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Chaddock College

It’s graduation season! Matriculations are happening all across the country AND at Chaddock College in Morganton, North Carolina. With a degree in Visual Arts and Art History, over a decade working in the world of design, and establishing Ford Design Studio in 2016, Rebecca Ford made a decision to go back to school … to Chaddock College. We wondered what motivated this busy New Jersey and Philadelphia area pro, and caught up with her for today’s blog!

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CHADDOCK: Rebecca, you’re a pro with over a decade of experience in the world of design and now your own firm, Ford Design Studio. Why did you decide to go back to college, Chaddock College?

REBECCA: All the credit goes to IFDA, a professional interior design organization. I work closely with IFDA to develop design partnerships along the coastal areas of New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. But this time, IFDA led me to Morganton, NC! I first learned about Chaddock College via an IFDA email. It seemed like a great program, especially since I am in the process of sourcing new manufacturing partners with strong custom capabilities. Chaddock College felt like a must-attend for me.

CHADDOCK: We understand you cleared your schedule to attend!

REBECCA: Yes, and this is a busy time for me, on the brink of summer with second home projects on the go. The business of design is about trust. Chaddock College was an opportunity for me to understand the brand and see if they would be the right fit for me and my clients.

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CHADDOCK: How do you judge the ‘right fit’?

REBECCA: There are a number of things. Great design and quality, plus, the willingness AND ability to partner with me on customizations, and the ability to hit my delivery dates.

CHADDOCK: Hope you like what you saw! What impressed you most about Chaddock College?

REBECCA: I loved ALL of the time on the factory floor. It was fascinating to follow the trajectory of an order, a custom order, from designer concept and CAD development into engineering and then development on the floor. The collaborative team approach and attention to detail blew me away. I thought, these are people I want to work with.

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CHADDOCK: Is made in America important to your clients.

REBECCA: Yes, absolutely. My clients think it’s the ideal. For me, made in America also empowers customization, so it’s huge. I’ll add that the perception that American production is more expensive is just not true. At least not at Chaddock. They are super mindful about getting rid of waste and maximizing time and equipment. I saw that at every turn. When I look at the price and the completed product, I think value, and my clients will too!

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CHADDOCK: What would you say to designers considering Chaddock College?

REBECCA: I’d say …. call your sales rep and apply. Chaddock keeps the class sizes small so they can’t say yes to everyone. If you do get to attend, Chaddock College will open a world of what’s possible when you see the logic and flow of the manufacturing process, and see quality from the inside out. Chaddock College is going to make you a better design professional – and you’ll even have the CEU credits to prove it!

 

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You’re invited to apprentice yourself to the masters at the exclusive Chaddock College September 18-20. Chaddock College is a 2-day immersion experience in the art and science of fine furniture manufacturing, including behind-the-scenes factory tours, seminars, learn-by-doing activities and networking.

Your instructors are industry icons and pros. Your peers are fellow accomplished design and retail professionals. The venue is the Chaddock factory campus in Morganton, North Carolina, the traditional heart of American furniture manufacturing.

Chaddock College is free of charge to qualified retail and design professionals.

TIMELINE AND SYLLABUS

THE NIGHT BEFORE, Monday, September 18

  • Hotel check-in the afternoon before college begins (4-5pm).
  • Followed by cocktails, dinner and networking.

DAY ONE: CASEGOODS REVEALED, September 19

  • See how manufacturing process improvements positively impact your creative job performance as a designer.
  • Demonstrations of how artisan craftsmanship techniques and modern technology combine to produce exceptional style and value for today’s clients.
  • Guided by master craftsmen, you’ll practice distressing, sanding, staining and sheen-application. Your masterpiece? A picture frame – yours to keep!
  • Wrap up the evening with cocktails, conversation and dinner with your classmates and Chaddock execs.

DAY TWO: WORK THE UPHOLSTERY WORKROOM, September 20

  • See how internal quality construction features – the invisible infrastructure – are the foundation of beautiful upholstery.
  • Witness the creation of made-to-order upholstery, including patterning, cutting, sewing, fabric application and custom tailoring treatments.
  • College attendees will matriculate the afternoon of Day Two. You’ll be ready to depart Morganton, North Carolina – informed and inspired – early afternoon.

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WHAT APPLICANTS NEED TO KNOW

CHADDOCK COLLEGE FACULTY: Your college deans include Chaddock VP of Operations James Kennedy, case goods manager David Cruise, and upholstery plant manager Louie Weatherman. Collectively, they bring well over 50 years of fine furniture manufacturing expertise to your experience. They are joined by dozens of Chaddock craftsmen and women, many born and raised in the furniture-making tradition.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Interior designers and retail sales associates seeking the next level of personal and professional growth.

HOW TO APPLY: While acceptance to Chaddock College is generally by invitation or referral, for consideration, please contact your local Chaddock representative, or email college@chaddockhome.com

FEES: Aside from transportation to and from Chaddock’s Morganton, NC, factory, there are no attendance fees. Chaddock is happy to assume the costs of food and lodging, to support your continuing education.

