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The Insider: remembering
Nest magazine

Today, designer and writer Andrew Pothecary writes an ode to his favourite defunct magazine, and one after this blog's heart...

The entire span of Nest magazine’s printed life lasted 26 quarterly issues. And it closed 10 years ago with its autumn 2004 issue. So why’s it worth remembering now?

The first issue. In mint condition, it might set you back over $1,000. Other issues are affordable!

The cover with orangey glitter glued over the cat litter trays in the featured room

It could be said that any quality magazine is part of a home’s interior (or any magazine despite the quality, if you’re not interior-conscious or perhaps a doctor’s surgery). There’s a reason a living room might have a coffee table or magazine rack. Just look at James Fox’s London gangster aligning the straight edges of his Playboy and 60s glass-top table in the film Performance for confirmation. (There are many other things to remember in that film, from slow motion shooting under the bed clothes to an acid attack on a Rolls Royce to a three-way gender-mixed-up relationship that includes Anita Pallenberg and Mick Jagger, but Fox does adjust his magazine, take my word.)

Nest was an interiors magazine with two differences that made it stick out, though: its content and its look. You can’t ask for more.
This issue had a laser-cut through the entire issue. Because you can

The magazine didn’t concentrate on designer or aspirational interiors. None of that well-groomed-model-in-a-kitchen-of-brushed-metal-surfaces, or reading-in-white-jeans-in-a-hammock-by-a-picture-window rubbish that blights people’s concepts of a lovely home. Nest took real homes – real nesting places – and celebrated our making of living spaces.

A spread from the feature on the interior of a low-income house in South Africa

It included a range of homes, and often fashioned by genuine characters. Whether they were architects or aristocrats, artists or even, strictly speaking, homeless. (For the latter, an ingenious living space made by one homeless man out of coke-bottle crates which he used like breeze blocks, complete with built in coke-crate shelving.) Or whether the spaces were small New York apartments, in traditional concentric-circle buildings in China, a longhouse in the Brazilian Amazon. Or for that matter, whether the interiors were in prisons, brothels, nuclear bunkers – or toilets.

This issue was contained in its own zippered plastic bag

A ribbon-tied – the ribbon stamped with NEST – and die-cut issue

Presenting them all in a magazine that wasn’t necessarily even cut square – trapezoid, rounded, laser-cut page or packaged in zippered plastic were all options for various issues. (Others included an issue tied with a ribbon and one with glitter stuck over the cat litters on the cover photograph – pictured above.)

The background design to the pages on an aristocratic home in the US

It’s possible your own home may not be as glamorous as the five-inked, full-colour, specially-cut issue itself. But among the pages, there were real homes, not structured as an anonymous interior designer had dictated, but subject to the wider vagaries of character, history, custom, individuality and finances. Alongside revealing worlds of architecture, ideas for interiors abounded, without so much as a how-to suggestion: cut-wood lined hallways, words duct-taped onto walls, mosaic-ed erotica in a country home. Or the polaroids of everyone who visits filmmaker John Water’s home.

Don’t expect all this to be presented necessarily with taste, by the way – one cover was a nude couple with scratch off underwear, another was a toilet with fifth-colour piss stains grungily yellow splattering the page. It was brought together – and self-financed – as a clear labour of artistic love by editor and publisher Joseph Holtzman. (In one attempt at a media consultation, in case the magazine would move under the auspices of a  publishing company, Holtzman is quoted – in Media Life Magazine in 2001 – as saying, “I walked out of the office. I thought, why would I listen to them? It was an ugly office and they had bad suits.”)

For magazine collectors or lovers, the run was a treasure and a joy. Apart from the physical “extras” of the magazine’s actual cut, the layout was idiosyncratic (wallpaper-patterned backgrounds and frames to pages, abundant use of colour behind or surrounding text generally). At first sight, I wondered if this worked. But once you became accustomed to the layout (one issue would do that) its strengths shone through.

What Nest said was, basically, “Your home is lovely”. Even if, in one article, that home was the final resting place of Napoleon’s penis.

By the way, if you are a magazine collector, as I write, the first issue (cover: the bedroom of a teenage fan of Farrah Fawcett-Majors) is now on sale from one secondhand book seller for $1,250. Other issues are available secondhand on the US eBay for around $15. Better get my first issue aligned properly with the coffee table – if only I had a coffee table and the issue didn’t have a value-deflating mark on the back.

Words & images: Andrew Pothecary


  1. I have nest issues nÂș : 2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12,14,15,16,17,18,19,24,25,26+ summer 2001. For sale
    do you know who might want them?

    1. I'm sure they'd do well on eBay Maria. If you have snaps of some of the covers you could send by email I'd be happy to post them on the blog's Facebook page, or you could - here