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Designer Interviews

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!

 

Here at Chaddock, we love sharing the work and behind-the-scenes stories of our favorite designers. For today’s blog, we caught up with the busy Margaret Donaldson, proprietor of Margaret Donaldson Interiors. While based in Charleston, MDI’s beautiful work knows no boundaries – geographic or aesthetic. Let’s see what drives the look and the vision.
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CHADDOCK: “Make room for your life” is a theme on your website. Tell us about what this means.

MD: This phrase is really sort of a professional and personal motto. It’s all about living well in your space – in the fullest sense, a beautiful aesthetic with, very importantly, functionality that matches the client’s lifestyle. Frankly, beauty is the easy part! Beauty fully in sync with the way you live takes design to a new level. That’s what we do at my firm!

CHADDOCK: You ask a lot of questions to get to the heart of a client’s heart’s desire for their home. What is the most important question you ask?

MD: There is not really one question that reveals all. No silver bullets. It’s a conversation and a process with a lot of active listening going on! Many of my questions get at exactly how the client wants to live in the space. I need to know how they live life.

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CHADDOCK: What is the role of social media in today’s design landscape?

MD: Social media is huge in two respects. First, Pinterest and Houzz have revolutionized client interaction. Back in the day, we might encourage clients to pull tearsheets from magazines to understand preferences. Today, clients dream – and research – on Pinterest and Houzz. So many actively assemble ideas, mood boards and wish lists. This accelerates the creative process. Secondly, social media – primarily Instagram and Houzz – is a great tool for us to share our work, our design vision and our creativity with potential new clients.

CHADDOCK: There are so many choices for interior designers today. What attracts you to Chaddock?

MD: Great style, of course, but there’s more. Chaddock designs are simply well thought out. The scale and proportion work. I can see the time and attention in every piece. The finishes are also wonderful. I’ll add that in the few instances where there has been a service issue, Chaddock’s been totally on top of it. How we deal with problems is a test of any relationship!

CHADDOCK: Do you have a favorite piece of Chaddock? An item you covet?

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MD: I love the Mary McDonald Marais dresser. It’s a great example of what we just discussed – a beautiful product that is also beautifully thought out. Frankly, 73” dressers can be a bit of a bore. Mary and Chaddock designed Marais with faceted drawer fronts to add interest and diversity to the horizontal shape. It’s brilliant.

CHADDOCK: How does travel inspire your work?

MD: Travel is stimulating! It opens your eyes to new cultures, plus colors, fabrics, textures and combinations.

CHADDOCK: What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

MD: Well, I had just left a professional partnership of 3 years, I was expecting my first child in 3 weeks, and I decided to start my own business, Margaret Donaldson Interiors. I’m so glad I did! I always like to be moving forward!

Act Two

CHADDOCK: Abandon your humanity for a moment and pretend you are a piece of furniture. What would you be?

MD: I see myself as a beautiful living-edge dining table. In this way, I am a place for family and friends to gather, and my very nature – the living edge – shows my history, my story. I am also the platform for new memories.

 

MARGARET’S QUIPS

CHADDOCK: All things in moderation – but even moderation. Can you share an excess or passion?

MD: ART! When my husband and I travel, we don’t bring back souvenirs, we look for original art.

CHADDOCK: My favorite clients are ….

MD: Those who trust my expertise. I want my clients’ homes to look and live as great as they do. Creative trust and a bit of latitude is needed to make that happen.

CHADDOCK: Good riddance to ….

MD: Colorless spaces. It’s time for color! It might be an accent color pop or something more daring.

CHADDOCK: You heard it here first. The next great thing in design is…

MD: It’s about paint and color. Look for walls and trim painted in the same color. I’m loving lacquered walls, and I am drawn to a new palette of jewel tones. The hues are crisp, cool and very today, not a 1980s throwback!

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ONE

Sutter Place Interiors’ Susan Stutheit has mastered the hat trick. Senior designer, buyer, and manager, Susan is the quintessential industry professional. Chaddock got curious. What skills, background and personality traits allow Susan Stutheit to pull off this trifecta, day in and day out? Here’s what we learned.

CHADDOCK: How did you become an interior designer?

