Covet Garden is a concept that keeps on growing. When it was launched in 2010 as an online-only home-decor site, the idea was to channel the spirit of print magazines on the Internet.
“We heard a rumour that print was dying and thought to create our own fun,” Rhonda Riche, one of its founders, says facetiously. Now – and not without some irony – Riche, cofounder Lynda Felton and art director Jessica Reid have done a kind of reversal with their latest brand venture: a “mook” (or magazine/book hybrid) called Covet Garden Home, which features some of the site’s best spaces in full hard-copy glory.
Riche, a former editor at Images and Elm Street magazines, knew the challenges facing printed products (and those who produce them) only too well: Like many of her journalistic colleagues, she was facing a dearth of work. And yet her love of magazines persisted. “I recently just cleared out a closet full of them,” she says. “There’s something about holding a magazine in your hands, turning the pages, that the Internet just can’t replicate.” With its emphasis on lush images and a rich narrative flowing from the objects in featured rooms, Covet Garden has succeeded in being the next best thing.
The site harkens back to the golden age of shelter magazines, when the pictures told a story instead of just cataloguing things and where to buy them. Each monthly instalment is devoted to one home; the owners are real people who have decorated their spaces without the help of interior designers.
“It’s not about trends,” emphasizes Riche. “It’s a snapshot of how people are living in the moment.” As the introduction to the new mook says, “when design is personal, it’s much more interesting.” Over the years, subjects have ranged from university students sharing a rental unit to prominent artists and curators. Riche regards the new print edition, which costs $20 through www.covetgarden.com, as a kind of keepsake. “It’s printed on quality recycled paper, it’s made in Canada and it’s local,” she says. “We hope to do a series of them. We’re out to prove that print’s not dead.”