Alyssa Sparacino

"Put a bow on anything, and I'm happy."

Alyssa is the Online Editor for HGTV Magazine. She lives in a cozy brownstone apartment in Hoboken with (she likes to think) tons of charm. The older building provides character in a growing town just across the Hudson from New York City. A mirrored vanity and a gallery wall are next up in her bedroom re-do.

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POSTS BY Alyssa Sparacino

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It’s officially show house season! This week, I had the pleasure of touring this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, located in the Arthur Sachs Mansion in New York’s coveted Lenox Hill neighborhood.

Originally built in 1909 for Arthur Sachs of — yep, Goldman Sachs — the townhouse has five floors and boasts 9,600 square feet of amazing architecture and design. The 43rd annual show house features the work of 22 top interior designers, each leaving his or her stamp on their chosen space. The result feels like a luxurious but comfortable home for a chic Manhattan family. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s currently for sale? Yes, it can be yours for the cool price of $35 million.

Take a look around.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Kitchen

Design by Christopher Peacock, Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

The huge galley-style kitchen designed by Christopher Peacock features a mix of painted cabinets and hand-picked English Wych Elm accents. Expansive Silstone countertops and brushed brass hardware tie the kitchen together.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dining Room

Design by Mark D Sikes Inc., Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

This formal dining space designed by Mark D. Sikes was inspired by a beautiful Italian home and introduces a fresh take on an uptown townhouse dining room. Red gingham fabric walls, silk trims, regency mahogany antiques, gilt mirrors, modern art and a 19th century, director-style crystal chandelier bring it all together in the formal dining room.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Staircase

Design by Philip Mitchell Design, Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

The stair hall designed by Philip Mitchell is so grand it deserves to be considered another “room.” With each step you take, you’re surrounded by a wonderfully curated art collection that spans various mediums and eras. Looking up, the spiral staircase frames a skylight that brings light all the way to the ground floor.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Office

Design by Thom Filicia Inc., Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

A work day in this home office would feel like anything but. Designer Thom Filicia says he wanted to create a space that was subtly sophisticated, elegantly easy and playfully purposeful. He accomplished that and more with this appropriately named “Study in Style.”

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Rooftop

Design by Rottet Studio, Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

Not to be forgotten in this urban jungle, the roof terrace designed by Lauren Rottet and her Rottet Studio team is a welcome escape from the bustling New York City streets. Though it’s not the only outdoor space in the home, it is the highest — and it features stunning views of what Rottet calls “the world’s best city.” (Lauren, I totally agree!)

Want to see it for yourself? The home is open to tours through June 11. As if the stunning home or inspiring designs weren’t enough, the event is hosted by the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and marks the organization’s 100th year of service. Proceeds will benefit the club, which provides after-school programs for thousands of local kids.

What’s your favorite space in the home? Tell me in the comments below.

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june 2015 cover

Pick up the June issue tomorrow!

Everything in HGTV Magazine has been bigger than ever lately. The May issue included a huge all-paint special section, and the brand-new June issue is following suit with a bigger, brighter and even better Flea Market Flips Blowout with a total of 12 projects.

before and after chair makeover

We transformed chairs, brought desks back to life and reinvented old lamps. We even created an illustrated step-by-step on how to turn flower seed packets into pillows — exclusively for online readers at hgtv.com/sew-pillow-covers.

pillows

The perfect outdoor pillow

Browse the before and afters here, and pick up your June issue of HGTV Magazine on stands tomorrow! Tired of waiting? Subscribe now.

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pendants answer

 

For the June High/Low Challenge we quizzed you to spot the price difference between these two yellow pendant lights. You were correct if you answered Left: Low, Right: High. (The lucky winner will be notified via email.) In the meantime, here’s more about these looks.

With a metal shade and a cute matching cord, the “low” light is a no-brainer. The “high” option on the right features an opal glass shade that creates a warm, flattering glow. Find these and more amazing High/Low finds in the June issue of HGTV Magazine on sale Tuesday.