SUSAN: I grew up in a very artistic environment with paints and pastels all around me. My father was an accomplished carver and commercial artist. He basically reinvented the art of decoy duck carving. My mother had her own wonderful flair, too. I began my artful path as a graphic designer, but found my passion in interior design.

CHADDOCK: Second career time. If you had to do it all over again, where would your career path lead?

SUSAN: Into the garden. I love landscape architecture!

CHADDOCK: What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

SUSAN: Flying around the world to Singapore as a young woman. It was a wonderful adventure.

CHADDOCK: Can you describe your business philosophy in a few words?

SUSAN: Go with your gut. It can feel risky to trust your own instincts, but it has always served me well!

CHADDOCK: Pretend you are piece of furniture and not a human being. What piece of furniture would you be?

SUSAN: I discussed this with my team, and we are ALL of one mind, which is unusual. I am a black lacquered high boy with a myriad of compartments all lined in cheetah, and finished with pearl pulls. Like me, this piece is classic with a twist, and always wears pearls!

CHADDOCK: What attracts you and Sutter Place to Chaddock?

SUSAN: Made in America – and all it brings – is very important to me. I’m impressed by Chaddock’s history, quality and depth of finishes. Trust is important. My rep, David Yates, is a true partner, as is the team in Morganton.

CHADDOCK: Do you have a favorite piece of Chaddock?

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SUSAN: I love the Mary McDonald collection, every piece. If I can only choose one favorite, the Napoleon stool always makes my heart skip a beat. It’s a perfect little gem.

CHADDOCK: You have the stage and the mic. Any advice for Chaddock?

SUSAN: I think Chaddock has a clear calling to be the best. So, like my personal motto, I encourage the company to “go with its gut.” This means staying true to its values and principles.

PARTING WORDS, QUIPS & ONE-LINERS  WITH SUSAN STUTHEIT

CHADDOCK: What’s on your coffee table?

SUSAN: A lot. I’m with Tony Duquette. More is more.

CHADDOCK: What’s your favorite room in your house?

SUSAN: Right now, you’ll find me on the patio with shade, fans, and a fresh blue-and-white palette.

CHADDOCK: What’s your favorite color?

SUSAN: Black. The runner up is warm soft pink. And I love the two together!

CHADDOCK: How would you sum up Lincoln style in three words?

SUSAN: Sophisticated, intellectual and welcoming. What a great vibe!

THREE

Studio C Katie

Chaddock’s Studio C is recognized as one of the most robust upholstery options programs in the marketplace, offering consumers so many fashionable choices. In today’s blog, Chaddock caught up with Studio 882 co-founder Katie Groves to learn more about Studio C from a business perspective. Aesthetics and fashion aside (just for a moment!), here’s the behind-the-scenes lowdown on how Studio C performs on a busy design floor. 

CHADDOCK: Can you describe the perfect project or customer fit for Studio C?

KATIE: Studio C is what I like to call a “workhorse” program because it suits so many different customer and project types. For example, Studio C is perfect for clients who want a sectional, or a deeper sit, or a stylized arm and base style. It’s also great for clients who need a matching sofa and loveseat. I could go on. Studio C has something for everyone.

CHADDOCK: How do you present Studio C to your clients?

KATIE: I share the Studio C program at the very beginning of the design process, BUT I usually have pre-selected the options that work best. It really helps to guide clients through the series of options, and it gives them more confidence in our final selections.

CHADDOCK: How do you merchandise Studio C on your floor?

KATIE: We have a Studio C vignette featuring different types of upholstery with different arm, base and cushion styles. In this one setting, we can walk customers through the program’s many options. But, we also display Studio C sofas and chairs in other areas of the showroom to highlight how well Studio C seamlessly integrates with other Chaddock’s upholstery, or even existing upholstery in the client’s home.

CHADDOCK: How does Studio C compare to other options programs?

KATIE: Studio C style goes well beyond basic. Many other programs simply offer one roll arm style, one pleated arm style, one track arm, and so on. And maybe only one or two skirt styles. The importance of additional options is more than vanity. With Studio C, I can specify an arm style, for example, that’s better scaled for a particular room or project; or a skirt style that’s just spot on, and a cushion type that is perfectly cohesive with the arm and base selections.

CHADDOCK: Pretend I’m a new designer at your store. Give me the skinny on Studio C.

