range from a Country style bedroom for a little girl,pretty in pale pink and white and strewn with bunting,to the boys bedroom with the Union Jack headboard so quirky and individual.
There is a section devoted to storage,something I am very short of !
A range of shelving and essential storage,smart coat hooks,cutlery canisters and bookcases all show how we can utilise the little free space we might have.
For those who have the money to go the extra mile they feature some bespoke storage.
An excellent idea recently featured was an attractive way of storing your bathroom towels.
Roll the towels and then stick them neatly on a shelf to give that individual boutique look.
There are gift ideas galore catering for all ages.
Unusual,stylish personalised or just plain useful the gift ideas all come with information about where they can be bought or ordered from.
The latest designs in home lighting,wallpaper,paint,heating appliances ,conservatory and garden ideas are all there too.
Alongside glossy illustrations of the china and glassware on offer at the various department stores and supermarket outlets.
An active forum is available for you to post on,any problems locating a product or a design idea you may want to know more about.
Often a day to day issue has become a Forum talking point and has proved very helpful.
Recently they have highlighted the advantages of surfing the Internet in search of fashionable furniture,stating that its quite often the case that you may get better value for your money.
Of course a subscription is available for The Ideal Homes magazine,which is currently £20.50 for 12 issues.which is a great saving of 50% off of the full price.
The magazines runs some good competitions and I enter them regularly,after all someone has to win !!
Though I may not be able to avidly follow the elegant trends and styles shown in the magazine,it has given me many very useful tips for adding accessories to my own soft furnishings,to create a new look.
I dont have many vices but cant resist buying home magazines. I have been buying Ideal home magazine for as long as I can remember and still get pleasure from opening the cellophane wrapper and turning the first page of this magazine. Well I dont get out much these days!
Ideal home magazine is published by IPC media, a huge company who also publish several other magazines including homes and garden and country life. Ideal home magazine is published every month and 1 month in advance. It is widely available from supermarkets and other retailers selling magazines. It retails at £3.10 in the shops but if you read Ideal home regularly it pays to take out an advance subscription. For example in this months December issue 6 months subscription is being offered at £11.99 as opposed to £0.50, a saving of 41%. Some loyalty schemes also allow you to exchange your points for magazine subscriptions too.
Ideal home comes in a cellophane bag, often with several other catalogues. This month there was a Cotswold company catalogue in addition to several other flyers. Most of these go straight into the recycling bin!
The magazine is, as the name suggests a home magazine containing lots of ideals to inspire you to create the ideal home. There are over 200 pages of articles, shopping recommendations, decorating ideas in addition to numerous adverts!
This months issue features 6 real homes and tells you about how they have been transformed by their owners. The article has lots of pictures of their rooms and tells you how they achieved the look and where to buy the items featured. This month 6 homes are featured. I enjoy reading this section and have found some of the ideas inspirational. I like reading what was paid for each home and how much it is valued at today.
There is also an article showing homes abroad. This provides me with a much-needed dose of escapism!
Another regular article is the best buy section. This month there are 18 pages of best Christmas buys to inspire you. Im not sure I will be buying a hand-decorated bauble for £12 however! Staying with the shopping theme each month a selection of top of the range products are shown alongside a very similar cheaper version. The article tells you where to buy both versions. I find this useful and in the summer purchased a steamer chair from Tesco after seeing it featured in Ideal home.
There is a best buy section, again useful to have. This month sideboards and T.V recorders are featured.
This month there are 19 pages devoted to kitchens and bathrooms. There are lots of ideas about how to plan your room plus style ideas and where to buy the items featured.
As you would expect from a Christmas issue there is an article telling you how to prepare for Christams, as if you needed telling! I found the list of web sites selling unusual gifts useful. Each month there are recipes featured. Again this month all the recipes are based around the festive period. There is a yummy sounding recipe for orange and cinnamon butter that I fancy trying.
There are often free gifts and vouchers giving money off various products for the home. This month there was a pack of Christmas baubles, not that wonderful but they were free! I was more impressed with the voucher to claim a free set of Christmas baubles from Marks and Spencer!
I think Ideal home is one of the best home magazines on the market. It is great to read casually with a cup of coffee or to take your time reading some of the more in depth articles. I have found lots of useful decorating ideas and keep back issues for when I need inspiration. I like the layout of the magazine and the numerous glossy photos. The layout makes it easy to simply flick through the magazine when you havent the time or inclination to read a full article.