Didn’t participate in our High/Low Challenge this month? With great prizes that include exclusive HGTV Magazine gear, you’ll want to join the fun next time! See you then.

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yellow pendants

Test your shopping skills.

Pendants are one of our favorite kinds of light fixtures at HGTV Magazine. You’ll find them in house tours, kitchen remodels and even curb appeal stories. This month, we’re particularly keen on these sunshine-yellow options on the High/Low List. They’re similar in size, shape and color, but — you know the drill — different in price. Can you guess which lovely light costs a bit more than the other?

To enter this month’s High/Low Challenge, make your choice and tell us in the comments below (ex: Left: Low, Right: High). One lucky winner will receive a prize package that includes the latest June issue of HGTV Magazine, an HGTV Mag tote bag and an HGTV Mag calendar (brand-new item alert!). You must answer correctly to be eligible to win. Lock in those answers now — entry ends tomorrow, May 8, at 2 p.m. Check back then to see if you were right, and get more info on both pendants.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Sweepstakes ends at 2:00 p.m. ET on May 8, 2015. Full official rules are available here. Sponsored by Scripps Networks, LLC dba Home & Garden Television, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.

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UPDATE: Thanks for participating. This poll is now closed.

HGTV Magazine is pet friendly. Sadly, that doesn’t mean we can bring our dogs to work (OK, so maybe they’ve stopped by once or twice), but we love our furry friends like family. Our adorable dog model, Daniel Patrick the West Highland terrier, even graced the cover back in Jan/Feb 2014!

Don’t you just love Daniel Patrick’s sweater?

This time, we’re busy putting together a special pet feature for an upcoming issue, and we need your help. Take a second to answer the four questions below, and we’ll use the results to help create a story you and Fido will both love.




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The newest issue of HGTV Magazine marks an important milestone for the brand — we’re turning the big 3-0! The May issue (out tomorrow!) is our 30th since we began publishing in fall 2011.

May 2015 cover

HGTV Magazine May 2015 Cover

The magazine (and staff!) has grown exponentially, with each issue getting bigger, better and brighter than the last.

“I truly believe the magazine just gets better and better. I’m very proud of the fact that the staff is constantly creating fresh, new, never-been-done-before stories and layouts. We launched our premiere issue with that kind of thinking, and we still operate that way three years later.” — Sara Peterson, editor in chief

“Thank you to all of our advertisers for making our 2nd annual paint issue a tremendous success, and thank you to our readers for making HGTV Magazine one of the most successful magazine launches in recent history.”  Dan Fuchs, publisher and chief revenue officer 

We’ve made a lot of creative strides in our short lifespan. We’ve created a kids-only mini-mag, shared a cover with Food Network, took you inside one incredible home after another, and now, for the second time, we’ve expanded our DIY content for a giant all-paint-everything section.

Inside, you’ll find 13 pages of hue-drenched rooms, color-rich DIYs and pro-picked shades (including a poster-size, fold-out paint index). So get your paintbrush ready, because we’re showing you nearly a dozen different ways you can paint almost anything.

paint how tos

Paint the floor. Paint a lampshade. Paint a dresser.

BONUS: As you’re clicking through the story, don’t miss the links to exclusive online-only how-tos for many of the fun elements you see in each bold room. (There are 11 in all.) Happy painting!

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In the latest High/Low Challenge we asked you to spot the price difference between these two fun outdoor seats. The correct answer was Left: high, Right: low. Were you right? The winner of our HGTV Magazine prize package for May will be chosen and notified by email.

high low may answer

Were you correct?

An outdoor-safe seat cushion makes this curvy chair on the left more comfy. The back of the chair on the right was inspired by the shape of a traditional Amish barn. Both great choices, both great buys. For shopping information on these powder-coated steel and iron chairs, check out the newest picks on our High/Low List in the May issue of HGTV Magazine — out Tuesday!

