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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.

Sara Peterson

Sara Peterson at home. Photo by: Squire Fox

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?
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?
SP: Happy.

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?!

67 Responses

  1. Doris K. Silas/Lewis says:

    H.G.T.V. Magazine from the front cover to the last page please, please don't change one thing about this magazine perfection can't get any better than this. I would also like to thank Ms. Sara Peterson// Editor In Chief for doing a magnificent job of creating perfection in this magazine. Congratulations to everyone who worked on this premiere issue. I love Hgtv A bright light I found that has brightened up my day's considerably…Number one fan of Hgtv show's & magazine!!!


    HI!!!!! I'm so happy I just got my magazine LOVED IT!!!!! I would love to see a little craft projects to???
    I can't fined your survey either . Sara I would to say thank you for comming out with the magazine been waiting for some one to do it !!!! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH.


  3. [...] Design Happens Chats with HGTV Magazine’s Sara Peterson [...]

  4. Sue Ellis says:

    Received my copy of HGTV Magazine yesterday….quick read, great ideas. Can't find the online survey, so someone goofed up. The price of homes in other areas really isn't something I would expect in this magazine nor the cost of living in different locals, so I think these can go. I like the practical applications of how long to keep, how to clean, what to replace or upgrade, where to get the best buy for your area, etc. I would like to see more crafty ideas, but basically love this magazine and worth the $15 for ten issues (I wouldn't pay the retail price). Love HGTV & Food Network!

  5. Penny Kindred says:

    Am alittle disappointed in thepremier issue. There is too much advertising. I was hoping for more suggestions and ideas from the designers, especially David Bromstad, who I believe is one of the best. Too little with Genevieve Gorder and Sabina Soto. More in depth designers comments and include some of the other designers. The real estate section can go. You are on the track but needs to get better. I couldn't find the survey on line also, like others. Would appreciate being able to do the survey.

  6. Jean Perz says:

    I was totally dissatisfied with the magazine. I thought there would be more how to's to help redecorate in this economy. It was most of the same as all other magazines. Before and after but nothing to show how to get the after. Also, please "NO MORE RECIPES" . I wanted the magazine for ideas in decorating "NOT" feeding my face. If that was the case I would buy a cooking magazine. Stick with what your TV name stands for, "HOME AND GARDEN TELEVISION". Not garden for cooking, garden for beautifying.

  7. jeannine groh says:

    Delighted. Simply loved your premier issue. With every turn of the page there were more ideas–some of which were more interesting to me than others but most were excellent. A possible suggestion from my corner of the world…fireplaces. Is it proper to place furniture in front of them? How to decorate around them? Thanking you in advance…jeannine groh

  8. Misty McHone says:

    I love watching HGTV I am big fan. When I saw the commercial about your magazine I had to get one so I order online. I love your magazine it has lot of great details and very colorful its amazing I love the magazine.

  9. Renee Balz says:

    Both my husband and I love the magazine. Great ideas and love the fact that you include websites and addresses to find the products you feature. I've been told by my husband to KEEP all copies for future reference! How about an issue that features the comeback of wallpaper?

  10. Raenee says:

    Love, love, love the magazine. I was unable to find the online survey as well, did anyone have any luck?

Lili ZarghamiLili is Editorial Director of HGTV.com. Her personal obsessions include looking for just the right sofa, ogling real estate listings, and reading floor-plans. She has an admitted "chair problem," collecting...


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