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WHEN PRAISE IS LAVISHED UPON American Bungalow and I find myself puffing up like a proud father, I have to remind myself that the magazine is sustained by your passion, not mine. And thankfully, your ardor can be pretty intense. Individually, readers’ passions are diverse, yet they are subtly unified. Demographically, according to surveys and as evidenced by the magazine’s circulation, you are out-of-the-ordinary—very special people. Because of this magazine’s exceptional readers, our staff is in the happy position of chefs who prepare a feast for connoisseurs.

But there are times when passions clash. A case in point would be the reader who cancelled her subscription because of Jane Powell’s preservationist slant in reporting on Bruce Aidells’s stunning new Green & Greene dream home. The former reader was greatly offended by what she considered to be “judgmental condescension and criticism of the wealthy.” Usually the tomatoes of criticism are flung by an audience with a different taste: we often hear from readers who are upset because we feature new homes when, they complain, we should discourage new construction and expand our coverage of restored homes, all the while pointing to our credo about “preserving and restoring the modest American 20th Century home, the bungalow.”

We’re sticking to our creed. American Bungalow remains the nation’s strongest single voice on preserving the bungalow and “the rich lifestyle that it affords.” But I think it is also important to show what an Arts and Crafts dream-come-true can look like when the sky is the limit. A big home is still somebody’s home. If today were 1909, we would not hesitate to offer lavish coverage of the new Gamble House, even though the magnificent achievement might not be considered “modest,” and someone might reach for a tomato.

Interestingly, American Bungalow’s most popular regular feature is Family Album, with its simple snapshot photos and heartfelt revelations by proud homeowners. People make appreciative comments about Family Album all the time, and this sense of kinship with people we’ve never met, living in places we’ve never been, speaks to the common ground that unifies us. Diverse as we are, we share similar values—authenticity, quality, honesty—and a common concept of home.

We understand Mark Twain, who wrote: “Our house was not unsentient matter—it had a heart and soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out to us in eloquent welcome—and we could not enter it unmoved.” Twain’s house was a 19-room mansion, but his sentiments would be just as appropriate—perhaps more so—for a two-bedroom bungalow.

American Bungalow is about starter homes, dreams-come-true and all that lies between. Even so, our files are stuffed with proposals for grand-scale achievements, yet our requests for smaller houses go unanswered and the “modest home” feature cupboard is bare. Please write. Let the world see what you’ve done, how you live, especially if you think your efforts are, well, modest—not up to magazine standards. You are this magazine’s standard. Absent your passions and the occasional tomato, American Bungalow would be a cold, colorless, empty table.

Looking forward to hearing from you,





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