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high low may

Can you spot the price difference?

The latest High/Low Challenge features a pair of bright orange chairs that are screaming to be a part of a backyard party or to sit on a sun-drenched patio. Both share fun geometric designs, but one is priced higher than the other. Can you guess which seat is ‘High’ and which is ‘Low’? If so, you could be the lucky winner who takes home an HGTV Magazine prize package filled with an umbrella, notebook, and the latest May issue. To enter, leave your answer in the comments below (i.e. Left: high, Right: low or vice versa). You must answer correctly for a chance to win. And hurry! You have until tomorrow at 2 p.m. to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received.  Sweepstakes ends at 2:00 p.m. ET on April 3, 2015. Full official rules are available here. Sponsored by Scripps Networks, LLC dba Home & Garden Television, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.

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smoothies
Spring is right around the corner, and by right around the corner, we mean tomorrow. “Wait, what?!” That’s right. Even though it may not feel like spring is in the air, warmer weather, sunshine, and yes, shorts and swim suits, will be a reality before you know it.

So as we adjust our closets from cable knits to maxi dresses, let’s make some changes in the kitchen, too. These healthy smoothies are just the light and fresh recipes to help you make the transition.

Get the Recipes

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Ah, April—the name alone sounds like spring doesn’t it? Get excited for the new season with a new issue of HGTV Magazine, on sale tomorrow. Inside you’ll find kitchens that excite, homes that look better than ever, and furniture and decor that helps you make your home magazine-worthy, too.

April 2015 Cover

Pick up your April issue tomorrow

Here’s a look at just some of what you can find this month! There’s lots more where this came from.

From the crafty (wink, wink) editors who gave you awesome ways to use felt and gold paint, now comes five faux-leather DIYs you’ll want to make ASAP.

leather DIYS

It’s all about faux leather this month

Head over to hgtv.com/clipboards for the web-exclusive templates we used to create the faux-leather clipboards below.

clipboards

Download the templates for DIY faux-leather clipboards

BONUS LOOK: Anthony Carrino let us in to his one-of-a-kind loft in Jersey City, NJ. You’ll need to pick up a copy to see the entire tour, but we’re sharing some behind-the-scenes photos of the shoot over at I Heart HGTV.

Never miss an issue—subscribe here.

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When you have a cold the tissue box can be your only friend, so it should at least be cute, right? Right! In this edition of The High/Low Challenge we showed you two green patterned tissue box covers, and you were correct if you answered “Left: Low, Right: High.” One lucky winner will be notified by email.

You can personalize the acrylic pick on the left with a monogram or name. And you won’t believe how many coats of lacquer are on this patterned version on the right — seven shiny layers.

tissue box answer

Both make great housewarming gifts

For more information on these items and even more High/Low deals, pick up the April issue of HGTV Magazine on newsstands Tuesday, March 10!

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Grab a tissue for this one, but not for the reason you might think. This is not about a sappy rom-com, but about your eye for design. This month’s High/Low Challenge is giving some attention to your tissue box.

Decorating is in the details with these two tissue box covers that add color to any bathroom, while covering up even the saddest and most smashed drugstore box you’ve seen. Regardless of which pattern you prefer, can you correctly spot the price difference simply by what you see here?

To enter HGTV Magazine‘s latest High/Low Challenge, tell us which item you think costs more (the High), and which item costs less (the Low) in the comments below. For example: Left: High, Right: Low or vice versa. The correct answer will be revealed on the blog tomorrow, so check back to you see if you were right on the money. We’ll choose one lucky winner from those who answered correctly.

Oh, yeah — and the prizes are pretty great this time, too. The winner will receive a prize package which includes an HGTV Magazine tote bag, an HGTV Magazine yoga mat and a copy of the brand-new April issue, on sale Tuesday. Good luck!

tissue box covers

Which is the high? The low?