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Debbie Lowrey, Lowrey Design Group owner and principal designer, was tapped to design a model home at Villa Venezia, a prestigious enclave within Myrtle Beach’s Grande Dunes development. She in turn, tapped Chaddock for much of the home’s furniture. In today’s blog, Chaddock caught up with Debbie to learn more about this project and model home design business.

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CHADDOCK: Your expertise is residential design. How did you get into furnishing real estate models?

DEBBIE: It is a very natural segue in a resort market like ours. Myrtle Beach and environs are big real estate markets for second and retirement homes. Developers know beautifully furnished models literally sell their properties.

CHADDOCK: How does this fit into your business model?

DEBBIE: It’s important for two reasons. First, furnishing models can be a significant source of revenue. The developers are purchasing turnkey design services and furniture. Secondly, it’s a chance for us to showcase our work. My models are dream homes. Individuals shopping for real estate see the calibre of our work and creativity. It’s great advertising.

CHADDOCK: This project is beautiful. Tell us about it.

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DEBBIE: Well, thank you. Two of the most outstanding rooms in the 5,683 square-foot home are really Chaddock showcases. I started with the Newport Sofa in the living room. I love the undulating shape and the wood trim detail. The square Otto Cocktail Table is an intentional juxtaposition to the curvaceous sofa.

CHADDOCK: And it all comes together so beautifully.

DEBBIE: The iridescent green-blue color palette brings everything together. It’s color that unifies a design plan, and lets a designer pair different styles and shapes with amazing and harmonious effect.

CHADDOCK: Do you have a favorite room in the home?

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DEBBIE: That’s such an unfair question. I love the entire space. But for me, the master bedroom is move-in ready. I specified Larry Laslo’s Match Point Bed for its strong proportions, and mixed and matched bedside tables. The New Wave Chest really stands out. The Avalon Dresser completes the room. And, of course, the aquatic green-blue palette prevails throughout.

CHADDOCK: Is it challenging to design a home when you don’t have a real client whose lifestyle drives the design?

DEBBIE: Make no mistake, I have a client. I invent the client! To breathe life into a room, a designer must have a sense of the people who will inhabit the space. Otherwise, the designer is rudderless. I dream up the whole story. My “homeowners” for this project are successful and adventurous New Yorkers. They are transitioning into retirement. They’ve flourished in a dark, dramatic urban landscape, but are now ready to begin anew, and lighten things up. They expect visitors, grandchildren and a vibrant social life. They want a home that can support all their dreams and plans.

CHADDOCK: Tell us more about your “real” client.

DEBBIE: Ah, the developer! This developer knows my work. The firm trusts me to make good design decisions and manage the project to a tee. Budget is absolutely critical to the developer. Design and product fees are all part of the P&L, and they are tight. There is no room for fudge.

CHADDOCK: Any tips on balancing high design expectations with a fixed budget?

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DEBBIE: First, engage your vendors. My Chaddock rep, Missy Mowery, is invaluable on projects like these. She knows I want to use Chaddock. She helps me create a design plan that fulfills creative and budget expectations.

CHADDOCK: You’re a model home pro with 12 years of experience. Any advice for design firms thinking of pursuing model home design?

DEBBIE: Yes, I’m always happy to share my experience. First, be sure your left-brain project management skills are topnotch. Model home deadlines are hard and fast, and any budget overages impact your profitability. Secondly, come to the project with creative confidence based on experience. Model homes are not for beginners. And lastly, call Chaddock! It’s great to have partners that are invested in your success.

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Registration is now open for the next session of Chaddock College, the master class in the art and science of fine furniture. Class size is limited to no more than 15 attendees to offer a very personal learning experience. Best to sign up NOW to reserve your place. It’s a must-attend, and here’s a few reasons why…

No 1 Learn a lot: It’s no Animal House. We strive to make Chaddock College, collegial (of course), but you will exponentially increase your understanding of how fine furniture is made in this two-day experience. Most coursework takes place right on the factory floor. You won’t be lectured to; you’ll learn by doing. In fact, you’ll be guided through all the major steps of the wood finishing process and witness the upholstery process from start to finish.

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No 2 Polish your professionalism: The world of design is fun and fashionable. It’s also highly competitive. What differentiates you from other talented professionals? How can you add more value to your client’s experience? Can you demonstrate a rare understanding of the furniture-making process to earn your client’s trust and justify significant purchases? Chaddock College will make you a better professional.

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No 3 Hand rubbing and elbow rubbing: In our wood finishing segment, you’ll experience the hand-finishing process, including the final wool wax rub. Simultaneously, you’ll rub elbows with other retail and design peers and professionals. You may make important connections that will stay with you well after College.

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No 4 About your diploma: It’s more than a piece of paper. In fact (spoiler alert!), your College term project is the hand-finishing of a frame, perfectly sized to hold your diploma. It’s both YOUR badge of honor and our gift to you – but only upon matriculation.

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No 5 Tuition is not a barrier: Chaddock College class size is limited to 10-15 serious professionals. If you are accepted into the program all fees and expenses (including all food and accommodation in Morganton) are fully paid for by Chaddock. Your only financial responsibility is travel to and from Morganton. Chaddock has endowed this program because we know education is essential to our mutual success. Chaddock is on its way becoming the best fine furniture brand in the world. Are you with us?

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