Back to Business With Walter Isaacson, Joe Kernen and Time Inc.’s CEO

We’re back! The power lunch crowd eased back into the swing of things with a fairly low key, celeb-free scene at Michael’s today. While there were plenty of head honchos filling out the dining room (Time Inc’s CEO Joe Ripp, NBCU’s Lauren Zalaznick and Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff), there was a  touch of post-Labor Day letdown in the air (Where did the summer go?), but no matter — it’s time to get back to business.

I was joined today by Newell Turner, editorial director of Hearst Design Group and EIC of House Beautiful, Shax Riegler (don’t you just love that name?) House Beautiful’s executive editor and Hearst Magazines’ PR guru Michael McGraw. I don’t mind telling you that our table was one of the more lively spots in the dining room as we dished about our favorite show (Is Paul Giamatti really going to play the love interest of Lady Mary on Downton Abbey? Did Dan Stevens commit career suicide? ), pondered how people could possibly enjoy their vacations when they spend all their time posting photos from their holidays on Instagram and agreed Bravo needs to devote less PR oxygen to Housewives and give more attention to Property Envy which features one of my favorite designers, Mary McDonald. It’s like Fashion Police for the real estate-obsessed. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Shax Riegler, Diane Clehane and Newell Turner

Having decided those important issues, we settled in for an interesting chat about the exciting things House Beautiful has in store this fall. Between bites of salad nicoise, Newell (who looked dashing in his Ralph Lauren linen suit), told me all about his plans for a new series of “pop up” editors who collaborated with him on a series of issues beginning in October. He told me the idea came about when he and the magazine’s Editor-at-Large, Chesie Breen “were stuck in the airport in Barbados” and were “killing time over a glass of rose.” Nice work if you can get it.

Right there on the spot, Newell decided on bringing in a series of guest editors christened “pop up editors” who could create issues that had a “curated, one-of-kind feeling” bringing their particular interest and expertise into the mix. His first order of business once he was back in New York was to “sell it to my bosses (at Hearst) and tell them that everything we did would communicate House Beautiful.” To do so, “We eased into it with Chesie as our first pop up editor,” explained Newell. “Which was great because she was already part of our world.” Still, he was interested in bringing a fresh perspective (“We get so insulated”) and started off by asking each pop up editor to “bring everything to the table.”

Chesie’s pop-up in October highlights Americans’ homes abroad in the magazine’s Global Style issue. “That’s really the way Americans are living now, even if they aren’t well-traveled, people want homes that look like they are,” says Newell. Breen showcases a gorgeous 19th century London townhouse decorated by Rob Southern as well as fabulous homes in Italy, Norway and France. You can’t get this stuff at HomeGoods. Believe me, I’ve tried. “American design is our calling card and this issue combines the best European traditions with American style,” says Newell. And, he tells me, there’s going to be a swanky party at Asprey in October to celebrate the issue. See you there!

Also in October: Designer Visions, Hearst’s annual decorator showhouse that will have its opening night invite-only gala at Walker Tower downtown. The showhouse features the work of Jamie Drake for House Beautiful, Alessandra Branca for Elle Decor and Carlos Aparicio for Veranda. There’s a full slate of VIP invite-only events held in the luxe locale through the end of the year.