Change is afoot at Luxe Interiors + Design. The Sandow-owned title is reshuffling the deck at the top of the masthead: Founding editor in chief Pamela Jaccarino will move into a new role as chief creative and content officer, overseeing a forthcoming membership venture, Luxe Design Guild. Meanwhile, design book publishing veteran Jill Cohen will become editor in chief. The changes were announced internally at Sandow on Monday.
“Luxe has built an extraordinary business in the residential design space, and I am incredibly optimistic about the brand’s expansion,” said Sandow founder Adam Sandow in a release. “Pam and Jill are well-respected and talented design industry powerhouses who bring a high level of expertise, new ideas and energy to everything that they do.”
Cohen’s professional relationship with Sandow began late last year, when Sandow quietly acquired Jill Cohen Associates, her book packaging agency. At the time, the thought was that she would help develop content for Sandow’s sampling platform, Material Bank. Eventually, says Cohen, that plan changed.
“Adam is an ideas person; he filled me in on other things that he and Pam were dreaming up, and it was very organic, seeing how the puzzle pieces fit,” she says. “The other exciting thing for me is I’ve known [Luxe executive vice president and managing director] Kate Kelly Smith forever. I love the way she thinks. I love the way Pam thinks. We all have a lot of experience—we’ve seen the things that work, we’ve seen the industry change, and we understand the challenges.”
Cohen is known for her book expertise, but she’s no stranger to the world of corporate magazines, having put in over a decade at Condé Nast, where she founded and led the media conglomerate’s book division. Her recent career as a macher in design publishing has seen her regularly cross paths with magazine editors and the designers who frequent their pages.
When asked about concrete plans to change Luxe in the near term, Cohen demurred but outlined a few broad strokes, including a visual refresh for the title and a push to focus on storytelling. More specifically, she knows where she doesn’t want Luxe to go.
“I like that Luxe is very American. I think a lot of the design magazines are going more global. It doesn’t mean that we’re not all inspired by what’s going on in Europe. But one of the benefits of Luxe is that it reflects the types of houses we have. I don’t want to change that. You’re not going to see me publishing any Italian villas,” says Cohen. “Luxe will show traditional work, as well as very contemporary. … It’s a ‘best of’ for all kinds of styles—the great American melting pot.”
Likewise, leaning into Luxe’s regional approach will remain a focus, as will delivering on the promise of landing business leads, not just glossy spreads, for featured designers. “When a magazine is productive, when it draws attention and work to a designer, it doesn’t matter how high-end a designer is—everybody wants to be in it,” says Cohen. “I want Luxe to be the most productive magazine.”
Jaccarino’s history and Luxe’s are one and the same. She and Sandow launched the title in 2005, envisioning a hybrid publication that combined the intimacy of a regional design magazine with the muscle of a national brand. Nearly two decades later, Luxe publishes in 14 distinct markets, putting out more than 90 magazines a year.
Her new project, Luxe Design Guild, is slated to debut in mid-2024. While the details of the program are still under wraps, Jaccarino says the initiative will be a membership program targeting interior designers, contractors, vendors and other industry professionals. A release describes it as a “think tank and business arm that educates, guides and inspires.”
“We want to be different in terms of our size and scope,” says Jaccarino. “We want to make sure we’re going to be much more powerful than, say, a cocktail mixer.”
After growing Luxe from the ground up, Jaccarino says part of the reason behind the change is a desire to move on to a new challenge. “It is time,” she says. “No matter what business you’re in, if you want to grow, change is essential. ‘Business as usual’—I don't know if that is effective if you want to make a big impact. We want to make a big impact.”