On the negative side I do think there are far to many adverts. This months copy has over 50 pages of adverts, some of them double page spreads! In a magazine of just over 200 pages thats a large proportion!
I will definitely be renewing my subscription to Ideal home when the time comes!
Blimey, what's the old duffer ranting on about now? I can hear you mouthing in the background, well, trust me, treasures, all will become clear later on, but if you can't wait then race to the end and find out what the hell I'm on about... Ideal Home is apparently "Britain's best-selling decorating magazine", the Consumer Magazine of the Year 2000 (Periodical Publishers Association), Circulation Excellence Award winner 2000 (Association of Circulation Executives) and comes out each month with a cover price of £2.60. Garn, you toffs, you know it's just one example of a coffee table mag for those who have got more time and money on their hands than is really good for them. It's pitched fair and square at the breed of middle class families who find Ground Force and Changing Rooms so delightful, the DIY best of breed with a plum in their mouths and a hole in their pockets. All the details are taken from the July 2002 edition, the good taste cover of which boasts 537 Editor Approved brilliant new ideas for every room. It also promises real homes full of inspiration, this summer's latest colours, and an extra garden special. Do you really need this sort of thing? Lisa Allen, the Acting Editor (shock horror, what's happened to the regular editor? Have they been dragged kicking and screaming from the offices of IPC Media Ltd, Oakfield House, 35 Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3DH Tel. 01444-445599 or those of the magazine's production team at King's Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LS Tel. 020-7261 6545, with a paint roller in their hand and a wallpaper steamer protruding from their pockets? I really do think we deserve an explanation. How do we know this Allen woman is not a member of Al Quieda, come for our children and our Euros?), kicks off with typically flowery prose in her welcome note: "Rambling wild blackberry bushes, sweet-smelling roses, and ch
erry trees bursting with juicy fruit are all in my garden - somewhere among the weeds and overgrown borders. I dream about spending my evenings and weekends pottering around outdoors, tending, planting and watering; in reality, my outdoor plot is a 'wild haven' or, as my family and friends say, 'the ideal spot for a gardener to get to work on.' So when it came to putting together this month's issue, I was especially keen to ensure that our Garden Special would be packed with inspiration for every green finger level, including those who need a helping hand - myself included - as well as readers who are fortunate enough to have a well-planned plot, complete with established shrubs, borders brimming with colour and a well cared-for lawn. With fabulous real life gardens, straightforward expert advice on everything from buying new garden furniture to planting poppies, and even beautiful gardens to visit, this special section of the magazine has inspired me to get outside and consider how I want my outdoor space to look. I now know there are several areas I can improve straightaway - including how my containers and pots and old butler's sinks can still be spilling over with glorious blooms when I get back home from my two week summer holiday. As far as a complete garden overhaul goes, my mum and brother Matthew will be pleased to hear I'm planning to leave it until next year..." Got your creative juices going and your love of all things outdoor moving, eh? No, mine neither, and the bit about a two week holiday says it all really, because you know when you come back your grown will either be dead from lack of water or overgrown with bloody dandelions and the hanging baskets will be all brown and unpleasant, cos that's the reality of summer gardens in Blighty, treasures, and this sort of gushing wishful thinking is just so much pap to the average family, even though hundreds of us seem to delight in this particularly pecul
iar pastime. But this is only the start of the pleasures which the Ideal Home magazine brings us... flick over the page and you can read how to "freshen up with mint green and white- give your scheme a new look with an uplifting combination of soft white and fresh green in cooling shades of spearmint" (Huh, just looks like a load of particularly unimpressive green and cream cushions and mugs, well, whatever takes your fancy, but Leeds United supporters don't generally go in for fetching peppermint schemes, Lisa my dear). But fear not gentle readers, for you can go on to learn how to "create the perfect summer floral display with a combination of lilies and aspidistra leaves for a designer look" (Buy a couple of pot plants and make an arrangement more like) and will be reassured that "Moroccan looks for the home are popular, but rather than opting for the hot and spicy colours, why not use cooler shades to create a lighter scheme?" (I'm sure Sir Alex Ferguson will be taking note of that one as he ponders Rio's new hairstyle, and how long Forlan will take to net a goal in the Premiership) This witty badinage could go on all night, but you know it'll only consist of me lifting quotes and then dissing the sentiment behind the magazine, and that will pretty quickly get very boring, don't you think? Instead, I'll generalise my comments a little more, rather than pick holes in the mag - Ideal Home magazine is very much a Hello! of the DIY field, glorying in the pleasures of all things domestic (gardens, furniture, decorating, leisure), although it does have an interesting couple of pages layman's feature on digital cameras, but if I really want to know I'll buy a specialist computer mag, rather than this generalist drivel. This mag is aimed exclusively at women and mothers, who revel in home making, and glories in stereotypes. I mean, let's just check out how ma
