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3 May 2024 •   

Archireaders - Magnolia Journal

"We believe in home, that it should restore us from today and ready us for tomorrow" […] MAGNOLIA MANIFESTO

The founders

In Italy, they're known as the stars of the docu-reality show 'Casa su Misura' (Fixer Upper N.d.A.). Joanna and Chip Gaines have built a 100% recognisable identity under the brand name 'Magnolia Home'. I was instantly hooked by their approach to design, which favours restoration, DIY and traditional elements. I subscribed to Magnolia Journal as soon as I could! This magazine, styled as a diary (which in English is 'journal' N.d.A.), could have been a record of their work and the method used to make it. I was thrilled when it turned out instead to be a collector of projects and experiences, with a focus on the community.

Over the years, their communicative traits have evolved and consolidated in a really exciting way, but the content has remained true to itself. Some of you were so intrigued by the fact that I was reading an American magazine that you asked me: what are they talking about?

Narrative style

From the very first moment, it was clear that this magazine was a deliberate and conscious creation, fully conveying the Manifesto of the Magnolia Home founders. The topics covered are linked by a common thread, the main theme, which from 2017 (founding year, ed.) to 2019 was part of the broader framework of an annual theme. From 2020, this frame is recalled, but it's not until the final issue of the current year that it's fully appreciated.

Taking a theme as a starting point, projects and life stories are narrated with great emphasis on sharing experiences. 

One of the key areas of focus is awareness – as an individual and as part of a community.

The 'Food' category is also interpreted in this light. Often combined with the 'Garden' sector to emphasise the authenticity of ingredients, it focuses on cooking and the table as a point of connection between people and between different communities.

But what about their design and style? Where does design fit in?

Design permeates the narrative, appearing in every aspect of a project. From inhabiting a family space to inhabiting a public space, but above all from a vision in the grand to one in the detail, leaving nothing to chance.

The 'Design/Create' category appears in all editions: what does it cover? Decoration and interior design. Also seasonal renovation and restyling. Projects of all sizes can be explored: from a wardrobe (Winter 2023), to creating a small, cosy space (Winter 2020), to a complex restoration project (Hillcrest Summer - Winter 2017).

MAGNOLIA HOME - Silos e Bakery

The emphasis is often on other designers, builders and architects in a way that reflects the values of Magnolia Home. This is where the 'lifestyle' elements come in. This category is a crossover where elements of food, the main theme, gardening and design can be found, making it feel real and present in the everyday lives of ordinary people.

Lastly, there are the usual contents such as the editor's letter and Joanna's reflective note. At the end there is a note from Chip, followed by the Manifesto. This is where the founders of Magnolia Home make their point. But even without these passages, you can see their values and their way of communicating. How is this possible? 

Next week's feature, in collaboration with Giada, creator of @mielcafeco, a brand and web design atelier, will reveal how Chip and Joanna Gaines created an iconic brand that smells like home.


Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) - Pedro Santos

Take the World - "Diamonds", Johnnyswim

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I am Lisa, architect, fantasy addicted and short story writer. Together we'll create a place to live at your own speed, where you can gather with your loved ones and write your own story.

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