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Magazines Take New Perspective With Home Improvement Field

A new class of do-it-yourself magazines aims at readers who might be called the connoisseurs of the home improvement field.

An example is Home Furniture, a new title edited for those interested in the design and crafting of fine furniture.

“Our articles don’t talk about saws and hammers, or even joinery very much, but about why this piece was designed the way it was and why not another way,” says Tim Schreiner, editor.

Traditionally, home improvement publications have focused on how to save money or do a job faster and better.

But even some of these have a new look and a new philosophy.

“In the late 1980s, we jettisoned the dirty fingernails image and became more colorful,” says Art Rooze, senior editor of Family Handyman, a Reader’s Digest publication with a readership of about 3.3 million.

Stories range from how-tos on home repairs such as adjusting a thermostat and fixing drawers to tips on teaching a child how to work with wood. There also are articles that detail and often simplify more elaborate projects, such as designing and building a wall full of storage cabinetry.

The magazine is aimed towards “the person in his 40s who is into doit-yourself because he enjoys it,” says Rooze. “There may still be some old putterers among our readers. But they aren’t our primary audience.”

Home Furniture comes from Taunton Press of Newtown, Conn., which also publishes titles like Fine Homebuilding, an upscale building and renovating magazine that often profiles real houses under construction or repair.