Welcome Home Chris Madden’s tips

Chris Madden’s tips
on how to make
your house a haven
Photographs by Keith Scott Morton
When Chris Madden decided it was
time to update the look of her home,
she didn’t have to go far for inspiration.
As an interior designer with her own home
furnishings collection at JCPenney, she
simply let her mood—a wish to create a
cozier feel for the coming winter—and some
of her newest fabrics and furniture guide
her. “My house is my laboratory,” says Chris
of the renovated 1916 stone gatehouse in
Westchester County, New York, that she
shares with her husband, Kevin, and
(sometimes) with their two grown sons.
fabrics in fall tones, including
houndstooth upholstery for the chairs.
CLOSE-UP “Start with a room’s
‘big picture,’” says Chris, “then create
a few smaller scenes.”
From JCPenney: Houndstooth chairs,
sofa, desk, table lamps, curtains
“My home is where I can live with my new
designs every day—which really gives me a
sense of how they will work for my customers.” Although Chris and her design team
recently revamped everything from the
window treatments to the furniture, she
Welcome Home
stresses that updating doesn’t require
a major investment. “You can transform a room dramatically with new
pillows or a small area rug layered
over the carpet or even by switching
from white lightbulbs to pink ones,
for a warm glow.” And, Chris advises,
always consider all five senses. Attend
to the visual, of course, but also incorporate texture, sound, scent, and
even taste (see “Decorating for the
Five Senses”). Then there’s the “sixth
sense”: emotion. “You need to really
connect with the rooms in your
home as you go about decorating
them,” she says. “Choose elements
that will create the effect you want—
whether it’s to energize or relax you.
That’s the best way to make a room
truly your own.”
shelves of the dining nook show off
Chris and Kevin’s enthusiasm for
natural history—and keep
entertaining essentials close at hand.
the full dining room, this alcove is
where Chris and Kevin enjoy intimate
dinners—and read the papers on
Sunday morning.
From JCPenney: Table, buffets,
plates, glassware
Welcome Home
“This bed, a new one
from my collection,
anchors the space in a
fresh way,” says Chris.
“And the leopard area
rug reflects my
adventurous sense
of style.”
From JCPenney:
Bed, bedding, throw, rug
“Soften the impact of a rich fabric
by emphasizing one of the pattern’s
secondary colors, like this turquoise.”
Welcome Home
for the
five senses
Tips from
Chris Madden
GUEST SWEET “Fabric is
a great way to smooth out
uneven plaster walls like
ours,” says Chris. She just
stapled a cottagey blueand-white print to the wall,
then applied white rope trim
with a hot-glue gun.
From JCPenney:
Nightstands, bedding,
window treatments, plates,
lamps, rug
After you’ve designed the overall
layout of the room, create a few
“vignettes” of some things you’re
passionate about.
Fill your home with the sounds you
and your guests love. They can be
music, a water fountain, chimes,
and even the whir of a fan.
It’s the strongest of the five
senses, and a scent can set the
mood in a room immediately. I like
lavender for a guest room and
eucalyptus for a bathroom.
Make a room come alive with a
variety of textures, from the
softness of a cashmere throw to
the bristly fibers of a sisal carpet.
Keep a tray with drinks and snacks
in every room. It’s a visual reminder
to sit down, slow down, and relax.
A few of my
favorite things
Instant sculpture
“Chinese jars like this one
imbue a room with a
sense of history and culture.”
Chris shares
her treasures—old
and new
Great books
“As a writer, I love to
collect anything related to
the written word.”
Classic style
“The shape of this chair from my JCPenney
collection can work in so many settings.”
Nice price
Small wonder
“This rug from my fall
line adds so much pop.”
“The small size of this table makes it the
perfect companion to an armchair.”
Practical magic
“My new JCPenney dinnerware is
designed for mixing and matching
on your table—or your walls.”
Glass act
“These French bistro
glasses were a gift from a
good friend of mine.
I love their texture.”