Thursday, August 18, 2011

INSIDE OUT - review by a self-confessed magazine junkie

I have been known to buy a magazine or two in my time. That's one or two thousand, not just one or two magazines. I have been buying for over 20 years you know. Maybe it's even 3 thousand, I don't know. I am a magazine junkie.

Picture the smile on my face when I was offered a free issue of INSIDE OUT magazine's Sept/Oct edition. It's not a magazine I am familiar with. But they told me it had articles like Kitchen Craft (kitchen design) and Storage Solutions, among others. Hit me baby, this I MUST read. The storage bit I mean, I have no plans to redesign my kitchen. Yet. We did that at our first home & then sold it 12 months later - no, not because of the kitchen - the kitchen was great - a major selling point. We. needed. more. space. But, I digress. Now where was I?

Ahhh yes.....the magazine. INSIDE OUT.

Did I like it?

In a word....Yes. Very much. Okay, that's more than one word.


Because I like to look at pics of designer homes. The (to me) unattainable. They are clean, there is no clutter, the furniture is all in the perfect position, with the right ornaments. Bold coloured rug or cushions that compliment, not clash with the furniture. All that stuff's called decor isn't it? These homes have been designed, not simply built.

And, as the name suggests, these homes are beautiful inside and out. What used to be a concreted driveway has been converted to a gorgeous outdoor courtyard with a Japanese Maple ( I have one of these plants) canopy. And it's in inner-city Melbourne. There is no way my mind could picture a transformation like that.

I love what I call "gadgets" in this issue, including those in the ads. I have to say that the advertising is true to the style and theme of the magazine.

Picture the Sunday newspaper liftouts with redesigned homes and associated gadgetry (taps, fabrics, ceiling fans, laminates, lights, tiles, carpets, plates, chairs). You know, when you go "HOW much is that lamp?" Well, INSIDE OUT is a whole magazine (196 pages in this issue) of these kinds of articles and accessories. And it looks much classier and prettier than the newspaper liftouts too!

I also liked that not everything was designer priced. Sure, there is the bench that slides over the sink turning your kitchen island into a bar or extra workspace. That started at $75,559. However, to be fair to that company, they do have great priced kitchenware. Wanna check? Click here. Some of the furnishings are from Ikea. If you haven't heard of them, then I'm sorry to tell you that you have been living under a rock.

Some great tips in the Storage Solutions article. I am big on storage, I wish I had more of it. The downside of an open plan home. If I was building a home, I would be able to implement some of the ideas, like shelving built into the end of the kitchen island. Not the one with the sliding benchtop - that is out of my budget! Practical ideas to make your kitchen as user-friendly as possible.

Would I buy the magazine?

In a word.......No. (I feel mean having just written that nice stuff above).

Why not?

Because most of the products in there are out of my financial league. I do not move in designer circles. I don't have a designer home and none of my friends do either.
Because I am neither building nor renovating our home. Ours is a house & land package style house (by the previous owners), which leaves very little scope to change things around. Shelving built into walls would have to have been incorporated at the design & construction stage. I do not have a creative mind. I cannot picture the "finished product". One of the reasons we shied away from building and bought this home instead. I cannot do colour schemes. It's simply not my forte.

One feature article is about a family who were in the magazine 5 years ago. They have since had 2 children. They have a beautiful home designed by architects, but the only things I could see that suggested kids lived there were the 3 dinosaurs and the pipe cleaner mobile (which looks great, by the way) in the bathroom. No toy boxes, dolls, books, kids' bikes. Maybe the parents didn't want their kids rooms photographed for their privacy and that's fine. I just felt it didn't portray the home as a family home. "It needed to be a casual home that spoke of family life.....". Yeah? But that's more a crticism of the home and its residents, rather than the magazine. But if you want your home to speak of family life, put some toys in it!

INSIDE OUT may be a designer magazine, but it doesn't carry a designer price tag. $8.20 here in Australia ($9.20 if you are in New Zealand). Good as a coffee table book if you are into stylish stuff. Decor. The Sept/Oct issue is available now.

Here's what it looks like:

Me? I like my women's magazines that are all fluff and gossip. But I have caught myself leafing through INSIDE OUT more than once this past week........Oh, and you can check them out on Facebook too... So when you feel like an indulgence, go for a browse......

Why don't you grab a copy of the mag, a cuppa and take some time out?


Karen xx

Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this magazine to review. The opinions above are my own.