KATIE: “Creating the perfect piece of upholstery is as easy as 1, 2, 3. With Studio C, we get to pick an arm style, a base style and a back/cushion style, and other features too.” I’d remind the new designer that for some clients, this can seem like an overwhelming set of choices, and quickly point out that with Studio C, Chaddock has already weeded out the bad decisions. The program is a collection of the best options. I encourage designers to start with the arm selections. So often, the rest of the decisions naturally fall into place.

CHADDOCK: Studio C is a feast of options. What are your favorites?

KATIE: I like the raised panel roll arm. It’s a fashionable twist to a roll arm. I also appreciate that Studio C has a both roll arm and small roll arm options, a raised panel roll arm and a small raised panel roll arm, a pleated arm and a small pleated arm option. Also, the round corner box back cushion is a great option absent in most other programs.

CHADDOCK: Fashion aside, does Studio C make good sense for your business?

KATIE: Customers invest time with us, and we invest time in our customers. It’s part of the Studio 882 experience. But one of the most important parts of the sales process, ironically, happens after the sale when the furniture is delivered. If we furnished rooms that look good but aren’t comfortable, our relationship with that customer probably wouldn’t continue much longer. But, if we deliver rooms that look great and are comfortable, we probably have a customer for life – and great word of mouth. Simply put, Studio C upholstery exceeds customer expectations. That’s good business!

CHADDOCK: Can you share Studio C secrets to selling success?

KATIE: I usually introduce the Studio C with a quality and comfort story. When clients are settled on Chaddock for these essentials, they can then get invested in creating something beautiful and unique with all the options.

CHADDOCK: Any other sage selling advice others might be missing?

KATIE: I like to pair Studio C sectional options with Chaddock’s expanded collection of Sunbrella fabrics for the perfect family friendly sectional.

CHADDOCK: Any famous last words as we close?

KATIE: Continue to stay in touch with designers (and through us, customers) on what options are most important. Great programs, like Studio C, evolve!

Studio882Build 2

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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Change doesn’t scare Rachelle Roth. In 1991 she and her husband Jeffery left successful, high-powered careers to start Urban Country. They were furniture novices who set new industry standards. Life and business changed irrevocably in 1999 when Jeffery died of brain tumor, but the idea of a “family business” took on even richer meaning as two of Rachelle and Jeffery’s daughters joined the enterprise. In today’s blog, Chaddock catches up with this entrepreneur, designer and mom to find out what makes Rachelle run… 

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CHADDOCK: Urban. Country. Quite a juxtaposition. Tell us the origin of your company name.

RR: Our whole business philosophy – then and now – is based on the idea of blending. In the case of the name, it’s about an edgy urban aesthetic paired with a casual, relaxed country vibe. Urban Country is less about contrast and hard juxtapositions than it is about a seamless blend.

CHADDOCK: What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

RR: Starting the business in 1991, but I didn’t fully realize it then. We gave up great jobs. We had young kids. The economy was horrible. We were furniture beginners – but with great business acumen (him) and fashion sense (me). We wanted to blend our talents, so we did!

CHADDOCK: What’s the biggest upside to running a family business?

RR: Creating. Shedding old ideas. Some 25+ years ago, my husband and I were the ones innovating. It’s a kick to see our children – two are active in the business – charting new courses.

CHADDOCK: And – tell the truth – the biggest downside?

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RR: Ah, see the last question. It’s hard to let go of what you think you know, but I’m a proud mamma!

CHADDOCK: Second career time. You’re starting fresh and saying goodbye to interior design. “I would like to….”

RR: I can see myself consulting on a fashion business, helping others break barriers – the mental and tangible ones. That would be satisfying.

CHADDOCK: If you were a CHAIR, what would you look like?

RR: I would be a curvy French bergère in mohair and velvet, please.

CHADDOCK: How would you describe your own personal style in three adjectives?

RR: Sophisticated, elegant, whimsical.

CHADDOCK: What attracts you and Urban Country to Chaddock?

RR: Chaddock offers such a panoply of styles. Urban Country is all about the blend, and Chaddock is a great fit. Styles range from buttoned-up traditional to outside-the-box designs.

CHADDOCK: Do you have a favorite piece of Chaddock? An item you covet?

