Better Homes & Gardens - - Contents - STEPHEN ORR, Edi­tor in Chief in­sta­gram @steporr twit­ter @orrsteporr

One of my neigh­bors told me the other day that we don’t show enough “real houses” in the pages of BH&G. She said some of the projects we pub­lish make her feel bad about her own home. I truly hate to hear that.

Trust me, if you walked into my house right now it would not be photo-wor­thy enough for any mag­a­zine. I still have the bar­gain cur­tain pan­els in the liv­ing room that I tacked up as a stop­gap pri­vacy mea­sure when I first moved in—and yes, they are lit­er­ally hung up with tacks. My storm doors ei­ther stick or fly open in the slight­est breeze when they aren’t se­cured by wire. My front thresh­old is a chipped-paint eye­sore. All these prob­lems, big and small, are on my on­go­ing fix-it list, but as al­ways, tem­pus fugit.

As a col­league said the other day when she came over, “Isn’t it amaz­ing what you learn to live with around the house?” It made me re­al­ize that we of­ten stop see­ing things un­til they’re ob­served by oth­ers.

We ed­i­tors con­stantly jug­gle the level of as­pi­ra­tion we show with the ac­ces­si­bil­ity in terms of what an aver­age reader can take away. It’s a calibration be­tween the high and the low, the real and the fan­tasy—not an easy bal­anc­ing act when you con­sider that we are ad­dress­ing 40 mil­lion read­ers.

For in­stance, not every­one can have a lux­u­ri­ous back en­try­way like Amanda Rey­nal’s mud­room (page 35). In fact, un­til I started work­ing in mag­a­zines, I had never heard the term. My mom called the room near our back door a util­ity room. Though not all our read­ers will be able to splurge on Amanda’s beau­ti­ful cus­tom cab­i­netry to trans­form a util­ity room into a mud­room, they can use the easy-to-repli­cate ideas we high­light. Like switch­ing out cab­i­net hard­ware. Or in­stalling mir­rored doors. Or even swap­ping out a tired old ceil­ing-mount lamp with a state­ment lantern. We aim to pack our sto­ries with take­aways and ideas that every­one can use, even if some ap­pear in­ac­ces­si­ble at first glance. So as you flip through this eighth an­nual Style Maker is­sue, we hope you find in­spir­ing ways to make your home, your gar­den, and your cook­ing bet­ter ev­ery day. And to re­turn the fa­vor, please let us know how we can be bet­ter, too.

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