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The Inside Scoops for 'Decorator Junkies' : PUBLICATIONS


Want to know what interiors Mario Buatta is working on, the best place in Florence to find antique architectural renderings, or what the going hourly fees are for designers in Evanston, Ill.?

Three new decorating newsletters have appeared recently to answer such questions. These are not your garden-variety shelter magazines with beautiful pictures of redone rooms and tips on how to do window treatments.

Instead, they purport to give inside information ranging from industry news to secret sources to gossip. As a genre, they are aimed at what Patricia Linden calls "decorator junkies."

Linden, a veteran feature writer, is the editor-publisher of I.D. Confidential, which is published 10 times a year. What W magazine does to glamorize the rag trade, Linden aims to do for the world of interior design.

A sample of Linden's lively style in the premier issue: "Howard Slatkin's just back from a monthlong shopping bender in Russia and Paris for his czar-size apartment at 1215 Fifth Ave. The apartment is really two joined together; the front one was the first Mrs. Ralph Isham's, who moved out when Isham and his new wife, Ala von Auersberg, Sunny von Bulow's daughter, moved into the apartment below. Slatkin is turning the 18 rooms into 11. It'll be a one-bedroom flat ('very selfish; I've earned it') with a 50-foot living room paneled in Louis XVI boiserie."

Another newsletter, Decorator's Insider, carries the intriguing subtitle "What Nobody Tells You About Interior Design." Editor-in-chief Lemeau Arrott-Watt, an Australian who has been a New York designer for 20 years, aims to "demystify the basics of decorating" for consumers, she says.

Lemeau--she goes by her first name--discusses the fees of upscale designers by name ("Scott Salvator charges retail with a $100,000 minimum budget"), gives names, addresses and price ranges of recommended upholsterers in different regions of the country and discount prices of designer fabrics.

She tells her readers what is (or should be) inside pillows and how to redo a house on a budget with specific purchases from catalogues. And should one care to know where to find antiques in the Cotswolds or the name of a good restaurant on Isola Bella, it's all included in 10 issues for $40.

"I have no intention of hurting decorators," Lemeau says. "But they have to open their minds to new ideas. Lean and mean is a fact of life today."

The new Designer's Edge is billed as a "Business Guide for the Creative Professional." Its chief backer, Southern Accents magazine, aims to translate financial news into helpful information for design entrepreneurs, according to the magazine's editorial director, Katherine Pearson. Yet in addition to articles on how to manage a business's cash flow, the prototype issue includes items of interest to consumers, such as a chart showing typical hourly fees charged by designers.

Its People & Places feature notes the comings, goings and doings of famous decorators, their clients and their houses. If the prototype moves to production, the bimonthly newsletter is to be edited in New York by Fayal Greene and published in Birmingham. No rate has been set.

For information on I.D. Confidential, call (212) 794-8560; on Decorator's Insider, (212) 620-0435, on Designer's Edge, (718) 548-8814.

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