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Sweepstakes ends at 2:00 p.m. ET on March 6, 2015. Full official rules are available here. Sponsored by Scripps Networks, LLC dba Home & Garden Television, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.

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No matter how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day (or with whom), it’s probably fair to assume there will be chocolate involved. Make it dark chocolate for a healthier sweet treat you’ll L-O-V-E.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with antioxidants, a powerful agent against free radicals, which have been linked to serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. So indulge in these dark chocolate recipes with your beau or a friend, and they could help protect your heart, even if it gets broken.

Smoldering Heart Dark Chocolate Cookies

heart shaped chocolate cookies

Image courtesy of The View From Great Island

These heart-shaped cookies stand out among the rest. Ditch the pink icing or red sprinkles, and opt for a more “smoldering” dark chocolate look. Cayenne powder in the shortbread cookie adds just the right amount of heat, and smoked paprika on the icing spices things up even more.

Get the full recipe at The View From Great Island

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal chocolate bars

Image courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This treat may be having an identity crisis: Is it a bar? A cookie? A brownie? But, who cares! They are healthy thanks to filling fiber in the oats, those antioxidants in the dark chocolate, and the recipe calls for coconut oil (jury still out on the potential benefits, there). Plus, they’re done in just 30 minutes flat!

Get the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

chocolate cake

Image courtesy of Heather Christo

Looking at this decadent dark chocolate cake with chocolate-espresso icing you’d NEVER be able to guess its secret ingredient. Zucchini helps keep the cake super moist, and it’s a sneaky way to meet your veggie quota.

Get the full recipe from Heather Christo

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

chocolate dipped fruit

Image Courtesy of Marla Meridith

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a chocolate covered strawberry or five, but don’t discriminate against other fruit that taste equally delish dipped in the good stuff. Create a different kind of bouquet by dipping various berries in melted dark chocolate—blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries were all used here. Stick them on the end of a skewer, and place in a vase for easy access to healthy snacking.

Get the full recipe at Family Fresh Cooking

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

chocolate covered banana and peanut butter

Image Courtesy of Smile Sandwich

I personally love a recipe that calls for items you likely have in the cupboard already. Enter these bite-sized treats that have just four ingredients. Potassium from the bananas, protein from the nut butter, and antioxidants from the dark chocolate come together for a unique homemade sweet to share with whomever you choose.

Get the full recipe at Smile Sandwich

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Your favorite HGTV Magazine stories are better than ever in the latest issue on sale tomorrow. Curb Appeal heads to sunny Florida, Flea Market Flips is still turning tossed goods into look-at-me-now furniture, and let’s just say the house tours…those will leave you with more ideas than you know what to do with.

March cover

Pick up the latest March issue of HGTV Mag!

There’s lots more to explore, and you can be among the first to dig in to new content by subscribing here. For now, let’s take a look at some of what you’ll find when you head to the newsstand.

We started with the basics: a white dresser. Then added no-fail accessories that show off your personal style: a lamp, a vase, and a pretty object.

dresser

Mint green dresser, Chevron wall, and pretty flowers—we love.

We created four dresser looks, but it’s only online where can you find the instructions for painting two of the more intricate designs. Visit hgtv.com/dresser-formula to see how.

A brand new column in this issue included a recipe from a familiar HGTV star. One who is known for his colorful personality, but who can apparently also whip up a batch of gooey delicious Chocolate Chip Sea-Salt Cookies. Who do you think this mystery man is? Take a guess, then test the recipe for yourself.

cookies

Guess which star baked these bakery-size cookies?

Get more exciting HGTV Magazine news on Twitter by following us @HGTVMag.

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For this edition of HGTV Magazine‘s High/Low Challenge, we asked you to correctly identify the low and higher-priced product from a pair of stunning blue chests. Was this an easy one, or were you officially stumped? Those of you who correctly answered Left: low, Right: high, must have a knack for spotting a great deal. The lucky winner of an HGTV Magazine prize package will be notified by email.

high low answer

Were you right this time?