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RR: There are so many…. I recently downsized into a 1900 square-foot condo. I had to edit. The Mary McDonald for Chaddock goat-leg demilune was a must-have. It’s rustic. It’s classic. There’s the blend again! I live with and admire that piece every day.

CHADDOCK: What’s your personal motto, mantra or credo?

RR: Do what you love and do it with passion!

INTRO

A couple from Chicago came to designer Beverly Bohan to furnish their new-build 5,000 square-foot home on Seabrook Island, outside of Charleston, and Beverly came to Chaddock to furnish the entire home.

It makes perfect sense. “My clients are unique individuals. They want their homes and furniture selections to really resonate with their own personal taste and lifestyle. They come to me for what they cannot get elsewhere, not what’s in a catalog. Customization is key.”

The Seabrook Island project began a few weeks after the April 2016 High Point Market with a client-designer, and Chaddock meeting at the High Point showroom. In a three-day design tour de force, with floor plans unfurled, furniture for the entire home was specified.

“Customizing furniture is in my DNA,” explains Beverly. “It’s how I achieve something truly unique and perfectly suited to the client and the space. Chaddock has some great pieces – that’s one of the things that draws me to the brand. But for me, that’s just a creative launch pad!”

From a manufacturing perspective, Chaddock loves to collaborate with designers. As rep Missy Mowery explains, “Our products have great bones. Designers can start with a fundamentally great piece and make it their own by changing size, finish, and other specs. Just about all Chaddock is made to order in Morganton, NC, so anything is possible.”

Beverly offers the Centre Table as an example. “I love the Centre Table, and I envisioned the changes we would make. I literally saw it in my head, and Chaddock made it happen. The table needed to fit the casual aesthetic of the space – not the sleek and contemporary Centre Table we so often see it at Market. I customized the table in Oak, scored the top, and finished it in Chaddock’s Greige with medium distress and low sheen. I also added two 20-inch extensions. I decided to match the finish on the Envelope Chairs. Perfection! It’s the room my clients wanted.”

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For the great room, Beverly loved Chaddock’s scoop-back Catalina chair, but wanted it to swivel. Chaddock made it happen. Beverly then took the standard Otto ottoman, supersized it by a third, changed the finish and replaced the button-tufted upholstered surface with a taunt top. Wow. The Meerlust Sofa underwent an amazing transformation in the great room as well. Beverly tweaked the design, increasing seat depth by 3 inches. Meerlust sits like a dream and looks fabulous in the space.

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In the master bedroom, Beverly’s design plan called for a large portrait mirror. She admired the Regent Mirror, but the proportions were all wrong at W30 X H80. Beverly blew it up to W75. The results are striking. Also in the master, two custom Somerset nightstands in Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter flank the Pinciana Bed. The Flair Bench sits at the foot of the bed.

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In the mini-master bedroom, Beverly shape-shifted the Avery Bed to H65 so it would position perfectly beneath a trio of bedroom dormers, and specified it in the Debutant finish – pristine with no chain and no distress, Robin blue upholstery, and small pewter nails.

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The Seabrook Island project installed in mid-December, in time for the Chicago couple to host family and friends for the holidays. In a way, this is a Chaddock custom show house, since nearly all of the furniture in the house is custom Chaddock.

“Projects like this are a lot of work,” notes Beverly. “It takes a lot of time, patience, creativity and communication to make it all come together. Personally, I love the whole process, and I think Chaddock must too. They were with me every step of the way. I’ll be back. In fact, I have another Chaddock project set to install later this month!”

ABOUT BEVERLY BOHAN: Beverly is one of the Southeast’s top interior designers with commissions in the Charleston area and throughout the U.S. Together with her Haute Design team, Beverly seeks to translate client’s needs and desires for their homes, and is also expert in commercial, hospitality and retail design. Beverly and Haute Design are at the very forefront of current styles, but committed to the essential classics of timeless design.

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Pantone says that Greenery is the color of the year. Kate Middleton might say that tartan plaids are the pattern of the year. We think both are right on trend.

So do Chaddock designers Sarah Kennedy Dolce and Peter Sinnott IV. Chaddock introduced their prescient PS Four Console at the October High Point Market, just as the Duchess was likely off to the hunt in tartan, and Pantone had Greenery under wraps.

