Letters from the most recent issues of House & Home.
I’m a longtime reader H&H and love your magazine. I was a bit disappointed to read Emma Reddington’s View in the July-August issue describing her cottage time in the “Muskokas.” The region’s name is singular Muskoka; we don’t say the “Torontos” or the “Vancouvers.” Unfortunately, we’re seeing more people refer to it plurally. Your editors may want to keep an eye out for that in the future! My great-great-grandparents who helped settle the region would thank you. Thanks for producing such a great magazine!
— Wendy Lowe, Ottawa
In July-August’s Garden News, Alison Westlake recommends foraging and drying buckthorn as an environmentally friendly decorating item. This is particularly interesting as common buckthorn is actually invasive across Canada. This plant is very good at outcompeting native plants. Disturbing this plant can cause its berries to fall and spread. It’s also difficult to dispose of, since you can’t dump the branches in your compost as the seeds will take root. I’m disappointed that an invasive species made it into an environmentally friendly decorating recommendation. Please do better vetting on the plants you recommend.
— Kayla G., Aurora, Ont.
Editor’s note: Buckthorn is easy to forage and makes for an attractive branch display but, you’re right, it is invasive. Thank you for pointing out that these branches need to be carefully disposed of.
I felt compelled to write after reading your July-August issue. I expected to see cottages and quaint houses but, instead, I found several multimillion-dollar residences. I understand that the magazine is providing inspiration, but this is well beyond what most of your readers can afford. In times of inflation, soaring interest rates and budget-cutting, I’m not sure why you would highlight such expensive homes. Personally, I would have liked to have seen smaller and more manageable renovation projects that are in keeping with a cottage lifestyle.
— Christine Krubnik
I renewed my subscription to H&H this year, hoping to find more original content. But honestly, do we need another spread on neutral interiors? In the July-August issue, apart front the Condo of the Month (“Simply Fabulous”), it was more neutral and natural, seen-it-before fare. More art, more colour, more originality!
— Siobhan-Louise O’Keefe, Vancouver
I love the July-August issue, except the glass railing on the deck on page 61 (“A Modern Beauty”). What about aquatic birds that die because of those railings?
— Francine Baillargeon, Lac-Etchemin, Que.
I’ve been a loyal subscriber to H&H since its inception, but your constant focus on Toronto and Ontario is unacceptable. If you want a truly Canadian decorating magazine, concentrate on the whole of Canada. Also, the featured articles are bland and have merged in to one theme: slick, colourless, contemporary is best. The colours are muted and faded. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed learning about the many facets of home decorating — not so much now.
— Donna Michaels, Brandon, Man.
I’ve been a subscriber and decorating junkie for many, many years. During all that time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so little originality in kitchen backsplashes as I have seen in your recent issues. Whether the home is traditional, transitional, modern, farmhouse or something else, it has a single stone slab behind the sink and stove. Good heavens, designers, show something different for a change! There is a world of interesting tile out there — could someone please use it?
— Alison Baxter, Toronto
I’ve been disappointed with House & Home’s lack of interest regarding our planet’s climate crisis. Only one page in each issue is saved for sustainable living. My second concern is the proliferation of American features. Recently, your travel destinations were American, three design books appearing on your pages were all by American authors, as were many of the designers. I would think that Canadian chefs, garden experts and travel businesses would be clambering to have a page in House & Home.
— Rozanne Stein, Collingwood, Ont.
Thank you for continuing to bring inspiring decorating to your readers. I always look forward to getting my magazine in the mail and sitting down with my Saturday morning coffee to peruse all that’s new with interior design. I used to receive my magazine with no envelope, and sometimes it was worse for wear, damp or scrunched. I appreciate the idea of a protective envelope, but single-use plastics is not the direction we need to go. I would suggest a paper envelope; it can be easily recycled or reused. Please consider it — we have to stop the devastating effects of global warming, together.
— Brendan Taylor, Montreal
The May issue is really attractive. I agree with other readers that some of your price points are too high for many people in the current economy, and I wish you had more articles about upcycling, refinishing and reusing instead of always featuring the latest “must-haves,” but creativity can be sparked anywhere and House & Home should remain a good source of inspiration.
— Samantha McCuaig, Trent Hills, Ont.
With the new laws around pool fencing coming into effect in Quebec in 2025, I would love it if you could feature options for fencing, whether for a country house or a city dwelling.
— Isabelle, Que.
I totally agree with Cindy Lalande’s letter in the April issue. How about decorating with items the majority of people can afford?
— Juliette Lavoie
I read your magazine every month and enjoy it immensely. That said, I noticed a recurring commentary in your Letters section in the March 2023 issue that echoes something I have long felt: many of your recommendations and retail spotlights are for items priced well beyond what 99 per cent of your readership can afford. In today’s struggling economy, with inflation at an all-time high, it seems arrogant to be suggesting $140 aromatherapy candles and $8,000 light fixtures as if they are perfectly normal and reasonable. I truly believe you can and should do better than cater to the tiny minority of people who believe $400 for napkin rings is reasonable.