ny men are photographed in this edition. I counted up (sad loser, that I am) and women came out on top by 55 pictures to 9, and the men that were picked were in stereotypical male roles (business man in his study, student simpering over his chick, man showing little lady how to cook man's food, etc etc). This sort of thing gets us all a bad name, but I can understand why it was so difficult to get guys to appear in this mag - it's so goddamned dull and tedious, and I bet women only use it to flick through and get ideas (for tortures which they can inflict on their long suffering menfolk - we members of the Male Chauvinist Pig society have a lot to answer for, after all with our enjoyment of football and beer, and you know how little ladies hate to see a man, any man at all, having even a couple of minutes peace or enjoyment to themselves. Get out those dusters and irons, girls, and get us earning our keep around the house...) The odd thing about this mag is also how perfectly it captures the new way that families speak (apparently). Dig this - "When Alison and Alistair Edwards moved into their Victorian semi 11 years ago, they couldn't afford to rip out the kitchen. 'But after a decade of wear and tear, it got to the stage where the units were falling apart,' explains Alison. 'They were bursting at the seams - plus there was lots more clutter outside them, too.' Top priority for their new kitchen was more storage space, but the couple also wanted a larger eating area for themselves and their 10-year-old daughter, Sophie. 'We decided to remove the non load-bearing wall between the kitchen and the dining room to create an L-shaped kitchen diner,' explains Alison. 'The two areas are now linked by a peninsula unit and the French doors bring in more light.'" First point, does anyone know anyone who actually talks like that? Second point, although apparently "we decid
ed", I'd lay odds that old Alistair didn't have much a say in it, poor chap. Imagine any self respecting man wanting to rip out the kitchen and have a larger eating area. For most men, a larger eating area consists of putting a bigger tray on his knees as he settles down with his beans and toast and cup of tea to watch Sky Sports. (Also, note the absence of any photos of poor Alistair or any quotes from the sensitive chap - I bet he's a weak kneed, slack jawed, bespectacled type worn down by the endless nagging of the awesome Alison. You can just see it, can't you? "Alistair, you weakling, are you listening to me? I said we can now afford to rip out the kitchen and sort these ancient units of ours. They really are bursting at the seams and you keep cluttering out everywhere, I fully intend to remove this (non) load-bearing wall in the kitchen unless you stir your stumps with all due haste. ALISTAIR, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?" "Yes, dear...") Alistair sounds like the sort of chap who would secretly yearn for the touch of a cool Laura Ashley fabric about his person (and he'll get plenty of chances to feed his fascination in Ideal Home). Not that there's the slightest bit wrong with a nice swatch of Laura Ashley, I hasten to add. I mean they don't call dave27 a NEW MAN for nothing, of course, my pacemaker and plastic hip joint helped and the 20p bribe was all it took. PS I told you that I'd come back to it and better late than never... SMEG is the name of a top of the range maker of ovens, the sort of product all those who bother with Ideal Home magazine drool over with a pretty unhealthy look in their eyes. And there was me thinking that it was just Lister and Rimmer getting a bit near the knuckle. I never knew Craig Charles and Christopher Barrie were closet nouveau riche, but I can belief it of Kryten! The July edition features a lovely double page ad for a
silver SMEG cooker on pages 36-37 (double electric multifunction oven in polished stainless steel with a unique LED analogue clock/programmer - SMEG UK, information line Tel 0870 4424451, Fax 0870 9909337, www.smeguk.com