An open-form silhouette, PS Four has no secrets. All is revealed. The exterior is wrapped in gun-metal vinyl. The interior, like the beautiful lining of a couture jacket, is covered in a fresh green-and-yellow tartan plaid.

“Of course, we’re delighted that the piece is so on-trend,” Sarah notes, “but it’s important to remember that designers are not boxed in, so to speak.”

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Like most Chaddock styles, the PS Four Console can be specified in any fabric combination, including COM, and also in wood, with a selection from 50+ wood and paint finishes. Additionally, Chaddock is happy to customize dimensions so the table, again like most of the brand’s lineup, can be groomed to suit any design plan.

“Speaking to its versatility,” Peter adds that, “this console table is actually big brother to the PS Three Side Table, introduced earlier in 2016. We showed that in a faux croc with a tangerine suede interior. Chaddock says YES to all our ideas. Personalization and customization are the company’s wheelhouse.”

Pantone and famous style mavens aside, for the most part, designers who choose Chaddock set their own trends. Won’t you tell us what’s new in your fashionable world? We would love to spotlight your vision in an upcoming blog.

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Brooke Schuldt is one of the lucky ones. She found her professional home before she even completed her Interior Design degree, interning with and then joining Selden’s Home Furnishings in Washington. That was 20 years ago! Today, Brooke is a senior designer, accepting new business and also engaged with “clients for life.” Get a pro’s advice on the secrets to design success in today’s blog.

CHADDOCK: When did you first know you wanted to be an interior designer?

BROOKE: I was really very young. I can remember looking at House Beautiful as a child and feeling that spark of inspiration. I didn’t know about careers in design – that came later – but I was drawn to the wonderful environments.

CHADDOCK: Have you had a mentor in your life – past or present?

BROOKE: My mom is very creative. We had our own “house beautiful.” On a professional level, I have to credit my first Selden’s manager, Warren Echternkamp. Warren really guided my professional growth. He’s still in my life. Warren is the Chaddock sales rep in the Pacific Northwest. Small world!

CHADDOCK: You’ve been designing for over twenty years. Have today’s clients changed?

BROOKE: I’m happy to say that I have clients for life. Yes, clients, design, and styles change over time, and I’ve been part of that process with many. Take my client Teresa, for example. We did our first project 20 years ago, and we have been through a number of houses in Seattle, and more recently Arizona. I’ve also helped Teresa’s mom, two sisters and a few best friends! “Clients for life” is about design relationships over time.

CHADDOCK: What do you like best about the Chaddock lineup?

BROOKE: There are many great designs, and I trust Chaddock quality, but I have to say Chaddock’s amazing custom options make the line a go-to for me – the fabrics, and most especially all the finishes. When you change the finish, the whole look of a piece changes. This is so creatively empowering for a designer.

CHADDOCK: Tell us about your favorite room in your own home?

BROOKE: You’ll have to call be back next year! We just bought a house and are getting ready to rip it down. I’m very excited about plans for my great room/kitchen area, however.

CHADDOCK: Is there a piece of Chaddock you’d love to have in your own home?

BROOKE: I love the Catalina upholstery series – and it may make an appearance in my great room. With all the options, it’s never the same sofa twice. I also love what I call Chaddock jewelry pieces. These can be larger statement pieces, or even scaled-down accent pieces. Interesting detail and workmanship set them apart, and elevate a room.

CHADDOCK: As a creative person, can you tell us what’s up and coming Do you see any design, color or fabric trends about to take off?

BROOKE: I’ll be happy to see gray cycle out at some point, but it’s still popular in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it’s the climate! I do see blues on the rise – all hues – I love the dash of color.

CHADDOCK: You’re a pro. Can you share what advice you might offer to a young designer at the very beginning of his or her career?

BROOKE: I’ll credit this interview with inspiring my answer! I would encourage designers just starting out to find a mentor. It was a happy accident for me – finding someone to show me the ropes and help shape me as a professional. A great mentor can help you learn how to engage with clients and demonstrate your value as a designer. Creativity, training and the guidance of a mentor are the ticket for beginning designers!

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Katie and Chad Groves moved to the Philadelphia area six years ago, and set about renovating an historic farmhouse. Finding the right local furniture/design resource was a problem, so they decided to do it themselves. Studio 882 opened in 2013. Now, just three years later, Studio 882 is expanding. We caught up with Katie for more of the backstory.

