Decorating & Design

February 1, 2022

RSVP: Our Readers Have Their Say

Letters from the most recent issue of House & Home.

June 2022

I’ve loved your magazine for decades, and I have to say your addition of Artist File is fantastic. I always find Diana Hamm’s articles informative and entertaining. Thank you!
— Tyler Schulz  

I love the idea of showcasing the before and after of a renovation. Some of the rooms actually included some colour in the April issue, but in five homes we received five white kitchens! I thought colour was one of the 2022 design trends? Apparently not in your world of kitchens. It felt like a predictable H&H issue, I was disappointed.
— Judy M., Victoria

As a longtime subscriber, I was happy to see my favourite city, Paris, featured in the April issue of H&H. However , I was also saddened reading that a certain restaurant with a newly-minted Michelin Star serves “dishes like Foie Gras for a dining experience you won’t forget.”  It’s maddening that in 2022 Foie Gras is readily available, since most of the time ducks and geese are still being force fed to procure the fatty livers needed for this “delicacy,” serving no quality of life. I believe this practice should be stopped, and certainly not promoted.
— Lisa McKean, Stayner, Ont.

I’m a bit confused. In your April issue article called “The Great Escape,” the tag line says the family moved “from city semi to country house.” Yet, the new house is in downtown Guelph, a city with a population in excess of 150,000! Did you mean that the style of the house is country, because I didn’t think so.
Melanie Budd

I always enjoy reading House & Home and have had a subscription for many years. While reading the April edition of “The City Column” I wondered why you were featuring a city such a long way from Canada. I love Paris but surely there are cities, towns and villages in Canada that you could feature, and whose businesses would benefit from our dollars. I personally would love to know about them.
— Marya McLellan, New Westminister, B.C.

May 2022

Thank you so much for recommending my book, “The Kitchen” to Brian Gluckstein and Gary during your first episode of Housebound!  I was happily watching you and Brian chatting and then all of a sudden I nearly fell out of my chair when you brought out the book!  It means a lot to me that you would express such kind words about the book and bring it to Brian’s attention.  I have been enjoying your series Housebound very much – informative, personal and entertaining.  Such a fun and happy way to present homes during this difficult time. I hope that you have a happy Spring!
— John Ota

April 2022

House & Home was the first magazine I read when I moved to Canada. I don’t read it as much anymore but when I picked up your March issue at the grocery checkout, I see that the magazine has changed quite a lot.
— Francesca DeSouza, Ottawa

I think you should develop a feature about people who don’t have a lot of money and use ingenuity to get what they need. For example, a few years a go I read a story somewhere about a guy who got all the materials for his kitchen from Habitat for Humanity.
Julie Potter

I was happy to see that the magazine was beginning to use Instagram for more than just sharing photos, but it seems that you have stopped doing so. Will House & Home start up with the live interviews again? Takeovers from designers would be a great idea, too.
— Svenela Sans, Kingston, Ont. 

March 2022

Hello! I just got the new issue of your magazine with Lynda Reeves on the front page. And what did my eyes immediately spot: a Bearded Collie laying beside her….looking exactly like my Libby who passed away in August last year. What a lovely surprise! Now I have to look through the magazine!
— Lilli Delf, Mississauga

It’s almost overwhelming trying to keep up with all of the “new” trends year after year. This time around, it seems everything has taken a much more grounded approach. I think it’s time I renovate.
— Julian Andrews, Moosejaw, Sask. 

January/Febraury 2022

I am an 83-year-old widower living alone. I have a number of hobbies and subscribe to a varied array of magazines, including yours. Once I am finished with them, I usually toos them in the recycling. Last month, however, the registered nurse practitioner who visits me took all of my publications and brought them to a seniors residence in town. I was so leased to hear that this small gesture brought so much joy. I thought it was a nice idea to pass thing along to other readers who might want to make someone else’s day.
— David Taylor, Berwick, N.S. 

