In the Spotlight : Haskell Harris

{Tim McManus}

If I’m asked to tell you too much about Haskell, I may sound like a stalker, so I politely decline. All I can say with brevity is: a.) I have a mad girl crush on her b.) from faux bois to foie gras, no topic is off limits from our cocktail-laden convos  c.) she introduced my son to The Very Quiet Cricket, on which he now wholly depends for nighttime story reading (thhhhhanks, H!).

A bit about Miss Haskell, from the horse’s mouth:

HH: I grew up in a very small town in Southwestern Virginia. Moved on to UVA in Charlottesville, then headed South to Alabama to work for Cottage Living magazine as a homes editor. While I lived there, I fixed up a little 1920s cottage (which was a ridiculous shade of green and in ridiculously bad shape when I bought it). Two-ish years ago, I sold my little casa (pictured below) and moved here to cover style (homes, gardens, shopping) for Garden & Gun magazine. Voila!

I’m most at home when I’m  . . .

HH: …in the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach. I live at the beach! But the minute I see the Blue Ridge Mountains (even if they are way, way off in the distance), I feel like I’m home. One of these days I hope I find my way to a rambling farmhouse in the quiet of some rural place.

What’s one (fun/weird/crazy) thing we wouldn’t know about you?

HH: I cuss-A LOT. Trying to work on it.

Teach us one random bit of industry jargon from publishing world.

HH: The section of a magazine with all the long stories and no ads is called the “well”. Which makes sense!

What’s one name that if it came across your Inbox, you’d wig out?

HH: Jenna Lyons without a doubt. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what she’s done at J. Crew.  I admire her because she worked her way up from lowly intern status to Creative Director there and reinvented the entire brand in the process by infusing it with her vivacious personal style. I mean let’s face it: the models weren’t tying their hair back in messy French knots and slapping on bright red lipstick before she came along, am I right? And I can’t tell you how many layouts I’ve saved from recent catalogs for the color combinations alone. I also have a soft spot for what she’s done to promote artisans and heritage brands. Those collaborations are brilliant. Okay, enough gushing about Jenna Lyons. But I’d love to see her name in my inbox (and not just for “Jenna’s Picks”).

What do you think about the styling trend in the wedding industry . . . the mock shoots, the faux weddings, the propped-out gigs that mimic wedding magazine editorials?

HH: After working five years at Cottage Living, where there was an enormous emphasis put on styling every inch of space, I understand the reasoning behind it. It’s easier to control the details in a fake shoot. But sometimes it’s just too much! More often than not, the more natural and real-life something is and the less you mess with it, the better it looks. It’s not brain surgery!

What’s one of your favorite blogs, or what interesting blog is in your RSS feed?

HH: Probably Hollister Hovey. She has a point of view that’s totally different from a lot of other saccharine-sweet design blogs out there. And I’m totally amazed that she holds down a job and posts as often as she does in her spare time. I’m not sure she sleeps!  Plus I love all things antique, so there you go.

Hollywood calls and they’re going to make a movie of your life. What’s your opening musical score (or the top hit on the soundtrack?)

HH: Probably Ragged Wood by the Fleet Foxes. Or Little Bird by Emmylou Harris.

You’re up against your next issues’s deadline, and you’re pulling all-nighter. What’s your vice or fix?

HH: The promise of cocktails after it’s all over!

What is one un-glam thing about what you do . . .

HH: Showing up for work during production week, otherwise known as hell week, when we ship the magazine. You know you’ve got lots of late nights ahead of you. Lots of unglamorous late nights that involve bad pizza.

A few of your top favorite images from 2010?

Portrait of Interior Designer Rachel Halvorson for our style issue cover, shot by Hollis Bennett.

{Portraits of heritage breeds, by Eric Kiel}

{Laura Zindel’s fern plates, shot by Brian Woodcock}

What’s the most rewarding thing about your business?

Being able to help people. In the style world, telling the story behind new products helps those companies get their small businesses going and keep them going. That’s my favorite part.


  1. Chassity

    Great feature. Love both of you girls. And Haskell, I hope that mountain house is just a vacation home…

  2. lou harris

    Good gracious. Calder..what great questions and the answers are telling. I now know more about our daughter, Haskell. Thanks for the insightful interview. LULU

    • Calder Clark Designs

      Thanks Lulu! Hope to meet you soon!