At one time I would look forward to purchasing this magazine every month. It only cost £1 then and indeed I bought it for many years. The homes portrayed would vary from an average (yes average) terrace or semi to large mansions and even castles and villas. Sometimes the stars homes were featured and on other occasions the homes of normal everyday people were photographed. Each home had something in common though, ie.,character and style. All this altered about 3/4 years ago when the then editor resigned rather quickly (I feel because of some animosity over the content, although this is pure speculation on my part). For some reason it was decided to change the format of the magazine and it changed from being a home magazine to being a run of the mill women's magazine with features on clothes, make up and cookery pages, non of the things I personally wanted to read when buying a house magazine. Additionally, the style and design of the magazine changed. The rooms shown became minimalistic, mainly lilac and green. They were also boring and characterless, as seemingly were most of the people living in them if the mundane write ups were anything to go by. Personally I think the editors were trying to cash in on the Changing Rooms phenomenon as many of the rooms illustrated were along the same lines. Advertisements began to take up more and more space, until eventually there was very little actual magazine content left and the For Sale and Wanted pages which I had particularly enjoyed reading were removed and replaced with what suspiciously looked like being made up letters from so called readers.I say this because most of the experts' replies seemed to contain an advert or two regarding different household items. The Rooms depicted became totally lifeless and I am sure had never been stepped into by any human, apart from the designers and magazine people themselves who had been careful to ensure that the furniture and wallpaper
depicted were prominently advertised. Sorry Ideal Home editors, but you have definitely lost the plot. Readers are not so easily taken in and to my knowledge droves of your previous readers have turned to other home magazines in disgust. I personally never buy this magazine now and the only time lately I've browsed through it has been whilst in the doctor's surgery. If any interior addicts are reading this I would suggest you give 25 Beautiful Homes a try. This is, as the title would suggest, illustrations and write ups of 25 homes and the people in them. I won't go into it in any further detail here as I've written about it in another opinion. There are no longer any ideal homes in Ideal Home magazine I'm afraid and I would imagine the editors will very shortly find themselves out of work.
Mrs Smiley-Perfect smiles perfectly as she plumps her floral cushions (hand-painted by authentic foreigners in a foreign country somewhere - available from Snob & Frumps for only £5000!) "We have always loved this house, and all our friends envy us. Everyone comes here, you know. They wish their homes were as lovely as ours! But they never could be!" Mr Smiley-Perfect hand-made their lovely dining room furniture from tiny elf-sleighs found in the outer regions of Greenland and specially imported for him. "It's just perfect!" he smiles. Miss Smiley-Perfect's bedroom is decorated throughout with pure white silk and polar bear's fur. She may only be 3 years old, but that doesn't mean it's not worth spending £600,000 on a room that will stay clean for 2 seconds! Master Smiley-Perfect looks adoringly at his lovely neo-neo-art-deco-neo-classical-mock-tudour-retro-georgian inspired dressing room. It's perfect for him to sit and look at adoringly all day! Why not turn to page 87 and we'll show you how to create their lovely home in your own hovel? All you need is a few million pounds, nothing to do for a year and a team of skilled workmen to do everything for you! Perfect! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Okay, so I may have exaggerated a little, but not *all* that much, I assure you... This magazine is depressing reading. It's stuffed full of 'show home' furnishings and plastic looking people. They smile inanely at eachother and seem to have stepped straight out of 'The Stepford Wives'. It's scary! The articles, if you can call them that, are bland, unimaginative and so patronising as to infuriate the calmest soul. These are some snippets from the December 2000 issue: "This house is ideal for parties!" (Bully for them) "Our Christmas tree is so huge we lose thing in it!" (I wish th
ey'd climb in) "Hang a welcoming Christmas wreath on your door!" (Bet nobody's thought of that before...) "Play favourite music!" (Or that...) "Organise your household linen!" (How utterly thrilling!) "Make sure you remember to hang mistletoe!" (Inventive, eh?) "I Like friends to drop in unannounced...it is so much more relaxing!" (Well this is just plain weird.) There is nothing new in this magazine, I found it dull and formulaic. I think it's secretly a handbook for alien beings who want to learn how to pass themselves off as humans here on earth... the only problem being that it seems to have been written by a smug know-it-all alien author. An alien who has flicked through a Laura Ashley catalogue, a Mrs Beeton cookbok and thinks they have disovered how everyone lives (or wants to live). I really detested the psuedo articles - adverts dressed up to look like they're part of the magazine. The bland models smiled blandly in the same poses, pondering how to wrap presents with Scotch Tape (TM) (just how many times can you work Scotch Tape into an 'article'? Ooh, lots and lots...and it's all so jolly and fun and lovely, too! This is an actual quote: "With Scotch Tape Strips it's easier than ever to get smart parcels and creative flourishes with all those ribbons and bows! Even after a glass of wine! Ho, ho, ho - prepare for some pretty slick wrapping tricks..." Well, the smiley model certainly seemed to be enjoying wrapping up parcels...and so will you, they promise, after reading two bleedin' pages of the drivel. 'Advertisement Promotion' it says at the top of the page... like we couldn't have worked that out for ourselves. The thing that really niggled me was the number of these mind-numbing, coma-inducing 'articleisments'. Where are t