I’m so pleased to see your magazine address reusing and recycling, and being aware of sustainability. I’d previously cancelled subscriptions to magazines due to the overly-consumption focus and throw away culture. What I’d also be interested in, and think consumers should be made aware of, is the origin of products, not just their price tags. Origin is becoming much more of an issue, particularly following the supply issues we’ve seen through Covid, and with rising fuel costs for transportation, not to mention the often lower quality of items made in China. It would be great to see where things are made listed alongside the brand and price.
— Helen Blackwood, Holland Landing, Ont. 

December 2021

When I received your December issue in the mail, I literally had to check the date on the magazine a couple of times to make sure it was the correct month. In my eyes, this issue featured virtually nothing relevant to the holidays.
Colette Sabourin, Dartmouth, N.S.

I was quite disappointed with December’s Ask A Designer column. The reader shared that they wanted to keep a table which was a family heirloom, and that they were in favour of more colour. Yet, the response was to move the table elsewhere and use a modern replacement, a black and white palette and neutral vases as accents. I feel that a family heirloom is important and was disappointed that the designer couldn’t come up with a creative way to incorporate it.
Bev Kallstorm,Victoria

I’ve always enjoyed the designs of Anne Hepfer, so I was pleased to see her gracing the cover of your December issue. I anticipate a lot of changes around my house will come from the inspiration I’ve found in these pages.
— Betty Hellance, Halifax

I was a bit disappointed to see you feature a California celebrity home. I have always cherished the Canadian content of H&H and the relatability of your featured homes and designers. Surely there are Canadian design projects (even in this unattainable for most price bracket!) that would have been a better choice.
— Gabrielle Napier

As a longtime reader, I have to say that the December 2021 cover is not my favourite. It has nothing to do with the Christmas season. Hoping for a better one next year.
— Les Hurlbert, North Battleford, Sask.

Sam Sifton’s recipe for Savoury French Toast With Cherry Tomatoes and Basil (“Recipes”) is an absolute favourite of mine! I’ve made this for guests since I opened the pages of your December issue and it’s a hit every time. Thank you for always squeezing in some good food & drink content every month!
— Ashton Gilmore, Port Hope, Ont.

November 2021

I’ve been a hopeful subscriber on and off for years, but have finally decided to no longer renew. I want to love this magazine so much because the content is Canadian and beautiful. But I find it getting increasingly further and further from the average middle-class homeowner and, quite frankly, it’s giving me an inferiority complex. Wishing you continued success, though. 
Stacey Kolesnikow, Peterborough, Ont.

I enjoy your magazine very much and share the subscription with my mother, who enjoys it as well. We’ve gotten many good ideas over the years from flipping through pages of H&H. I’m wondering if you could do a piece on quality, Canadian-made sofas. There are so many on the market that don’t last due to sagging upholstery and cheap frames. Before anything else, I’d love to support Canadian makers the next time I shop for one. 
Lucia Wahed, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

For many years, it’s been a tradition for my mother to buy me a subscription to House & Home for my birthday. We would look through the magazine each month when it arrived and discuss decorating ideas, recipes and DIY projects together. She recently passed away in January 2021. I’m renewing my subscription annually on my birthday, not only because I love the magazine, but also because it brings back fond memories of the times me and my mom shared together.
Carol Woods, Mount Forest, Ont.

October 2021

I should start by mentioning that House & Home is the best design magazine on the market! Now, I may be late to this design style but how does anyone change bed sheets in the close quarters of bunkies (“Cabin Fever” Jul/Aug)? Especially bunk beds with thick mattresses; weekly changes would seem to require a muscular contortionist on stilts. Despite this concern, they really are beautiful.

