Podcast, Ep. 30: House Beautiful’s Sophie Donelson

Sophie Donelson, House Beautiful's Editor in Chief\

When we were in New York for Miles Redd’s launch party, we got the chance to stop by the House Beautiful offices and have Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson on the podcast! She tells us what makes a home beautiful, what projects make it into the magazine, and we test her interior design knowledge!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • We play a little pop quiz where I test Sophie, Taryn, and Karen’s knowledge of design and interior designers
  • We talk about editors’ letters and how Sophie writes hers. Does she wait until the last minute?
  • We ask Sophie what in her mind makes a house beautiful?
  • Why a house does and doesn’t make it into the magazine
  • What the House Beautiful team does to a home when they come to shoot it
  • We talk about how purple is making a comeback — yes, purple!
  • Sophie tells us what she thinks has changed about the way people decorate their homes
  • We talk about paint colors and how to pick them
House Beautiful editor in chief Sophie Donelson records the How to Decorate podcast in her office in NYC

Sophie Donelson sits in her pink Ballard Designs chair in her office in Hearst tower

Decorating Dilemmas:

Dear Karen, Taryn, and Caroline,

I live in Tahoe and want to decorate our patio with love seat, two chairs and a coffee table or maybe fire pit table. I want durable patio furniture by Suzanne Kasler, but I don’t know whether to get white or brown?

I’d like navy cushions, accented with red pillows and a area rug. What size? Please help.

In early spring, we get pollen so need something that is easy to keep clean and not show dirt. Easy to vacuum up.  Please help!




We all agree that Suzanne Kasler’s Directoire collection in white will work perfectly, especially with navy and red cushions like you mentioned. Rugs are important, get two of the largest you can fit and place them side-by-side, and of course be sure to accessorize with pots filled with annuals, maybe a large trough on your coffee table, and maybe some striped umbrellas to create some shade!

Thanks for your question and best of luck!

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.