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A new page in African-American decor

'Homes of Color' focuses on house design and decorating in the black community. It features often-overlooked African-American professionals.

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While house-hunting in the Washington, D.C., suburbs five years ago, Corriece Gwynn and her husband regularly scoured the shelter magazines for decorating ideas and inspiration.

Then one day she turned to him and observed, "John, you really don't see any black people in these magazines."

"Well, why don't you do something about it?" Mr. Gwynn, a Washington attorney, suggested.

Eventually, she did, by using her journalistic background to launch Homes of Color: The Magazine of African-American Living & Style. Its mission: to capture the spirit and vitality of the African-American homeowner.

"I really envisioned it to be very similar to an Architectural Digest or an upscale magazine, but with a social twist," she says.

The twist is that the magazine targets underserved African-Americans, but not in a closed-door sort of way.

"The name of the magazine is meant to be more inclusive than exclusive," she says. "I wouldn't want to call it African-American Home, for instance, because that excludes people."

First published last summer, the magazine runs as an insert in the Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gwynn has plans to expand to other major metropolitan newspapers as the magazine grows. There are also paid subscribers in virtually every state, thanks mostly to word of mouth, especially among African-Americans. And the publication has a website, too: www.homesofcolor.net.

Getting lots of buzz

Gwynn, who calls the magazine a spinoff of her day job as the managing editor for a legal and business publisher, plans to beef up publicity efforts for Homes of Color. The magazine, however, has already enjoyed a lot of media attention.

A black shelter magazine - what's up with that? reporters want to know.

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