Noted host on HGTV, design correspondent for Oprah, author of 18 books and founder of her own magazine, At Home with Chris Madden, design guru Chris Madden is now not only decorating the abodes of the rich and fabulous but, with her new line for JC Penny, is transforming the homes of America into havens. She is also the proud mother of three adorable Westies. Chris Madden divulges the secrets of her design philosophy to Animal Fair, and shares her advice on dog-friendly decorating.
AF: Your design philosophy is rooted in the distinction between three decorating lifestyles; Adventurous, Romantic, and Serene, which best encompasses your own home?
CM: I use all three decorating styles in my home – Adventurous for the public spaces such as living and dining room – it is here where I mix lots of different fabrics and textures, display my favorite souvenirs, books and a variety of prints and paintings. My kitchen is Romantic – an homage to my sister, Jeanne’s house in France – with a French toile, covered plush banquette at an antique French table. Then in the master bedroom it is all about Serene – colors that are soft and remind me of a seascape.
AF: You often use the term “haven” in describing ideal spaces. What does that word mean to you?
CM: A haven is comfortable, safe and enveloping – it is a place where you can lay down your worries and the stresses of everyday life and focus on issues of the heart and soul. A haven is what every home should aspire to be.
AF: What inspires your day-to-day life? Tell me about your dogs, your Westies?
CM: In my day-to-day life I draw inspiration from the quiet contemplation and energy generated in my daily yoga sessions, from the quantity of books and newspapers I manage to get through each day, from my home – my own place of haven and renewal – and from my husband and sons and yes, even from my dogs. I love their determination and the way Teddy never gives up, Lola’s glamour even when she’s running in the rain, and Winnie’s perseverance and her ability to always put the best face on everything. And when I’m exhausted at the end of a long day of photography and running my company, I look at Winnie who’s always ready for one more close-up and think, “I can do this, too.”
AF: Did you keep them in mind when you were decorating?
CM: Absolutely! When I upholstered the cushion for the window seat in our master bedroom sitting area, I did one side of the seat for glamour and one side for puppy durability. Rugs are purchased for their washability, chairs are slipcovered for easy cleaning, and the backyard was landscaped for their comfort and safety.
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