The Diverse Dimensions of Pitching Shelter and Design Stories

Aspirational or accessible, fabulous celebrity properties or home makeover solutions, brand new items or older but undiscovered products? These are a few of the many choices in the disparate home, garden and design media category. Types of outlets have also expanded, from coveted ‘shelter’ magazines to sought-after blogs to TV shows and out-of-home taxi video segments.

Pitching opportunities for stories and product placements have similarly increased. PCNY’s panel on Monday featured editors and producers from six home and design media outlets, all providing clues about optimal approaches. They also offered tips about what to send, such as photos or videos. One brand even has a ‘submit story’ button on their site.

The following national and local media outlets and panelists were represented:
NBC/LXTV Open House, Tracy Evers, supervising producer
Hearst Design Group’s 3 brands: Elle Décor, House Beautiful and Veranda, Orli Ben-Dor, Market Editor
Lonny, digital magazine, John Newlin, editor-in-chief, Livingly Media
Apartment Therapy blog, Maxwell Ryan, founder and CEO
Inhabitat website, Jill Fehrenbacher, founder and editor
The New York Observer newspaper, Kim Velsey, senior editor, real estate, development, urban planning

(First image is courtesy of, and second image is courtesy of

Below is a brief rundown by outlet:

NBC/LXTV Open House: The content now airs nationally, and Open House is a “cross-country tour featuring fabulous properties, show houses and model apartments, and some are shown in our Taxi segments”, said Evers. These are celebrity-owned places, and the team travels for filming, so they don’t accept outside videos. Another show, George to the Rescue, “is more about makeovers and home construction, offering opportunities for brand and product placements”, she noted.

Hearst Design Group – Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Veranda: “Elle Décor is the fashion of decorating in international style, Veranda is the top end of the luxury market for gracious living, and House Beautiful is about great design for everyone”, Ben-Dor said. “Each brand has distinct readers and shows content in different ways, even if we sometimes cover the same events”, she added. For pitches, photos are welcome in separate attachments, but don’t send unsolicited products.

Lonny: “We’re a digital shelter title produced like a print magazine that still embodies the successful, inspirational aspect of design. We often showcase young, up-and-coming designers”, Newlin said. “On Twitter we share cool things we like, and sometimes use it as a testing ground to see reader traffic.” He said they recently partnered with IKEA on a campaign where they built a style finder and used a quiz format to help readers discover their style.

Apartment Therapy: “Our focus is living, food and ways for readers to live the good life”, Ryan said. “We help make homes more beautiful, organized and healthy. We host house tours of our readers’ homes, so they could be the folks next door. We look for solutions to things people are tousling with, and they must be products that consumers can purchase, not trade-only items. We want humorous and unique pitches”, he added.

Inhabitat: “We feature content with a social agenda, such as climate change issues”, Fehrenbacher said. The design site covers “landscapes, buildings, cars and gadgets. We love finding older things that haven’t been written about before”, she added. “We prefer to receive professional-looking photos, and stories with a socially progressive focus and a do-gooder element submitted directly on our site have a greater chance of being posted”, (after they’re edited).

The New York Observer: “We’re a weekly with a magazine sensibility and longer features and we’re expanding online”, Velsey said. “We’re very New York-centric, mostly Manhattan and some Brooklyn coverage”, she added. “Our lifestyle section includes Scene where we showcase recently acquired residential properties that fetched record-breaking prices or have interesting histories. Pitches need to have a New York theme, and we also like to hear about trends.”