— Sandy Perry, Mason, Minnesota

I am a long time subscriber to House and Home magazine. I love to dream about decorating when I read your magazine. Most months I savour the magazine. I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time…. My question is this: Do you not have any agents in Western Canada? It appears that you believe that all quality decorating and trends take place in Toronto and possibly Vancouver! NOT SO! Please arrange for the monthly articles to highlight Edmonton and Calgary. OMG! There is so much happening here! Calgary has the incredible Bridgeland neighbourhood where the old blends with the new infill houses. It’s an incredible mix and makes for wonderful decorating. Edmonton, my home, has been presenting skinny homes, also infills, that often provide controversy in expensive neighbourhoods, but the homes are incredibly efficient and interesting. Take a look! It’s certainly time to look at western cities in Canada. Yes, send a few teams or arrange for those who live in these cities to offer new homes and decorating advice.

— Bette Ann Edwards

September 2021

So happy to have just watched the newest episode of The Lakehouse! (Every couple of days I was checking in to see if it was posted!) So happy that Lynda’s vision is coming to fruition! Even when the “lakehouse” is “done,” I would like to put in a good word to ask if you would continue the series and all of the upcoming “tweaks” to the lakehouse to see exactly how she refines her vision! Thank you so much for all of your inspiration!

— Martha Collins, Osoyoos, B.C.

Hi, just a friendly comment about the music you sometimes use in your videos. I watch many of them and the music often detracts from/overpowers the visuals and narration. For example, the before and after basement video that you just sent out. If there was an option, I would have turned that music bed off, not just down. It was a bit distracting. Love the designs though, they were incredible!

— Sandra Butterfield, Toronto

June 2021

I just watched the video of the landscape project which was done by Joel Loblaw. The interior of the house was done by Cynthia Ferguson. The outdoor space is very pleasant looking, but I am puzzled when Joel says that the arbor structure protects the owners from the elements as the overhead structure is completely opened. Do they have a hidden retractable awning?

— Carine

I’ve been enjoying the May issue of House & Home as the warmer weather rolls in, finding it very motivating for my hopeful backyard makeover. When I’m not turning pages, I’m endlessly scrolling on your Instagram page for decor and product inspiration as well. I never noticed how many giveaways are available… fingers crossed!

— Maria Berardi, Kelowna, B.C.  

May 2021

When I read the One-Liner Trendwatch in your April issue, I couldn’t help but think a key designer was missed — Steven Sabados (S&C Design) has some really fabulous designs but one entire collection dedicated to the simplicity of lines. It’s called “Wired.” I love that he has been able to reinvent himself after losing his life partner so tragically, turning back to his roots in art.

— Anita Young

I am a long-time fan and follower of House & Home and enjoy reading every page of every issue! I especially enjoy features that showcase my backyard of beautiful British Columbia. I was looking forward to the November issue as I had heard that an old classmate of mine turned architect from Fulham Architects was to have one of her designs featured. The article wasn’t about the home she designed, but rather a focus on interior designer, Ami McKay, and her work in the space. While the piece itself and the home were absolutely lovely, I felt the context of the article could have benefitted from a closer look at the architect’s process, I know she took so much time paying attention to the City of Vancouver’s desire for traditional elements in this neighborhood. Hoping to see more of that in the future.

— Jennifer Harbaruk, Kamloops, B.C.

April 2021

Good day, I love receiving my issues of House and Home. The homes you feature are gorgeous and prompt so many decorating ideas. My only complaint is that you print the name of the producer and photographer in the magazine binding in such small font. These hardworking individuals are thrilled to be featured in your magazine and deserve recognition. No one is going to pull open and flatten the page to find their names. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

— Suzanne Murphy

March 2021

I’m just wondering why the December 2020 issue does not reflect many Christmas decorating ideas, and actually it hasn’t in the last couple of years. This should be a huge issue, very disappointing. Is there a reason?

— Pam Harkness, Kitchener, Ont.

Disappointing December 2020 issue. Every year I look so forward to the December issue for some holiday decorating ideas. When we are all looking for some holiday cheer this year, the December issue was a big let-down! Almost no holiday decorations. I guess this issue fits in well with the rest of 2020: not what we were hoping for.