hese people who live in perfect houses with perfect families who eat perfect food whilst smiling perfectly? I don't know any of them, and I'm certainly not one of the Stepford clan myself. Are they selling dreams, reflecting real life or pandering to the middle-class wannabes? So why did I buy this magazine? I asked myself the very same question not five minutes after I'd flicked through and slung it on the floor. It had a free glittery snowflake ornament. I know, I know. I *am* ashamed, but there it is. I also hoped it would give me some decorating ideas, seeing as I've just moved. All it offered was the same old rehashing of things everyone has always done anyway. I *know* you can put up 'jolly Christmas wreaths' on the front door. I *know* you can hang mistletoe. I realise this magazine isn't supposed to be groundbreakingly orginal and modern, but surely they could come up with something more inspiring? They proudly proclaim on the front of the magazine that they've been "Committed to excellence since 1902" I wonder if they remember the date they ran out of ideas?
I am an avid homes and lifestyles mag reader mainly because I live in a hole that needs basically rebuilding, not just inspiration, and we can but dream, and also because I have an hour and a half journey on the Tube every day, and long since tired of Cosmo et al telling me things I didn't want to know about people and places I didn't care about. I purchased Ideal Homes today in a moment of magazine famine, having been trying to wean myself off the damned expensive things for weeks. Having 'read it' from cover to cover three times I gleaned one useful bit of info out of it, and found myself fuming at the thought of people spending £12k on a blooming bathroom. Ideal Homes is formulaic in its approach - basically, keep every issue the same and hope the readers don't notice. They trot out the same old colour wheel approach 'mix colours at the opposite side of the spectrum for complete vomit induction or choose colours next to each other for complete visual catatonia' and the like. Other opinions on this magazine pointed out that the homes shown were always mansion types (and for this issue let's find someone who lives in a monster listed farmhouse that the developers did up for them as a favour...)and never never never lowly souls like me who live in a crap 30s semi. Their whole editorial approach seems to be holier than thou and personally irks me. It also gives me the hump that you can find yourself reading what seemed like a genuine article about ovens and suddenly you realise that it's an ad for a posh cooker manufacturer. Not that IH are alone in this crime, it just felt bad. There are too many adverts, the articles are more suited to Country Life than your mass market home enthusiast, and they need a drastic change of formula. The final addition of insult to injury was their first mini article asking you which cover you would have preferred on the magazine. Perhap
s they want some new art directors if they can't make their own mind up?
I stopped buying this mag a long ago because I caught myself on basically. For all that's in it two minutes looks at it still on the shelf. The adverts I must say take up most of your time and they are not very interesting either. Why do we put up with this and still keep buying it and these people still churn it out. Because we do. All the stuff in it is naturally done by interior designers at million or trillions of pesetas while we the sensible public could do it for buttons. And there will be no doubt be hundreds more hitting our shelves as xmas approaches, and we'll buy them. Won't we.
My theory here is that if you were to remove all of the advertisements from this magazine you would be left with a very thin leaflet. I buy it for the simple reason that I am nosy about other homes. These are homes unlike my modest 3 bedroom of which there are hundreds. Let me explain. You wouldn't find somebody who lives in a "nice" 2 up 2 down being chosen to show off their home no matter how wonderful they may have made it on a "real" budget. The makers of this magazine are only interested in people with "just" a £500,000 budget for their conversion. Now I am sorry and I mean no disrespect to those that have had their homes featured because they were very nice but... they are not Real Homes. I would still recommend it for the ideas but would advise friends to shop around for the products. The ideas are quite good at times but could be reproduced at a fraction of the cost so how about a few ideas for ordinary people with ordinary budgets? The people who do live in Real Homes.