The Skirted  Roundtable

It’s no secret that one of my favorite magazines is Veranda – the one magazine that really gets my heart racing when the new issue arrives.  For years, Veranda has been such a large part of my design life – Houston designers are frequently featured, as is the southern décor aesthetic that I love so much.  When the editor and founder, Lisa Newsom, retired, I confess that I wasn’t thrilled when they picked the new editor – she came from domino magazine, the hip bible of the younger set.  I didn’t understand how they could choose a domino alum to head up the elegant and gracious Veranda.  What I didn’t realize then was that the new editor, Dara Caponigro, had a much more varied career than just domino.  She had worked long stints at House Beautiful and Elle Décor, two magazines having more in common with Veranda than domino.  It took me a few months to get over Newsom’s departure (what a brat I was!) but Dara has more than proven herself.  Under her leadership and discerning eye, Veranda has remained a first rate magazine – showing gorgeous homes from around the world.  It rarely disappoints.  



As can be expected – when I heard Dara was coming on The Skirted Roundtable, I was beyond thrilled to get a chance to talk with her about Veranda and the state of magazines in general.  We’ve talked with other editors before and they offer a unique view of the product that we all love so much – magazines. 



This month’s issue of Veranda – the cover features beautiful slipcovered antique Swedish chairs from Lief.


Dara is a remarkable woman.  She graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, no less – along with being elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  She definitely has the smarts which is why she has been able to reach the top, along with putting in a lot of hard work along the way.  I can’t imagine how difficult (and fun) her job must be!   Dara says she travels quite a bit for her job and with this year’s 25th anniversary celebrations, she is really busy holding events around the country.




In the new issue, this softly muted room by Darryl Carter caught my eye.  I love how asymmetrical it is – yet it looks so balanced by the unusual placement of furniture. Notice how the black lamp is balanced by the dark tapestry.


Along with everything Dara discussed, I was most interested in learning how they choose houses for publication.  Once you’ve been turned down for an issue, they don’t revisit your application.  If you want another chance – you have to resubmit for another month’s consideration.  That surprised me.  Another interesting thing was how different photoshoots are today.  Back in the day – the magazines would come with boxes of accessories and furniture to “redesign” the room.  That doesn’t happen today.  



This room by Kathleen Clements also has an asymmetrical layout – solved by placed of the furniture.  The sculpture and pedestal balance out the fireplace – and the single chair also grounds that side.  Two chairs flanking the fireplace would never have worked.  And notice how the sculpture on the left is balanced by the one on the mantel.   Notice also how the entire room is off balanced – and the dark curtains on the left weigh down that side – if not, it would appear even more uneven.


Of course Dara talked about the gorgeous new book by former editor Lisa Newsom:  Houses of Veranda.  I’ve written about the book – and will reiterate, it’s gorgeous!!  Meghan and Linda didn’t have the book prior to the interview – and when they got their copies, they were stunned by how beautiful it is.  It’s been a stellar year for wonderful design books, I must say.   

The good news is that Dara’s so positive about the future, especially concerning social media and blogging – she’s really excited about Veranda’s Facebook page, for example, which surprised me.  And Veranda is redesigning their web site – hopefully they will be including archives of their photographs just like their sister Heart publication – Vogue.  Gawd – I HOPE so!!!!!!!!!!  Can you imagine having the ability to see online each photograph from every Veranda ever published?????!  Wow.   Dara’s positive attitude towards bloggers was also surprising.  She wanted our opinions and had nary a negative word to say about the medium that some fear threaten the magazines.  Not me.  I’ve said it before, but without magazines, there wouldn’t be the plethora of blogs out there.  We need them more than they need us. 




The new Veranda book is filled with your favorite houses from over the years. 


houses of veranda living room

One of my favorite spreads in the new Veranda book – the house seen on the cover – with its gorgeous aged boiserie.


I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to the new interview on The Skirted Roundtable. It’s a good one this time – the sound is great (for once!) and the guest is an incredible woman.

To listen, go to – and click on the green bar at the end of the post!



To order The Houses of Veranda from Amazon, just click on the title below:



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