— Nicola Jones, Whitby, Ont.

I am writing to tell you how much I was looking forward to your December 2020 issue. At a time when so many of us are looking for the comfort and warmth of the holiday season, your December issue offered an abundance of stark modern interiors that looked like they were photographed at any time of year other than the holidays. Lacking in this month’s issue was the warm glow of the holidays that would inspire me to transform my home into something special at a time when so many of us will not be able to venture beyond our own four walls. I will seek holiday inspiration elsewhere.

— Erin Gowriluk, Cantley, Que.

I got your November 2020 issue with that lovely picture of the children in a snowy Christmas scene. Why on earth did you not have that on your December 2020 cover? Every year your December magazine is a let-down. Why? It’s available early enough in November so people who are wanting some ideas and tips for decorating have ample time, but there’s no sign of the season, except for “Comfort & Joy,” which is very minimalist and some designers gift ideas. Your cover could have been any time of year. After the year we’ve had with COVID-19, I think people are looking for some joy and your front page does not reflect that nor does the content. Every year people say the same thing but for some reason you just plough on and do what you do every year, produce a bland December issue. Disappointing!

— Laura Keogh, St. George, Ont.

I just wanted to say thank you for finally sharing some beautiful soulful homes (November 2020). The homes of Philip Mitchell, Mark Narsansky and Nancy Lockhart together with the featured home that Tommy Smythe had worked on in Charleston, South Carolina, are such a nice departure from the boring, white, minimalist homes that have become the norm. These boring, white, minimalist homes don’t evoke any feeling of soul or warmth for me. It would be nice to see more color and more soul in the future! Thanks for keeping up the great work during these COVID times. Your magazines are a God send to us all!

 — Rose Blamey, Vancouver

Let me just say that I have been a subscriber for many years and love House & Home magazine, however in the October 2020 issue, in “More or Less” I found the prices of the items that were more to be unrealistically priced $20,000 for the artichoke pendant and $39,000 for the free form sofa, people who can afford those prices are not buying this magazine. Keep it real.

— Patricia Brauer, Ont. 

I agree with Penny Moffatt of Ballantrae, Ont. (“RSVP,” October 2020), the focus on the upscale markets in decorating has become more obvious. Perhaps the return of Lynda Reeves as President has something to do with this but perhaps not. But since Canada doesn’t have a plethora of decorating mags, spread the coverage from budget to luxury and give us all a chance to upgrade our look without breaking the bank. It would be a nice change wouldn’t it?

— Susan A. Frandsen, Dundas, Ont.

Finally getting around to reading your October 2020 issue and couldn’t possibly agree more with letters from Penny and Erin, Penny in particular (“RSVP”). It would be wonderful to see fewer high-profile designers, i.e. Brian Gluckstein in virtually every issue, and more “local” designers and interior decorators. Still enjoy your magazine but I suspect that most of your design ideas and products are becoming increasingly less relevant to the average home owner.

— Colleen McAloon, High Prairie, Alta.

October 2020

I received my May issue today and I love the articles, particularly “Home Grown.” One issue I have with your magazine, however, is the continued use of showcasing someone as a “designer,” particularly in this issue, Sarah Baeumler, who is nothing more than a TV personality presenting herself as a “designer.” We have many talented professionals in the Canadian design world and my preference as a subscriber is to see the work from those professionals in your magazine. Being the top Canadian magazine choice for home decorating, you have a responsibility to present individuals as they are — in this case as decorator, and not as a professional designer that has the academic qualifications and experience. Otherwise, what am I paying for?

— L. Samson, Brampton, Ont.

As a former art teacher and student of Arthur Lismer at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, I have found that in order to enjoy art, you do it on your own budget and creativity. Namely graphic prints — usually originals are often affordable — and should you wish to have larger pieces, posters of exhibitions are a good way to go. Laminated or framed, they are easy to buy in stores or in museums book stores. When one of Van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting was exhibited, I fell in love with it, and as a poster, it reminded me of the vivid colors and the viewing of his other works. The old-fashioned idea “where there is a will, there’s a way” works well in this situation.

