This year marks milestones for two shelter mags: NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) is celebrating five years and HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) is celebrating 15. For the occasion, editor in chief Kendell Cronstrom sat down with EAL to share momentous memories in the publications’ shared history, as well as what readers can expect from this special year.
What are some of the magazines’ milestone moments?
We kicked off NYC&G with a bang, having our debut party at the 58th-floor Manhattan apartment of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, which was featured in the magazine’s premiere issue. And we haven’t stopped since, publishing stories as varied as a Jamie Drake–designed residence in the fabled One57, several different glorious apartments in Robert A.M. Stern’s 15 CPW, personality-filled one-bedroom flats in the East Village, historic homes on the Hudson River, and eclectic townhouses deep in Brooklyn. The variety never ends, and it’s constantly engaging and exciting for me as an editor.
I’m also thrilled about our International Style issue, a special edition we launched two years ago. It proves that great design exists everywhere, and there’s always something you can learn from it, no matter where you live.
I’m in my seventh season editing HC&G, and that in itself is some sort of milestone! When I started, the magazine was struggling badly, like so many others during the recession, and the best anyone could do was just crank it out, even though it was on its last legs and there was virtually no inventory. Under the graceful guidance of the company’s new owner and CEO, Marianne Howatson, I was given complete freedom. The first two years were hard, but then we began to pick up steam, and it was really exciting.
Now we are occasionally producing issues that are fatter than 150 pages, which is a lot more than our national competitors can claim. But what encourages me most is when people come up to me and tell me how much they love the magazine, and how they save every copy. You can’t get better than that.
How do the magazines plan to celebrate the five- and 15-year marks?
Christian Liaigre is hosting NYC&G’s fifth anniversary celebration for designers at the fabulous townhouse showroom of another favorite home-furnishings company, Christian Liaigre, and throughout the year, we will be acknowledging our fifth in various ways and in different sections of the magazine. Look for surprises all year long!
HC&G is having a big party in tandem with the brand-new design fair on the East End, Hamptons Contemporary, and in the summer season’s first issue, we’re doing a huge feature on the past 15 years of the magazine, with testimonials and fun anecdotes not just from designers and homeowners, but from writers, photographers and salespeople—all of whom have been integral to the magazine’s success.
Do you personally have any favorite issues or stories?
As much as I love delving deep into every nook and cranny of the New York region, I am particular to NYC&G’s December/January 2016 International Style issue, in which the locations and people we feature are all from places other than New York, but still have some sort of connection to it. Making these associations through great design and architecture is a wonderful way to tell stories.
[For HC&G,] my favorite kind of design is the “personal kind,” in which homeowners, even if they have worked with a decorator, have somehow put their stamp on the place where they live. Even though I’m not that curious about celebrities, one of my favorite stories was on Cindy Sherman’s house in Sag Harbor. She couldn't have been nicer or more guileless, and her house was filled with art—though interestingly enough, not a single piece of it was her own. And I loved the story we did on Matt and Annette Lauer’s horse farm in Water Mill. The Lauers are used to being in the public eye, though not too fond of it. But they seemed really at home and comfortable at the farm. When people you don’t know feel at home, you can sense who they really are.