Ta da! I am thrilled to be able to finally share this recently-debuted collection by Los Angeles-based designer Mary McDonald, after seeing it at High Point Market back in April. Versatile pieces united by classical details and unique finishes make Mary McDonald's new collection of furniture for Chaddock a great addition to the new furniture scene. Debuting at April's High Point Market with Chaddock, the collection goes deep into McDonald's love of traditional, classic and antique details inspired by French and English period pieces. I have known the designer for a long time, and her attention to details-- be it feminine touches, dressmaker details on upholstery or just the right hardware finish have always been a big part of what make her interiors so special. Working with signature colors of red, black, grey and white, the pieces work in the bedroom, living room, dinging room and libraries. I caught up with my monogram twin recently, where she shared her inspiration, design process and results with Stylebeat. Read ahead to get the whole story, straight from the mouth of Mary.
A Louis Glam Mirror in a gold finish hangs in the dining room with classical columns and Greek Key accents. The Pauline Dining Table is surrounded with Chantal Side Chairs in the white finish, the cut-out back, Klimos-legged Georgia Hall Chair at the right and Castaing Armchair with ball arm detail on the left.
Your interiors incorporate classical details and statement antiques, how did you decide what historical styles would inspire your collection?
Conceptually it was pretty easy actually. I merely thought of the top historical influences I have always gravitated towards for the past decade. There is a side of me that is very American Bill Blass-ish and another one that is much more 18th C. French and then one that is mid century French. I knew they all had to show up at the party.
What key design elements were important for you to include?
Greco Roman influences, Klismos-inspired silhouettes, custom brass fittings, pulls and legs, and a range of my favorite French pieces inspired by my love of Malmaison and various Mid Century executions of that.
What is your favorite piece or moment?
That's hard. I am sort of a vision hoarder. I love so so many different moments in the showroom and all my pieces. I guess if you force me to choose I love my painted Malmaison screens, Demetria chaise, Castaing, Chantal and Georgia chairs as well as my Brigitte settee, Euclid bookcases and Josephine cabinet and well pretty much everything else....I think I just figured out I can't choose. I told you I am a vision hoarder. Don't make me choose!
What do you want designers to know about the array of pieces and how they can incorporate them into their interiors and lives?
I purposely pulled from different periods in history as inspiration because that is how I would design a client's home and there is not one piece on it's own I could not picture in a very traditional setting or the complete opposite a contemporary loft to replicate the feeling of the collected pieces against a clean canvas.
You LOVE fashion, how did that play into your design choices, details, and upholstery choices/materials?
I really do love fashion as it was my first love so the jewelry like details of my custom brass cast fittings, legs and details read like the jewelry to my pieces. The simple choice of multiple fabrics, textures and trims in all used in unison in a matching hue is more of a dressmaker detail adding to a richness of texture that unfolds before your eyes. I love an outstanding piece, flourish or even over the top detail in both fashion and interiors but the same editing restraint needs to be applied to both to know when to take something off because you don't need a big necklace and huge chandelier earrings. It is one or the other. You also don't need a chandelier and crystal sconces and sparkly wallpaper. Some choices are meant to create the calm cool background for the outstanding eye-catching choices much like the little black dress does for beautiful chandelier earrings.
Discuss putting the Chaddock spaces and collection together, what did you want to be executed in the vision that you really had to execute and what did you bend on?
Well I knew the showroom had to read like a home or large penthouse apartment front to back so the pieces had a language room to room. We created a very custom environment with new hardwood floors with one of my painted patterns as well as custom millwork, overdoors and pilasters. I knew this background would always be timeless and work for years and years to come with any of my future incarnations. We did not bend much from this preparatory base. Classicism was key to create an atmosphere best able to showcase the multitude of period influences symphonicallyharmonized. My vision encompassed multiple pieces influenced by Greco Roman periods, 18th C. France and my all time favorite Malmaison as well as our own American classics the iconic Bill Blass exemplified. I knew just about how much French influence I want to see with more masculine lines and finishes all punctuated with whimsy. I went about the Entry, Dining, Study, Living and Bedroom spaces exactly as I would a home wit a floor plan and sketched out what I wanted to see there that had been successful for my clients for the past 10 years. The jump from actual floor plan and inspirational tear sheets is the most intensive and arduous. That is where you see if your sketch translates and if your apron is far too clunky or your widths too massive and carving just right or just not right now.. It is sketches, CADS, reworking of CADS, samples, tweaks then finishes and refinishes. It is definitely a process but worth it.
What was the hardest part about picking a bookcase, bench side table prototype to go forward with, how did you think about how and where people would use these pieces?
Having to forego something that I really realized was not practical at all and too esoteric for about 4 people out there even though I truly loved the idea, silhouette or piece.
Thus far, what pieces or styles have designers and buyers been most attracted to?
The designer level client loves the quality and glam factor of my Josephine cabinet, Demetria chaise, Camille chests (who doesn’t love shagreen drawer fronts?) Pauline dining table with my assortment of collected Chantal, Castaing and Georgia chairs. They compliment each other in a collected way as a designer might curate over time and are easiest to use.
Talk about the materials you worked with and the integrity of the pure design coming across- were the pieces that inspired the designs in the collection literal translations or amalgamations, derived from the originals?
It was really more of a combination of loving a certain leg, carving or silhouette and pairing it with the most useful rescaling a new version of it for today. Nothing is easier than reproducing a historical antique if you own it but I am known for working with historical references and adding a modern flair.
A view of the styled showroom with graphic geometric painted floors, stunning artwork and accessories. When spaces at market are styled beautifully to resemble real interiors, the effort that goes into the inspiration pays off, revealing takeaway ideas and the ability to envision pieces in a variety of homes.
ADDITIONAL PIECES WORTH NOTING:
Greek Key tape trim stripes run down the sides of the Lavinia Sofa, a large-scale version of the beloved Jansen-style sofa. A tight back, lose seat and curvy arm on slim wood base with turned legs is at once sophisticated and polished.
Foldable with a relaxed pitch, the Rue de Mod Leather Campaign Chair with metal frame adds personality a seating arrangement
A tapered leg, Louis base and cut corners make the Maison Chair, upholstered in grey velvet, a classically-inspired silhouette that is comfortable too
A fluted leg and clean lines of the Madeleine Chair, reminiscent of the Louis XVI style with the addition of a cozy bolster pillow
The Demetria Chaise is the sort of piece that you might not think you would need, but it provides a functional comfortable place to lounge in a bedroom or by a window that gets a lot of sun
Neo Classical details on the handsome black Josephine Cabinet lined in zesty red, available with nickel or brass hardware
A red leather topped oval bi-level brass side table, the Cafe du Bac, exudes French chic