James Baggett (right), the editor I freelance for at Country Gardens magazine, has long legs. Fortunately I do too, or I would have been running during a tour he gave of Meredith Corporation’s headquarters in Des Moines last week. There was a lot to see and not nearly enough time; the facility encompasses 180,000 square feet of office space on four levels with a 230-foot skywalk. There are lovely and intriguing works of art everywhere, such as this tile mural.
And this these metal snowflakes. Wouldn’t you love having them where you work?
I was in the Midwest to give a presentation at the Iowa Arboretum. Executive director Mark Schneider (right) drove us from Ames to Des Moines, then came along for the tour. A trompe l’oeil mural, which celebrates the building’s use of natural light, makes the lobby seem much larger. According to one online source, throughout the facility, lighting dims or brightens depending on the amount entering via windows, thereby maintaining a consistent level of illumination and resulting in a 30% energy savings.
In addition to Country Gardens, Meredith publishes Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Traditional Home, Parents, and many more. Perhaps the best known is Better Homes & Gardens. Notice what kind of plants are between us?
Here he’s showing one of many roll-out displays that illustrate the history of the company. Edwin Thomas Meredith started it all with Successful Farming magazine. Today Meredith has 1,000 employees split evenly between its Des Moines and New York offices; produces TV shows that air on a dozen different channels across the US; and enjoys a lucrative licensing deal with Wal-Mart.
The Meredith test gardens are famous for their beauty and sometimes are used as an outdoor studio. (Photo from bhg.com)
This, however, is how they looked the day I was there (April 12).
Being a spoiled Southern Californian, I don’t normally brave 51-degree temperatures. But this was a photo op I couldn’t resist. (Photo by James Baggett.)
Food prepared in Meredith’s many kitchens is up for grabs once photographed. I sampled an outstanding lemon cookie. I don’t know what upcoming issue it’ll be in, but I’m keeping an eye out for it.
Speaking of food, Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of corn. At Mr. Baggett’s suggestion we visited Stam, a famous Des Moines chocolatier which—as you can see—has its own take on candy corn.
And here’s a cool coincidence; he also blogged about my visit. Included is a magazine-worthy photo that makes the small succulent bouquet I brought him seem amazing.
So, do you have a favorite Meredith publication?