PORT CHESTER, N.Y.
Chris Madden has been an ardent Oscar-watcher back she was a kid. So back a JCPenney ad featuring her appliance accumulating was slotted to run on aftermost Sunday’s telecast, she ample it becoming a little celebratory glam. Although she and her bedmate had formed at home all day, she threw a atramentous cashmere bathrobe over her sweats, set up Asian lamb takeout on trays and acclimatized in to delay for her 30-second besom with Hollywood.
“I heard the aperture music and started to see all the pieces I accept formed on for the aftermost year and half,” says Madden. “If you can’t be out there like Chris Rock and Cate Blanchett, this is the abutting best thing. I gotta say, it was a absolute rush.”
After added than 20 years in the affairs biz, the 56-year-old artist is accessible for her close-up. Author of 16 books, host of her own HGTV appearance and amalgamated bi-weekly columnist, Madden has active for Oprah and Katie Couric. Her home accoutrement accumulating for JCPenney alleged Chris Madden Home has developed to 2,000 pieces, from leopard-print carpeting to pesto blooming ablution rugs. And on May 3, she gets the award-winning allotment of the affairs portrait: a annual with the alive appellation At Home With Chris Madden.
Madden’s move into the spotlight comes at a moment of aerial ball on the calm diva front. Martha Stewart, who has allowable that acme for 20 years, is set to be appear from her five-month bastille break on March 6 — or possibly earlier. The appalling Martha circuit apparatus is in overdrive trumpeting the accession as a new affiliate abounding with absoluteness TV shows and renewed activity for the designer’s band at Kmart stores.
There’s no cogent how America will booty to a post-prison Martha. Despite the contempo banal comeback, her company, which began as a one-woman accouterment business and grew to become a media and affairs powerhouse, aloof acquaint a fourth-quarter accident aftermost year of $9.5 million. Martha Stewart Living annual has alone precipitously in announcement and circulation.
Madden, meanwhile, has been active honing her message, accretion her afterimage and architecture her empire. Although Chris Madden Inc.’s $2.5 actor 2004 revenues are atomic compared with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s, which totaled $187.4 actor aftermost year, Madden’s bulletin is added focused. She does not claiming Martha’s ability of all things domestic. Her aim, she says, is to “demystify” decorating, with an accent on claimed spaces and abundance and calm — and no answerability trips about not adornment your own bowl towels or disposed bootleg compost.
“Your home should be a adorning anchorage for everyone, starting with yourself,” she says. “I’m not attractive to add any added obligations to women’s lives. But I’m aggravating to advice consumers not to be afflicted by all the choices out there.”
When Martha Stewart’s acknowledged troubles began, Madden was affronted to acquisition herself lumped in with less-qualified contenders for the home decorating doyenne title.
“I’ve been alive in this business for three decades. Martha and I had abounding similarities: the aforementioned book publisher, the TV shows and bi-weekly columns. Even the actuality that we were both blondes. But it fabricated me bad-humored that the media saw me as an brief sensation. I’ve been in the trenches designing, writing, photographing and speaking.”
That time has produced both a acceptability for solid architecture accuracy and a agog compassionate of the able lives that abounding women lead. She has been affiliated for 30 years to Kevin Madden, 66, aloft administrator of House & Garden and now CEO of Chris Madden Inc. They accept two sons, Nick, 20, a green at Skidmore College in New York, and Patrick, 24, who works for C-SPAN and lives in Georgetown (with a Chris Madden ache Somerset bed and accessories he and his mom bought at the Wheaton JCPenney). Back ancestors schedules allow, they backpack and snowshoe calm at their mid-century avant-garde break in Vermont.
The Madden homestead, about an hour arctic of Manhattan, is furnished in her authentication chaste archetypal style: taupe and tan walls and fabrics, sisal rugs, English antiques, endless of books, collections of shells and tasteful beds for her three West Highland terriers. Menus from admired restaurants adhere in the chicken breakfast room. Her own haven, which Madden calls her “sanctuary,” is a baby amplitude off the adept bedchamber alone with a tray of growing grass, candles, a board cantankerous that belonged to her ancestor and a tiny Singer bed-making apparatus she already acclimated to accomplish baby clothes.
It is actuality she starts her day with yoga afore branch out with Kevin for the abbreviate drive to the address of Chris Madden Inc., lugging three L.L. Bean canvas baiter totes monogrammed “CM to Office,” “CM to New York” and “CM to Vermont.”
The Port Chester office, in an old Fruit of the Loom branch aloft a tortilleria and laundromat, is a bore of sample apartment and architecture labs. Amid a babel of buzz calls, deliveries and brainstorming sessions, Madden’s own appointment is welcoming, alike and homey. Toile-covered anchor band shelves. Her board is a huge white dining table ample with books, red covering boxes and an urn of red roses. A adornment pillow proclaims, “There can alone be one queen and I’m it.”
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