— Vivien Lapa, Dollard des Ormeaux, Que.

[The following letter is in response to this letter from July-August RSVP: “Although the pictures in your May issue are very beautiful to look at, it seems that you’re only showing homes of people with unlimited money to spend. With a looming recession on the horizon, perhaps it would be a good idea to show how you can create a beautiful home with the things you already have. I’m still cooking in my old-fashioned kitchen that I’ve decorated with lovely green plants and, when I go to bed at night, I sleep very well because I have no debts and am thankful for being alive and healthy. In the end, this is what’s important in life. Lara Barrington, Rosemère, Que.”]

September 2020

My partner’s in lockdown in Canada and I’m in lockdown in Australia. He just got home from here in mid-March, but I couldn’t get out to join him in late April, so his birthday present to me, a subscription to House and Home, looked to be a non-event for this year until the March, April and May editions arrived during the week. On my birthday! I’m drooling and my daughter-in-law drools later, when I pass them onto her. The Scandi-style kitchen in Seattle (March issue) is a standout and plans are already afoot, although Ontario’s cottages do it for me every time, too. Delicious!

— Nicola MJ Stainlay, South Murwillumbah, Australia

I would like to send a big thank you to Alison Roman for her spectacularly tasty lemon tea cake (“Perfectly Imperfect,” May). Not being able to share in person, I emailed the recipe to four friends across Canada. I’m happy to report that last weekend (Mother’s Day) two friends in Ontario and two friends here on Vancouver Island baked and enjoyed the Turmeric Lemon Tea Cake. Kudos, Alison… that’s definitely a keeper!

— Sue Gardner, Victoria, B.C.

I look forward to each issue’s “Ask a Designer” page, but was disappointed with June’s. When readers are asking for color ideas, are they coming from white houses with white objets and staples? One of the photos includes a scarf on a headboard. Colorful sheets might bring cheer to the room, or non-white flowers, even. The pillows in the white great room provide so little color that they’re lost in the white. Painting non-white neutrals isn’t really “color” and showing a picture of a white pillow with a barely non-white fabric option isn’t really “color.” Finally, the pale non-white neutral behind the white dishes in the kitchen cabinet is barely color. Bringing out the colored items you own but store in the crawl space or garage also isn’t decorating with color. Other readers have commented on House & Home’s white or almost-white palettes and I’m adding my voice to support the use of color beyond these mild suggestions.

— Corinne Janow, Oliver, B.C.

Just sending a little note to let you know how much I am enjoying your Housebound episodes. Such a wonderful, creative idea for the situation we find ourselves in… and something to look forward to watching each week. I enjoy the conversations you have with the designers and love seeing their beautifully decorated homes, as well as yours! P.S. I look forward to many more episodes… hopefully?

— June Spooner, Kingston, Ont.

I would love to see the superbly talented Scott Yetman of Montreal interviewed by the extraordinary Lynda Reeves for an episode of Housebound. Does he miss the classical elegance of his previously up-dated, old world flat? Does he see a return to mixing antiques and classical millwork with the overwhelmingly modern content of today’s design?

— Nerissa Dexter, Silicon Valley, Calif.

July/August 2020

Lovebirds aren’t ornaments (“Perennial Favourite,” May). It’s sad and disappointing to see two live lovebirds in a tiny, unsuitable and bare cage on someone’s porch. Lovebirds are intelligent parrots and deserve better.

Sharron Weeks, North Vancouver, B.C.

I received my May issue of House & Home and was surprised and disappointed that it was not in a plastic sleeve. During this pandemic, would it not be better to be able to wipe it down before opening, since we already know COVID-19 can live on shiny paper and cardboard?

Lauramary Cook, St. Stephen, N.B.