Both of these beauties have a similar curved design, but the slightly darker blue version on the left has less ornate hardware, helping to bring down the cost. The more intricate design on the right has a surprise inside! The drawers are lined with wallpaper—no DIYing required. Find shopping information for these and many other pairs in the The New High/Low List.

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It’s a new year, and a new chance to win! The first High/Low Challenge of the 2015 comes just in time for the release of the March issue of HGTV Magazine (on sale Tuesday), and shows off two blue chests worth a closer look.

From an entryway to a guest bedroom, these two pieces make just the right kind of statement. The shades of blue are saturated without being too bold, making it a truly versatile addition to your home. While it may be difficult to choose a favorite among the pair, let’s see if it’s easier to spot the difference in cost. One of these chests is nearly half the cost of the other, but which one is it?

Enter for a chance to win a prize package that includes a copy of the March issue, an HGTV Magazine iPhone 5 case and an HGTV Magazine tote bag. All you have to do is leave your guess in the comments below (i.e. Right: high, Left: low or vice versa). You must answer correctly to win. The answer will be revealed on the blog tomorrow, so come back to check if you’ve got a keen design eye.

high low blue chests

Which is more wallet-friendly?

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Sweepstakes ends at 2:00 p.m. ET on February 6, 2015. Full official rules are available here. Sponsored by Scripps Networks, LLC dba Home & Garden Television, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.

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From Boston to Seattle and everywhere in between, Super Bowl Sunday will have parties filled with fans, football, and oh yeah, food. Many of the traditional game-day dips are high in calories, high in fat, and highly likely to put you in a food coma.

That’s why we rounded up some simple swaps that are still delicious but better for you. There’s no need to “cheat” on any diet to enjoy these dips. Let’s leave that kind of controversy to the NFL.

Skip: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Get: Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip

artichoke dip

Image courtesy of Blissful Basil

Gooey cheese, though delicious, is one of the easiest ways to add saturated fat and calories to a recipe, and it’s the star of most spinach and artichoke dips. When superfood spinach and antioxidant-rich artichokes are mere sidekicks, though, the health benefits get overshadowed. Not the case in this recipe for Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip. The veggies take the spotlight, and not a cheese is in sight. It’s the avocados, loaded with good-for-you fats, that create the creamy texture we love so much. We bet you’ll never be able to look at the classic version the same way again.

Get the full recipe over at Blissful Basil

4 More Skinny Dips

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UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Thank you to the more then 2,500 of you who participated. Look for the results in an upcoming issue of HGTV Magazine.

Of course there’s THIS fantasy home: HGTV Dream Home 2015. [Enter for your chance to win here.] But there’s also the home of your dreams that exists, well, only in your dreams. HGTV Magazine wants to know exactly what it looks like. If money were no object, if you could choose every feature, design every room, how would your ultimate luxury home turn out?

HGTV Dream Home 2015

HGTV Dream Home 2015 on Martha’s Vineyard

Take the survey below by choosing ONE for each of the following pairs. For example, would your perfect home include a home theater or a home gym? Your answers will help us with an upcoming story.

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Jan Feb 2015 cover

Make this the year that you finally redecorate the living room, remodel the kitchen, or just spruce things up a bit. The January/February issue of HGTV Magazine can help you get started—it hits newsstands this Tuesday, January 6. Here’s a look at some of what you’ll find.

Four savvy design bloggers share how they style a space while still staying on budget. Plus we share online-only how-tos for DIY projects from each of their rooms.

purple room

Update idea: Remake a hand-me-down piece of furniture or snag an item from a local yard sale. Our clever editors took a used china cabinet and turn it into a display piece you’ll be excited to show off. We see many dinner parties coming your way in 2015!

china cabinet

To be among the first to know of new HGTV Magazine content, follow us on Twitter @HGTVMag, or become a subscriber and receive every new issue right to your door.

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