Canadian Magazine Industry News
6 August 2008,     TORONTO
An interview with newly appointed House & Home editor Suzanne Dimma
House & Home was Canada's fifth-largest magazine last year, with estimated revenues around $23.5 million.

It’s been a “pretty intense” summer for Suzanne Dimma: simultaneously filming the third season of her television show, Style Department, and working as home design director for St. Joseph Media has made for the kind of hectic schedule most people try to avoid in the warm weather. When her TV show and St. Joseph duties wrap up, Dimma, 43, will be taking a much-needed vacation in France, but she’ll be right back in the thick of things upon returning, as she takes up a new role as editor of Canadian House & Home magazine.

“It’s a very loaded schedule—we put out a lot of magazines,” says Dimma, whose appointment was announced last week. (House & Home is a monthly that also publishes several special interest publications. In February 2009, the company will begin publishing a French edition. We’ll have details on that development later this week.)

When longtime H&H editor Cobi Ladner announced her resignation in June, House & Home Media president Lynda Reeves contacted Dimma (a former H&H editor and trained interior designer) and asked her to come in for an interview. She was soon offered her the job and accepted. “I think the main thing is I’m extremely familiar with the brand,” Dimma says. “[Lynda] totally trusts my take on design and décor because she knows it inside and out from working with me.”

"There was a great editor prior to me arriving and it’s a big role," Dimma says. "Stepping into Cobi’s shoes will be a big job."

Dimma, who is engaged to well-known designer Arriz Hassam (a principle partner in 3rd Uncle Design Inc.), has been “immersed in the world of design and décor” for pretty much her entire career. What does she bring to the magazine? “I’ve worked on every aspect [of it]: styling feature homes, writing stories, I’ve produced stories. I have a pretty strong understanding of how it works. I think I bring a freshness to the world of décor and experience with television as well.”

Dimma, the creator and host of Style Department, now going into its third season on HGTV, isn’t sure whether she’ll be able to continue with the show should the network commission a fourth season. “I think it’s going to be tough to fit it into my schedule, but I’m not going to say 100% no. We’ll see what happens. It might be a different incarnation where I have a smaller role.”

Though she’s not ready to get into specifics, Dimma says she is planning to make changes to the magazine, which last year had estimated annual revenues around $23.5 million. “I want to keep it fresh. I want to make it feel new. I might open some of the feature homes to a different kind of house and change the architecture of the magazine but not dramatically. I don’t want to mess too much with a great product, so small changes at the beginning.”

— M.U.
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