I am always anxious to get my copy of H&H in the mail. Unfortunately, the last several issues have come in an almost unreadable state which really detracts from the enjoyment. Is there a way that I can continue my subscription but receive the magazine in better condition? This is the only mail that I receive in such poor condition — ironically all the bills are perfectly legible. Help!

Amy Hagbom, Minneapolis, Minn.

I used to be a faithful subscriber, but stopped doing so because the issues always arrived damaged. I had been able to find H&H in the magazine sections of a few grocery stores, but have not been able to over the past few months. Any names of retail outlets that carry your magazine would be greatly appreciated.

Joan Fauchere, Morristown, N.J.

I have really enjoyed House & Home for many years now, having stumbled upon the magazine accidentally on a market magazine stand. The quality of photography, writing, the paper it’s printed on, products and style featured. The one thing I’m always curious about, and what I anticipate with each new issue is “where do the rest of the Canadians live?” Why not feature some middle-class, moderate income folks, their pared-down choices and styles, their family homes in locations outside the metropolitan areas or high-end getaway locations? Not having travelled much in Canada, I’d like to see more of my beautiful neighbor’s countryside represented. Just curious!

Chris Tiffany, Solvang, Calif.

I baked the Lemon Turmeric cake today and what a mess! I was eager to try it because I can’t eat cakes prepared with milk or cream but can eat those made with buttermilk or sour cream. I followed Alison Roman’s advice and used a 4″ x 9″ pan (she didn’t). The top layer oozed out and the lemon slices slid off onto the old cookie sheet I put underneath (just in case). Halfway through baking, I used a slice to remove the bits that had oozed out so far and put them on a plate. More oozed out with the lemon slices. I scooped up the slices and dumped them on top. The resulting crater from the impact site makes a dismal picture. And yes, it is delicious.

Dawn Morin, Read, Ont.

Free May issue for those with Apple devices? Really? This is not a great plan, as you will tick off a lot of non-users in an era when Android has about half the market! Time to get current…

Guy Hodgins, North Vancouver, B.C.

Thank you for your April cover. I have despaired of the total lack of color in your pages. For a lot of our year, the skies and landscape are white and gray, and so were all of your pages, with kitchens that looked like they were prepped for surgery. Now, as I am confined at home, I am catching up on my magazines and what a pleasure to see color on the cover and in the pages that follow. I went on a house tour in my town before Christmas, and you would swear that each home had been done by the same designer (they weren’t). No color, no imagination and no fun. Please include color in your issues and everyone take care.

Sharon Heinrich, Whitby, Ont.

I want to say how much I enjoyed the April and May issues. The articles with the floor plan drawings, as well as the before and after photos were great. They add so much more to the story, even though it takes me longer to read each article, as I study the details much longer. I’m sure it is difficult to find properties with before photos, but a floor plan drawing, even if not to scale, adds so much to my enjoyment. I also like to see outdoor shots as well. Keep up the good work.

Shirley Pulfer, Iroquois, Ont.

I have enjoyed your magazine for many years and have had great ideas for our home that we lived in the last couple of years. The issue of the April magazine was one of the best. Many good ideas and beautiful homes. I am so looking forward to Tommy Smythe’s article on his renovations down South. I think he is a great designer. The story of Mezari Atelier & Boutique is wonderful; it is nice to know there are people like her out there. Great job on the April issue.

Doris Iverson, Vernon, B.C.

The May issue of your magazine confirmed my suspicion that there is no diversity and inclusion executive on your editorial team. On page 60, there is an image of an ex-slave featured as “art” on the walls of a Toronto couple’s home (“The Big Picture”). This graphic image, which is often shown in history textbooks, is a reminder of the atrocities and violence my ancestors had to endure. As a descendent of slaves, I would never hang this on my walls and it is especially painful to see this image on display in the home of two white art collectors. It is simply inappropriate to use an image of such suffering for aesthetic purposes. I am deeply disappointed that in spite of your efforts this mistake has occurred.

Peggy Piet, Kitchener, Ont.