Atticmag is a blog/online magazine which is very near and dear to my heart! I stumbled upon it a few years ago while planning my kitchen remodel, and I've been hooked ever since!
Every time I had a question about which direction I wanted to go with my own kitchen remodel, I knew I could click on the Atticmag link I had saved in my favorites and peruse any number of all white, black and white, or whatever style and color kitchen (like the one pictured below) I wanted. Having that resource helped me achieve the kitchen I have today, and I will be forever thankful to Jane F, Jane T, and Allison.
Not only do these three women share their varied talents and expertise on a myriad of design topics, but they are simply nice people to boot! So what's not to like about that?!
I decided to start my three part series on Atticmag with a post about Jane F, the editor of this wonderful online magazine and blog.
There I first saw antique furniture, china, English silver and rugs, chandeliers. I had never seen old things -- I had grown up in L.A.
From the galleries I went into art book editing and working with contemporary artists – that took me to France for the summer – my first time abroad. Meanwhile, cooking had become my hobby and I began to take classes at night with James Beard.
I had started writing about restaurants for the Chicago Tribune – my first newspaper. I also wrote a food processor cookbook and after moving back to New York, in 1983 (after a divorce), I finished my second cookbook, Dinner Party. I spent a year as consulting editor at Cook’s magazine (now Cook’s Illustrated) and then moved to New York Magazine writing the Underground Gourmet column. After that I spent six years as the restaurant critic at New York Newsday.
When I left the News, in 2003, I spent more than a year renovating our house and at the time went back to school, to Parsons to study interior design. Both my Mom and Grandmother had been designers. The house renovation really led to the Atticmag concept since it essentially pulled together everything I had ever done – art, food, publishing, design and especially kitchen design.
I’m basically in my fourth career phase – I’m one of those people who becomes intensely interested in something, jumps right into the deep end and keeps going until I’ve digested it. Then I’m ready to move on. But I for me, moving on also is adding on.
Atticmag is my creation. It began as a print magazine concept that I developed after leaving the New York Daily News. I had spent nearly a decade there, eventually becoming a Managing Editor where I spent a good amount of time redesigning the features (arts, lifestyle, celebrity) areas, both daily and Sunday. But I always wanted to edit my own magazine again. I had spent a year as the acting editor at Cook’s (now Cook’s Illustrated) and really loved doing magazines. My original concept for Atticmag was Attic Magazine, which would be devoted to pop culture and collecting.
I developed a prototype for the magazine and took it to one of the major publishing houses here. The CEO there suggested starting it on the web since the start up costs otherwise would be prohibitive. That was shortly before the magazine industry started to implode. So, having no idea what I was doing, I began groping through the process of starting a website and Atticmag was born.
I know that Atticmag isn't technically a blog, was there a reason why you chose not to design your site purely in a blog format?
Well, technically Atticmag is a blog – it operates like a blog but it has a magazine concept. Plus it’s a community blog because there are 3 of us who contribute.
Do you think that having three creative women working on Atticmag is an advantage? Do you find that you are able to brainstorm about which areas of design to write about, and does it help to lessen the load when one of you gets busy and needs a break?
Having blogging partners is terrific. We’re both colleagues and friends, we consult with and talk and laugh a lot, albeit via email because we all live in different parts of the country.
Since we each have our areas, we come up with our own ideas but we discuss them with each other if we have questions or want to talk something through. Also, we will backread posts for one another before they are published – it’s hard to see your own typos, especially if something is long.
We also sub in for each other. We all have busy, active lives and responsibilities so it’s great to be able to back each other up.
Do each of you have other jobs aside from the work that you do with Atticmag?
I was writing professionally for Shelterpop, the AOL Home home design website, but left recently because Atticmag is getting so large it needs my full attention.
Most of my pieces in the living room came from the same dealer, Lani Sternerup, of Real Gustavian in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Jane purchased the sofa at the Rhinebeck Antiques fair.
Where do you find the wonderful content that you provide? Do you have to contact designers or do people contact you to have their homes featured?
Content is everywhere. I like to go out and meet people, take pictures and find stories. I get ideas from everywhere – magazines, designers, individuals, stores, the street, design stores, expos and the wholesale market. If I see a kitchen I like I’ll save the photo but my interest always depends on the ideas I find. I suppose there’s a lot of material out there because we have about 700 pages on our blog.
I feel my style is edgy, urban and eclectic. I like tension – something just a bit off. I like monochromatic color schemes that flow. I don’t like dark rooms or dark spaces or clutter but I do like super-ultra-modern. I could easily live in a loft with concrete walls, antique floors and one of those black glass kitchens.
I have lived in a Victorian house. When we bought our place in upstate New York and renovated, I actually aged the house to look as if it was old and had been renovated (it was built in 1991). I don’t really own much new furniture except for upholstered pieces. I prefer antiques, reupholstered things and old rugs.
I don’t care for studied rooms that look like someone’s life began the day they met their decorator. But I totally admire professional rooms by designers like Jeffrey Bilhuber and Juan Montoya. I know that’s as much of a contradiction as my buying a new rug this year from Odegard. My life is contradictory in many ways, as is my temperament. I’ve come to accept those inconsistencies and hope they make me a more interesting and open person.
Find me the publisher and we’ll talk about it!
I would like to thank Jane for taking the time to tell all of us a little bit more about Atticmag and herself, and for sending me all of the wonderful pictures of her NYC apartment and her gorgeous country home!
Be sure to pop over to her great blog, Atticmag , where you'll find plenty of design know how and inspiration!
*On a separate note, please keep the Divine Ms. M (the wonderful florist I've spoken of so often) in your thoughts. She fell at her home on Monday morning and wasn't discovered until yesterday afternoon! She is suffering from dehydration, and they are running many other tests to find out what caused her fall and why she was unable to get up or to a phone! As you can imagine, we are all very worried about her, and I'm heading back to the hospital to find out more this morning! So please send some healing thoughts her way, I would greatly appreciate it!*