CHADDOCK: How are shoppers today different from the past?

KATIE: Customers today want to buy locally, but their imagination is not limited to the local geography. As the Internet and social media have grown, we are all exposed to so much more – more design ideas and more terrific products – creating more desire to personalize a space. We wanted Studio 882 to be the local go-to for more complete creative expression at home.

CHADDOCK: You use the term “heirloom quality.” In other hands that might sound stodgy. What does this mean to you?

KATIE: I’m glad you asked that. The concept of heirloom quality is not a dusty idea. It’s so relevant today. Heirloom quality means three things at Studio 882. First, an heirloom item must be functional and fill a need. Next, it must be well designed. And third, it must be made properly – materials, finishes and craftsmanship – for its intended use. People don’t want to fill up their homes with unnecessary items. What could be more timely?!

CHADDOCK: We know all your customers are unique, but are there characteristics that most Studio 882 customers share?

KATIE: Our customer demographics are incredibly diverse – different ages and stages in life. But overall, Studio 882 customers are not looking for a formulaic approach to design, quite the opposite. They seek pieces that speak to them individually. They’re keenly interested in the product and brand’s back story. Customers want to know what their options are, and how things are made.

CHADDOCK: It sounds like education and communication are critical.

KATIE: Absolutely. And everything is connected. We choose our manufacturing partners with care. We believe in our vendors. This is why we can speak passionately and honestly about the product to our customers.

CHADDOCK: You talk about “timeless forms with unexpected designer twists.” An example, please?

KATIE: Chaddock does this really well. It’s one of the reasons the brand is so popular. The Petite Camille Chest is just one example. The shape is familiar with thoughtful neoclassical references. But Mary McDonald has added faux shagreen drawer fronts. Unexpected details like this enhance the personality of the piece.

CHADDOCK: Another example?

KATIE: The Centre Credenza is a favorite. It’s a lovely functional piece – very important! – but the large inlaid circles and brass hardware add unexpected geometry and surprise. And, like all Chaddock pieces, when you change the finish – which is so easy, all you need is imagination – you can create an entirely different vibe.

CHADDOCK: Your customers praise Studio 882 visual merchandising. What’s your approach?

KATIE: Curated and non-formulaic. We also let the furniture shine. Our backgrounds are subtle: white walls and floors with light accessorization. It’s not what I would call minimalist – that sounds too modern. The Studio 882 atmosphere is more like an art gallery or museum: edited.

CHADDOCK: It seems like this is quite different from the typical furniture store approach.

KATIE: Apparently so. We try to define what’s right for Studio 882 and sometimes that means not following the rules!

CHADDOCK: What do you enjoy most about Furniture Market?

KATIE: Surprisingly, seeing the new intros is probably not #1. I so enjoy speaking with the people who work at the brands – the behind-the-scenes team that supports us daily. They embody the personality of the brand. I bring those insights almost subconsciously back to the store here Pennsylvania, and my conversations with my customers are even richer.

CHADDOCK: Do you have a Market shopping strategy?

KATIE: Caffeine is definitely involved! My mantra is “no impulse purchases.” We are telling a story at Studio 882. I must see all of our major brands before I make buying decisions. Then I develop the showroom narrative. I am analytical and creative!

CHADDOCK: Any crystal-ball insights on emerging trends:

KATIE: I spy two. First, I see rich wood tones on the ascendency, a response to the stripped-down driftwoods, which have been so popular. Warmer wood tones seem permeated with historical references, and feel more curated. Secondly, there’s been a lot of buzz about the “luxury of time” in the last few years. I think we’re going to hear more about the luxury of SPACE. This can mean more space, of course, but better yet, well-used spaced. So rather than a room full of trendy stuff, imagine more focus on editing, true functionality, thoughtful design. Studio 882 is here to help!

Just a sampling of Chaddock styles at Studio 882, including the Ladd Chair, Lombard Sofa, Lombard Chair, Dawson Chairs and Sleepy Hollow Chair.
Just a sampling of Chaddock styles at Studio 882, including the Ladd Chair, Lombard Sofa, Lombard Chair, Dawson Chairs and Sleepy Hollow Chair.