— Greg Vickers, Hamilton, Ont.
As a long-term subscriber, I always look forward to receiving your magazine and seeing the latest and greatest trends. I noticed, when looking at the floor plans and photos, that the principal bedroom in April’s “Open Invitation” and the TOM Design Studio makeover (“Refined & Elegant”) both lacked closet space. How can this be? Am I the only one who thinks adequate closet space is a must-have in a principal suite?
— Catherine Grant, Toronto
My son has purchased House & Home for me every Christmas. I feel like I’ve known Lynda Reeves from the first magazine published. Over the years, my husband and I have either built or remodelled many homes together. When our son grew up, he became a ticketed carpenter. We have designed and built a number of houses together. We’re not builders but love turning houses into beautiful homes through renovations or building from scratch. I’m writing to ask if you ever considered doing an issue on amateur interior designers like myself? As I read through each issue of your magazine, I’m disappointed to see every beautiful home is designed by a famous designer or design firm. I’m sure there are many homes designed and decorated by people who, like me, have no formal training. Our budgets may be much lower, but we produce a stunning product just the same. Thank you for the monthly inspiration!
— Brenda Gottfried, Victoria, B.C.
I had a subscription to House & Home for a number of years, but I found that all the homes started to look the same. They’re all Scandi-style with white, beige and black. They look sparse and lack warmth, colour and interest. I’m not sure if it’s because Canadian homes all look the same and you’re unable to find more interesting homes, or if it’s intentional. I wish H&H would
say goodbye to Scandi design and be a little more daring!
— Karen Braun, Victoria, B.C.
I love the topic of your magazine, some of the designs and, occasionally, articles about home style not from Toronto. However, as I don’t live in a century-old renovated Toronto house, won’t be styling my condo with a design team and can only look at a $21,000 Le Cornue range with wonder, I will not be subscribing to your magazine. I live in metropolitan Vancouver, own a condo with a beautiful terrace and have been looking to refresh its look, thinking there may be inspiration at H&H. However, there hasn’t been, and nothing indicates that will change. Yours isn’t a magazine that relates to my home at all.
—B. McEwan Vancouver
In your March issue, too many featured kitchens and homes were decorated in neutrals. Are neutrals the new colour? Except for Luke Edward Hall’s colourful English style (Interview), the other interiors were architecturally interesting but otherwise blah.
— Susan Smuckler, Burlington, Ont.
I’ve been an avid subscriber for more than 20 years. My last two homes were decorated based on many of your editions from over the years. In your March issue, you wrote that “every town needs great home stores” (View, “The Perfect Kitchen”). My niece, Mallory McDonald, recently opened a small store in Lancaster, Ont., called Marigold Market that’s committed to featuring sustainable, Canadian-made products that last or that can be recycled. She will certainly be up and coming, and I hope you’ll check it out. Thank you, and I love this issue… I need a new kitchen reno!
— Lisa McCool-Philbin, Corbeil, Ont.
Poring over your pages brings me so much joy, and one particular detail gives me the warm fuzzies like no other: you always include the name and breed of homeowners’ pets! These shout-outs to furry family members never fail to make me smile.
— Helen Macaulay, Victoria
I would really like to see an article written about venetian blinds. From what I understand, cords are no longer permissible & I’m not sure about the lift & lock concept. I would like to know more about the alternatives. Personally, I prefer a blind with wide slats that are easier to clean but I do like the idea of being able to either tilt the blinds or to raise them in order to let more light in.
— Carol Bielby, Vancouver
I really enjoy your magazine; I find a good mix of styles which is refreshing (and not just neutral on neutral, which is so bland). But the column by Lynda Reeves (“View,” October) kind of floored me; she says getting decorating done that’s “colourful, busy, over the top” is “very pricey” and “jars the senses.” Colour doesn’t equate to “jarring.”
— Dana Batho, Victoria
The instructions for Ryan Lister’s roasted chicken say to let the chicken brine for 12 hours, but it doesn’t say whether the brining should be done in the refrigerator or not. Can you please clarify this for me and for other H&H readers?
— Paula Pasquali
Editor’s note: We reached out to chef Ryan Lister and he confirms that the brining should be done in the refrigerator!
My perfect place in the sun… after reading your article “A Summer State of Mind” while sitting in my gazebo, I felt compelled to share this with you. After downsizing, selling our house and now living in an apartment, I was allowed to construct an outdoor space on the back lawn of our apartment complex. I enjoy the beautiful breezes, sounds of birds singing, children playing and listening to my wind chimes that I had purchased in 1996 while visiting Lake Louise, Alta.. Thank you for the decades of joy that Canadian House & Home has given me.
— Trudy Vince, Stellarton, N.S.
Love your recipes! Could you make a printer-friendly version? All that black ink is absolutely not great. The page was literally wet.
— Lisa Zagerman, Toronto
Have you ever considered doing a story on someone who doesn’t know what their style is or should be for a home they live in? Just wondering.
— April Kennedy, Dunvegan, Ont.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.