Folding of Southern Accents Magazine a 'Big Loss' for Washington Area Designers

Southern Accents' final cover.
Southern Accents' final cover. (Time Inc.)
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By Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Say goodbye to another home decor magazine.

Time Inc. announced recently that the September-October 2009 issue of Southern Accents, which hits newsstands Sept. 1, will be its last because of the weak economy.

The shelter publication was a frequent sponsor of designer showhouses in the Washington area and often featured the work of design professionals from the District, Maryland and Virginia. Locals are feeling the sting of last week's announcement.

"What a big loss," said Bethesda designer Kelley Proxmire. "They covered classic design and provided nice coverage of pretty homes that people got inspired by."

Warrenton designer Barry Dixon has a particular affinity for Southern Accents: The magazine was the first to publish his work and put him on the cover. In 2007, he was chosen as the sole designer to decorate the show house Southern Accents sponsored in Hot Springs, Va. He referred to the publication as a "grand dame."

"It's a sad, sad day for me and the design world," Dixon said last week. He called the magazine gracious, hospitable and inviting and said it was never a slave to fads. "It had the quality of hospitality and good taste, a sense of timelessness and appropriateness," he said. "Not every magazine has that." Then he added optimistically, "It might be down, but I don't count it out."

Southern Accents spokeswoman Jennifer Zawadzinski cited the "difficult economy," as the reason for its shuttering. "In these tough economic times we need to focus our energy, resources and investment dollars in our biggest and more profitable brands, so we had to make the difficult decision to cease publication," she said.

Ad pages for the magazine, which had a circulation of 400,000, fell 37.4 percent in the first half of this year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. The 32-year-old magazine came out six times a year and focused on luxury homes and gardens, entertaining, travel, fine arts and antiques. Its Web site will continue to publish content.

Southern Accents is part of the Birmingham, Ala.-based Southern Progress magazine company, a subsidiary of Time Inc. Another Southern Progress magazine, Cottage Living, ceased publishing in January.

Zawadzinski said subscribers of Southern Accents will receive another Time Inc. title as a replacement and will be notified about the change by mail. Subscribers can also transfer the balance of their subscription to a Time Inc. title of their choice by e-mailing Refunds will also be available.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company