Good mags for good ideas

As our readers know, there are many excellent sources of information and guidance when it comes to caring for and enhancing one’s haven. Here are some magazines that, while not exactly boasting the circulation numbers of, say, House Beautiful or Sunset, offer their own uniquely valuable takes on homes, gardens and living.

Natural Home & Garden This traditionally styled magazine is subtitled “Living Green, Living Well,” which suggests its appeal to folks who want their homes to reflect their commitment to ecological values. A recent issue featured articles on eco-traveling, creating meditation or yoga spaces in the home, buying environmental friendly fish aquariums and profiles of people who’ve built eco-sensitive homes. This sounds terribly earnest, but the magazine is so low-key and attractive that it doesn’t rub wrong at all, and its suggestions mostly make good sense, especially for readers looking to create simple, earth-friendly living spaces using natural materials. (

Digs This online site calls itself a “home & living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation,” which description also suggests its off-hand tone. It has four main “departments,” called “lounge” (furnishing and decorating tips), “nourish” (cooking and eating), “host” (bar basics and entertaining) and “laze” ("flick picks,” party ideas), as well as interactive boards, a shopping link and e-cards. Content changes twice a week. On our last look-see, the site carried a piece called “Seeing Green: Houseplants for Black Thumbs” and “…and Melt with You: How to Have a Fondue Party.” Fun stuff, especially when the magazine’s servers are up to speed. (

Dwell This may be the coolest magazine of its type on the market today. Its focus is on modern design—in housing architecture, furniture, cabinetry, you name it—with an emphasis on using new green technologies and the efficient use of energy and space without sacrificing esthetics. It’s especially valuable for city dwellers who live in small dwellings and want to make them work well, but it’s also got great ideas for anyone interested in converting to or adding elements of modernism, with its simple, clean lines and Zen-like design, to his or her home. The cover story on the Jan./Feb., 2005, issue was “Small Is the New Big,” and it contained four different stories on some extraordinary homes all under 2,200 square feet. (

Living Home This online site is an encyclopedic collection of helpful information and useful links on virtually all subjects related to home and garden. Subtitled “The Intersection of Design and Technology at Your Home,” it lives up to its name. There are sections on interiors, home technology, kitchen and bath, remodeling and so forth, each offering a number of articles on the subject. Under “Do-It-Yourself,” for example, you’ll find three articles on cabinets and countertops, three on building decks and three on drywall. They may not be enough for a major project, but they’ll get you started. There’s also a section called “Garden Guy,” in which gardening author and expert Cort Sinnes answers common questions about lawn and gardening care. (