Friday, 5 February 2010

domino editor deborah needleman











To launch a magazine is a huge achievement. To do so and make it go on to have a cult following, and win numerous awards takes a special combination of talent, passion and dedication. Enter Deborah Needleman. After starting life as a picture editor, then taking a turn to write about gardens and design for the likes of The New York Times, Deborah was then appointed editor at large for USA House & Garden. From there she launched the much-loved domino in 2005 as its editor in chief. Deborah also authored Domino: The Book of Decorating, which not only contains the best of domino's interiors images but is a fantastic resource that I return to again and again. The images above are of her homes in Manhattan and upstate New York.

Which five words best describe you? According to my eight-year-old son: jolly, sometimes grumpy, normal, funny, smart — but not as smart as daddy.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? My first real job was as photo editor of the Washington Post Magazine. The staff was so small that part of my job was producing the special issues — the special editions on food, fashion, and home design. I fell in love with seeing how people made their homes. My path has definitely been meandering though. I’ve just followed my interests and tried to find work doing things that I enjoy. I’ve worked as a photographer, a gardener, a writer, and an editor.
What's your proudest career achievement? The team we built at Domino magazine. It was a collection of the most talented, wonderful, kind and hilarious people ever. We never made a space for someone who might have been gifted but was difficult or tricky.
What's been your best decision? So boring to say, but hitching my life up with my husband’s. Everything good has come from his belief in me.
Who inspires you? People with great style who live easily and happily with it. Many seemingly stylish people are pretty awful — fussy and uptight. But I am interested in style that is expansive, that makes lives more beautiful and the people in your life happier. This goes back I guess to the team we put together at domino: I am really inspired by many of the people there like Rita Konig, Dara Caponigro, Sara Costello, Stella Bugbee. I am also really inspired by women who are focused, smart and accomplish a lot while never becoming one of those scary businesswomen, if that makes any sense.
What are you passionate about? Everything I do, including being lazy, which I excel at.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Whatever it is I’ve learned it so well I think I’ve always known it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I’m always happy to meet someone interesting, but I’m not sure I’ve ever longed to meet anyone in particular. I like people I know well. I didn’t know how to answer this question when it was on my college application either. That time I said Aristotle, but I was lying.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’d like to be an entrepreneur for my next job. But really happiness is the only dream worth trying to fulfill.
What are you reading? Just finished the hilarious Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, and just starting Dangling Man by Saul Bellow. My husband gave me this business book called The Innovator’s Dilemma, which is the most genius soporific ever—I’ve been on the same page for weeks — I pick it up in bed and instantly fall asleep.


images courtesy of deborah needleman; manhattan apartment: melanie acevedo; domino office: lesley unruh

20 comments:

belinda said...

i've been hanging for this interview! great post; i think we all know i'm a huge fan of deborah's work, personal style & home and it's nice to get to know the person behind it all.

am sure she won't need it but good luck in fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams Deborah and thank you for the few years worth of eye candy, info & inspiration that was domino. my collection is well-read and pages well-worn from constant re-reading. x

Louise (Table Tonic) said...

Wow. So inspiring - thank you Natalie. And RIP Domino. Going to fiiinally go online and buy Domino Book of Decorating NOW! PS Huuuge fan of your blog. xL

Bec Hem said...

wow! inspiring... we're all just ordinary people who can do extra-ordinary things.
Loved her comment about a team of gifted, happy and easy going! a real challenge to all of us who are team-members.

Kelly Green said...

great interview! thanks KG

Design Darling said...

just found your blog today, what a welcome treat to see such a rockstar interview on your first page!

Jenny Butler said...

Great interview, loved what Deborah said about not making space for difficult people even if they were gifted.

Exquisite Accessories said...

Amazing lady loved the interview I love the out door area at one of deborah's homes too stunning!

Natalie Walton said...

Hey everyone, glad you enjoyed the interview. I have to be one of Deborah's biggest fans. I can't tell you how excited I was when she agreed to the interview. x

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Great interview.

I miss DOMINO!

Kaylovesvintage said...

she sounds like a great person

Brigitte said...

Now more than just being a fan of Domino who still holds out hope it'll be revived in some way, I'm a fan of Deborah's. Such an honest and unpretentious interview. I particularly enjoyed this bit (because I can relate).

"What are you passionate about? Everything I do, including being lazy, which I excel at."

ALL ABOUT CHOCOLATE CREATIVE... said...

NIce interview, I used to get my copy of Domino from the States and loved it, it gave me and insight of the USA style. Just came across your blog, I am off to explore it.
Regards from freezy London
Marga

simply seleta said...

I really enjoyed this interview. I still miss Domino ever so much. It was so refreshing and had a compelling yet relaxed style.

Luv your blog!

hawthorne girl said...

yes, like the others here, i still really miss domino. it was the greatest resource and i just connected with it. i mean, can't we do a fundraiser and bring it back?

rougeblancnoir.blogspot.com

Jen of Made By Girl said...

I LOVE when she says 'happiness is the only dream worth trying to fulfill' - Very well said.

Love your blog as always... :)))))

Jen Ramos
www.madebygirl.com
madebygirl.blogspot.com

mydeco said...

what a great interview - love that she's really been a free spirit and followed her own path.

I've tweeted this article on mydeco.com's twitter page.

take a look here
http://mydeco.com
www.twitter.com/mydeco

xo

Semigloss Chic said...

What a wonderful interview, thank you so much for posting. Deborah has been an inspiration to me for years and I my life has been truly touched and changed by the work she and the Domino team did. I can only imagine how exciting it was to feature her here. Great job!

Carole said...

Such a shame about Domino Magazine. We didn't get it in the Uk but still I have lots of photo's from it in my stash. Courtesy of other blogs of course.

Natalie Walton said...

Thanks again everyone. So glad you enjoyed the interview as much as I did. x

jennifer Ament said...

She sounds like a super GROUNDED and AUTHENTIC person...Love that they were so tight at Domino...and I can relate to many "STYLISH" people who are fussy and uptight...I think the most stylish, are the people who can live authentically and have style, but don't care about other's styles, they are content in their own and accepting of other's...Thanks for the Post..LOVE your blog...

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