Remembering Chris Madden, 73 – Home Furnishings News
Vero Beach, Florida – Chris Madden was the real deal. And with his passing earlier this month, the furniture industry lost one of its first multi-faceted designer and lifestyle personalities, with a career that spanned products, l publishing and the beginnings of television design and decorating shows.
And while she’s less well-known than some of her contemporaries, notably Martha Stewart, she was just as impactful.
Over more than three decades, she has worked with a wide range of the furniture industry, from retailers like JCPenney and Bed Bath & Beyond to HGTV to her own magazine with Hearst at Coffee Table, Design and Cookbooks. for a variety of publishers. . His involvement in so many aspects of the business paved the way for today’s home superstars like Chip and Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Home.
Madden began her career in publishing, according to her New York Times obituary, as a photo assistant for Sports Illustrated, but soon moved into public relations in book publishing before starting her own company, Chris Madden. & Associates. (The Times said “there were no associates.”) She also began her own writing career around the same time in the late 1970s with a cookbook, “The Compleat ( sic) Lemon”, before moving on to interior design books. In 1997, she published what turned out to be her best-selling book, “A Room of Her Own,” about women’s private spaces, including the sanctuary she created for herself after her sister’s suicide. .
The focus on the home led to his HGTV show, Interiors by Design, which aired on the network from 1995 to 2003, and later to his own product lines. Her Sanctuary collection for Bed Bath & Beyond was one of the first shows by a television personality, but it is with her landmark JCPenney collection launched in 2002 that she is perhaps most associated. It eventually grew to over 2,000 plays and was one of the highest-profile and best-selling designer programs of the time, for ten years. She has always focused on classic, affordable designs, telling Parade magazine in 2004, “I truly believe that everyone in America deserves a good place to call home. Not a mansion but a good house.
Originally based in the New York area, she eventually moved to Florida, but her involvement in the industry waned as she dealt with health issues, primarily a rare neurological condition called HHT, or hemorrhagic telangiectasia. hereditary. She died on March 2 from head injuries from a fall, according to the Times obituary.
Her husband, Kevin Madden, who survives her and their two sons Patrick and Nicholas and their three grandchildren, had his own high-profile career in the media industry, as publisher of Self, House & Garden and Bon Appetit before becoming Managing Director of Chris Madden Inc.
I knew Chris well during the height of her career and even, although less so, during her years when she was less prominent. Regardless of her success or her health, she was effervescent, enthusiastic, and generally smiling and laughing. She seemed to be always on the move, working on one project or another and encouraging others on whatever they were doing.
She truly was the real deal and whenever there are discussions about who defines the home furnishings industry today, Chris Madden’s name belongs at the top of that list.