At Martha Stewart Living, Color Begins at Home, with Chicken Eggs

Today’s big news in the tastefully appointed, farm-fresh land of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) is the reorganization of its media business, as Wenda Harris Millard steps down as president of media and co-CEO of MSLO to become president of brand consulting firm Media Link. The shakeup puts Charles Koppelman at the helm of the media division while Stewart herself will “oversee all editorial and creative functions.” But the colorful happenings don’t end there. The May issue of Martha Stewart Living is all about color. In her editor’s letter, Gael Towey, the magazine’s acting editor-in-chief (and MSLO’s chief creative officer), reminisces about the earliest days of the magazine, back in 1990, which can only mean one thing: misty egg-colored memories!

For us, COLOR has always been a touchstone. It all started with some unassuming chicken eggs. While on a photo at Martha’s house in Westport, she gave me a dozen eggs freshly laid by her Araucana chickens. That Saturday morning, my husband, Stephen, and I were cooking the eggs for our children…when Martha called. We had just put the eggshells on the windowsill in the sunlight to admire the gorgeous colors: soft blue greens, gentle browns, and warm creams. It took Martha and me about five minutes to cook up a plan for our first how-to painting story, inspired by the Araucana eggs, followed by our launch into the paint business. Soon Stephen and I were painting our kitchen ceiling Araucuna Turquoise, our dining room Drabware, and the hallway Americana Buff. For us at Martha Stewart Living, the egg definitely came first.

Among the colorful projects featured in the May issue, and demonstrated yesterday on Stewart’s talk show, are jazzy paint techniques that allow you to apply graphic patterns such as faux bois (a recent but enduring Martha favorite) and gingham to pretty much any surface your heart desires. Featured on the cover is this herringbone-patterned chair achieved with a technique called “combing.” And don’t worry Eames fans, Tom Eberharter, director of set design and fabrication at Living, assures that the chair is only “a fun reproduction of a 1951 Eames chair.” Phew.

Hungry for more Martha? On Monday evening, she’s speaking at Pratt Institute as part of the school’s annual president’s lecture series. Her topic: “Artistic Inspiration as a Basis for Business.”

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Martha Stewart’s Eggsellent Translation of Prada’s Fall Runway
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