Follow the Fun with Pamela Pierce of Milieu

Photo credit to Milieu Magazine

Photo credit to Milieu Magazine

I spoke with Pamela Pierce, a fellow Texan and publisher of a new interior design magazine, Milieu (French word for surroundings, especially of a social or cultural nature), based out of Houston. We talked about how her creativity shows up in her magazine and what she thinks about being brave….that really made me laugh.

 Why did you start a new interior design magazine ? It seem a bit risky since so many have gone out of business: Southern Accents, Metropolitan Home, Country Home, Domino, O at Home, Cottage Living.

I have been in this business (interior designer) for 30 years and I wanted to do something different. I could picture the magazine in my mind. I knew I could do a pretty magazine, but I didn’t know anything about publishing and distribution.

How did you work through that?

I consulted Lisa Newsom [the creator of Veranda magazine]. I became friends with Lisa when she featured my work in Veranda. It was my first publication. She started my career; she truly believed in me, like she did with so many unknown designers.

How did she help you with Milieu?

She told me not to do it. Then she said, “But if you’re going to do this, you’re going to need to contact Jim Lewis,” who helped her start Veranda and was with her when she retired. I waited three months before contacting Jim. In that time I read everything about distribution and publishing.

Even after Lisa Newsom told you not to do it, why did you continue to move forward?

People want inspiration. One of my favorite things is to curl up with a good magazine on a Sunday afternoon. Also, the design industry is unpredictable right now. This hotel look is very popular. I want to show a mixture. People are passionate about design. I am and I want that to continue. Who can be passionate about an ipad.

One of the things I noticed about the first issue of Milieu is how different the ads look. It’s almost like I can’t tell the difference between the ads and the editorial.

I was very particular about where each ad went. The ads are integrated into the editorial so it flows.

Photo credit to Milieu Magazine.

Photo credit to Milieu Magazine.

One of the ads really stood out to me. It was a carpet ad for Carol Piper Rugs.

I came up with that ad. I was tired of seeing rug ads with rugs just thrown on the floor. So, I kept thinking, “what can I do.” I woke up at 2 in the morning with that idea. I went to Carols store, took that rug you see in the ad, and threw it over that metal fence.

The color of the rug, with that metal fence, combined with the design and the electrical transformer in the background is genus! It’s so creative.

I love being creative-and be able to do what I want to do and not be restrained. And since it’s my magazine, I can do that.

Do you wake up in the middle of the night often with ideas?

I eat, sleep, and breath design. So, yes.

Do you write them down?

I do. And I’m constantly leaving messages at 3 a.m. on the office phone.

As a designer, what’s it like to get published in a magazine?

You don’t get to be noted and noticed as when you’re published. I want to honor this career. Sometimes the designers get lost. We want to recognize them. We have a talented world. There are so many untapped talented designers.

Is Milieu looking for a certain type of house?

As long as it’s a great house, we don’t care who the homeowner is or how big the house is.

What’s your favorite thing about publishing an interior design magazine?

I love to be on a photo shoot. I’m on every one. I get to meet really great people and I love to travel. It’s just invigorating!

Before you mentioned mixing it up. Can you expand on that?

I love antiques. You need to have at least one antique to ground your room. Unfortunately antiques have gotten lost in magazines. Antique stores aren’t getting credit [in the captions or back of the magazine] so antique stores aren’t advertising. If people could see [where the antiques comes from] they would buy them.

Photo credit to Milieu Magazine.

Photo credit to Milieu Magazine.

One of my favorite stories you did in the first issue of Milieu was using shoe designer Angela Scott’s decorative leathers and putting them on chairs. Tell me about that.

I met Angela Scott at a trunk show. When I started thinking about the magazine I knew then I wanted to take her leathers and put them on furniture.

So creative….so different.

We want to be the leaders, not the followers.

What can we expect to see in Milieu’s next issue?

Winter white….white editorials and white ads.

How do you Follow the Fun?

I work. People know that about me. As long as it’s fun, I’ll do it. If it’s not, I’m not. With Milieu, I wanted to do something different. I love seeing the end result. We are all growing from it.

What do you say about being brave?

You just put your head down and go forth and do it. If you don’t try then you’re a coward.


That just made me laugh. As many times as I’ve asked that question, no one has answered it like that. Spoken like a true Texas woman!

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