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.
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.


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?


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.



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!


Chaddock and special guest Mary McDonald recently journeyed to Louisville, KY, for a weekend of Wine and Design with Lee Robinson. It was an exceptional 3-day event (stay tuned for full coverage coming soon in Editor at Large). We snagged Lee for a one-on-one to learn more about his way of seeing, designing and living. Read on, and you’ll understand why Lee Robinson is Louisville’s favorite designer.


CHADDOCK: It looks like the creative world of Lee Robinson is expressed in four glorious lifestyles. Can you tell us, is there a common thread that runs throughout?

LR:  Indeed. The common denominator is quality. Simply put, all things of quality work together, regardless of whether a space is modern, traditional or anything in between.

CHADDOCK: Let’s get personal. What does your home say about you?

LR:  Well, you must understand the context, as in all things. My family and I live in a 6th generation home built by the architect Ogden Codman. The house is about family, provenance and legacy with strong traditional English and French influences, all respectfully updated for this new Millennia. I love living with history in the modern world.

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

LR: I am the only son born to a family of bankers, and I too, was a successful banker for 14 years. I stepped away as the financial world began to change and consolidate, and to discover the world of design, formally, with training in New York. Most people would say that’s risky!

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

LR: It may surprise you, but I might return to the world of finance – investment banking this time. My higher calling is to help people see and realize their dreams. This involves both finance and design. I am keenly interested in new ideas, and a better way. I love to create.

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

LR: Clearly, something Directoire or Campaign, so I could be easily folded up and taken off on new adventures. I would be dressed in a chameleon-like fabric, something that morphs with different people and environments. At the end of the day, I’m a people pleaser. In my incarnation as a chair, I want to be transportable, properly dressed for every occasion, and comfortable – of course!

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

LR: It goes back to quality. Doesn’t it always? Chaddock’s design aesthetic is impressive, demonstrating a respect and understanding of scale, proportion, balance and classic forms. This is quality design. Chaddock furniture is also beautifully made. My name is my brand. I can’t have things coming in wrong or defective.

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

LR: I love so many pieces, but I do lean toward Mary McDonald Her Antoinette canopy bed is dynamite: Old glamour paired with modern finishes. The Alix side chair is a piece of sculpture, and the Bridgette chair is also a favorite. It’s low slung and clubby, but set on brass stiletto-like heels. Mary likes a bit of drama and surprise. So do I.


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

LR: What’s perfect is imperfect, and what’s imperfect is perfect. It may sound like a bit of a puzzle, but the point is that design should never feel contrived. Surprises and little oddities breathe life into a room.


CHADDOCK: Is there a rule that should always be broken?

LR: What rules? Aren’t we all here to make our own?

CHADDOCK: What single trait do you most admire in a person?

LR: Self-possession. This is the fruit of self-understanding, and gives an individual confidence to be true to himself.

CHADDOCK: What is your guilty pleasure?

LR: Cufflinks. I have many. It’s the one way a man can express himself with jewelry.

CHADDOCK: What color do you never tire of?

LR: I always say every room needs a bit of black, but today, I’ll choose red. It’s a fabulous accent color.

CHADDOCK: “I can never have too many….”

LR: Well, cufflinks, of course, but I’ll add silver to the mix. I love an historical piece of silver repurposed in some surprising way. Like my wallet – formerly a Deco cigarette case.






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.”


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.




DanBy Dan Bradley

Chaddock has undergone a transformation over the course of the last year. Yet, many of the improvements may not be readily apparent to you. Such is the nature of significant enhancements of factory operations.

Right now, however, I’m delighted to share details of a new program that demonstrates what Chaddock 2016 is all about.

Effective immediately, fully upholstered COM and COL orders will be available to ship in five weeks following receipt and approval of the order/fabric. Beautifully styled quality upholstery has always been a Chaddock core competency. Going forward, we will also offer you – and your clients – some of the best lead times in the industry. Early feedback to this new program has been most encouraging. Thank you to Chaddock dealers and designers for your strong positive response…

Lori Gilbert Steve LushKatie 2Nina NashBob Shea

Now, there are a few “disclaimers” to this program. I think you’ll agree they are reasonable and understandable.

For the present, Chaddock inline fabrics are excluded. This is simply because Chaddock does not control mill ship dates. Once inline yardage is received, we are confident the order will ship in five weeks.

Nearly 90% of the Chaddock upholstery lineup is included in this offering. Some wood-trim frames are excluded, such as the Demetria Chaise and the French Deco Sofa. Dining room chairs are, of course, not part of the program. You’ll find a list of the most current participating frames on our website. You may also  consult your sales rep or your customer service rep for full detail. I think you’ll be pleased to see most of your favorite silhouettes available for shipment in five weeks.

This new program is part of the Chaddock Promise. We are all familiar with “quick ship programs.” This is something more. It’s a way of doing business. In fact, if your approved order is not available to ship in five weeks, Chaddock will pay for the freight anywhere in the continental U.S.A. You are accountable to your clients. We are accountable to you.

Earlier this year, I forecasted that 2016 would be Chaddock’s breakout year. Today’s news – the Chaddock Promise with five-week shipment on fully upholstered COM/COL orders – is a demonstration of a new Chaddock.

Thank you.


Bob Shea believes in the power of relationships. Since day one back in 1996, his people-first philosophy is the guiding principle at his Ohio Design Center Showroom just outside of Cleveland.

CH: Pretend I’m a designer brand new to the area. How would you describe your company? This is your 30 second elevator pitch!

RWS: I’m not much of a speech maker actually. When a new client comes in I really try to listen. I’m interested in understanding their needs, background and perspective. I’d rather “show” than “tell.” I really try to demonstrate from the very first encounter that I’m here to help.

CH: What kind of ambience do you seek to create in the showroom?

RWS: I want my showroom to speak for itself too. My space is 3,000 square feet so it’s important to curate and edit the assortment. By showing various styles, I demonstrate breath of assortment. Designers shop for items and inspiration. I want to satisfy both goals.

CH: YOU are a shopper too. What do you look for in your vendors?

RWS: There are a number of things, but there are two deal breakers. I look for design leadership – including quality – and partnership. I ask my clients to trust me, so I need to trust my vendor partners.

CH: So how to you rate Chaddock?

RWS: Chaddock is a must-have line for me. The line is very versatile. You cover so many style categories, and the custom capabilities are in a league of their own. I did my due diligence before I introduced Chaddock. Of course, the showroom blew me away. I also went to the factory and met the people. I saw the quality and the commitment. Chaddock is a true partner.

CH: Let’s talk about the lineup now. Do you have favorite pieces of Chaddock?

RWS: My favorites are going to be what turns the head of my shoppers. Let’s just say the Dynamo Sofa is very well named, and Larry Laslo‘s French Deco Sofa is another favorite. Mary McDonald’s Josephine Cabinet is an amazing statement piece. Chaddock brings amazing attention to detail without going overboard. That’s why designers love it.

CH: Chaddock really hangs its hat on the ability to customize or personalize selections – over 60 finishes, for example. Why is this important to you and your designers?

RWS: It’s huge, and I’ll say made in America is also important. They go together, right? Chaddock can customize to the nth degree because the product is made domestically. Designers and their upscale clients want a unique look. Chaddock fills that niche.