Sara Peterson, editor in chief of HGTV Magazine, took time out of her hectic, making-a-brand-new-magazine schedule to talk to me about what it was like to see this project come to life.
LZ: Can you tell our readers in a nutshell what it’s like to create a magazine from scratch?
SP: It’s exhilarating, but also a lot of work! We spent months thinking about and discussing all the reasons people love HGTV, and then how to translate this hugely popular TV network into a fun, fresh, new kind of home/lifestyle magazine that was unlike anything else out there. Some days, I watch so many HGTV shows that I’m surprised my DVR hasn’t exploded.
LZ: What was your biggest accomplishment?
SP: Getting the magazine out with a cover that I’m proud of—it says fun, fast makeovers in big colorful letters. I love that cover line, and I’m hoping that will speak to a lot of HGTV fans.
LZ: In one word, how would you describe HGTV Magazine?
LZ: Is there any particular story that’s your absolute favorite from the inaugural issue?
SP: That’s like trying to name your favorite child! I can’t do it. We put 100% effort into every single story. That I can tell you!
LZ: Tell us a little bit about your staff: Where do they come to the magazine from?
SP: One day the whole staff talked about where we grew up and all the places we’ve lived. We hit on every part of the country—the South, the Midwest, the East Coast, and the West. We’re a very diverse staff, which is so important when you’re creating a national magazine that needs to speak to homeowners and renters everywhere.
LZ: What’s the best part about your new digs in the eco-friendly Hearst Tower?
SP: The views are incredible. We’re on the 35th floor (the Hearst Tower is in Midtown Manhattan, at 57th Street and 8th Avenue), and we face south, so on a clear day, we can see all the way downtown and a long stretch of the Hudson River. I also like that we have an open floor plan in our office, and the offices all have glass walls. It’s a team effort to create a magazine, and this openness makes constant collaboration even easier. We talk face-to-face with one another more than we email. I appreciate that.
LZ: Any sneak peeks or secrets from the magazine you can share with our readers?
SP: We photographed Sarah Richardson’s farmhouse in Canada—but not just the rooms. We sneaked around and took photos inside her closets, inside her kitchen cabinets, in her medicine cabinets. Sarah has such amazing style, so it’s great to get her tips for making a family home extra comfy—but it’s also really fun to find out what’s in her pantry, what’s in her coat closet, even what’s under her kitchen sink! Also: David’s Bromstad’s current paint color obsessions. Who doesn’t want to know those?!