Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shop Like a Design Blogger: Maddie G Designs

Today's guest post comes courtesy of Susie from Maddie G Designs. Susie offers do-it-yourself designers access to trade-only fabrics, wallpapers, furniture and accessories at below retail prices as well as traditional interior decorating services for DC-area (and virtual) clients. A few months ago, I contacted Susie about helping me purchase several rolls of Osborne & Little's Summer Palace for my powder room and she quickly helped me locate a few rolls at an excellent price. In addition to her trade-only buying service, Susie also authors an excellent blog by the same name.

* * *

I was very flattered when Averill invited me to participate in this series. Since finding Odi et Amo, it has quickly became one of my favorite blogs. I am not an attorney like Averill, but worked in a similar field, doing investor relations and transactional work for a large private equity firm in DC before starting my family and switching gears. So, perhaps I identify with the whole corporate vs. creative pull that Averill often alludes to. Regardless, I know I love her style and quickly pop over when my blog roll indicates a new post is up on her site.

I should start my list by saying that I hate paying retail and will avoid it at all costs. But, I also do not have the time to be a dedicated bargain shopper….so my selections are a combination of practical, available and every now and then, the special piece you just have to have.

1. Nottingham Antiques

I first stumbled upon this source when my sister lived in Atlanta almost 10 years ago. They specialize in custom handmade reproductions. If you can imagine it, they can probably build it. And, I’ve found their prices to be very reasonable. I’ve got an armoire that I bought off their floor many years ago, and have since had a custom buffet made for the recessed space in my previous townhouse dining room. It is now in a hallway off my family room.

To give an example of what they can do, I’ve fallen in love with the Cherington Bookcase by William Yeoward, seen in Amanda Nisbet’s home below. But, the piece is pricey and overseas shipping is expensive and time consuming. Nottingham is able to help me with a reproduction, where I’ll be able to customize the color for the unit, in additional to the interior of the cabinet, if I so choose.

Photo credit Werner Straube for Traditional Home.

2. Norwalk Furniture

I first found this company after I fell in love with a Candice Olson sofa from one of her Divine Design episodes. The sources on her site led me to Norwalk Furniture, where she has designed a line of upholstered furniture that they manufacture. I now have two Norwalk pieces in my home, the Candice Olson sofa in my living room (pictured below) and a sectional that I had upholstered in a COM (customer’s own material).

I purchased my pieces through a trade only showroom. However, I know that there are Norwalk franchised furniture stores throughout the US. Click here for store locations.

I should add that the company has an incredible selection of fabric options which helps keep the prices down (vs. supplying your own). If you click here, you can design your own Norwalk upholstered pieces right down to contrasting welt and accent pillows. I love this feature!

3. Greenfront Furniture

There are two Greenfront furniture locations in Virginia. The most impressive is in Farmville, Va. The town literally centers around this furniture store. It is divided into warehouse after warehouse of furniture (over 700,000 square feet of showroom space) from top brands such as Henredon, Hickory Chair, Lane Venture, Century, etc.

The Northern Virginia location is impressive, but much smaller. But, they have all of the furniture books and fabric samples, so you still have access to many of the same options as at the Farmville location. Of course, buying off the floor has its benefits in terms of lack of lead time and often lower price.

I’ll be honest, I can sometimes get better pricing on some items than I can at my trade only showrooms (and I price out at more than one).

Over the years, I’ve purchased a Henredon dining table, buffet and sunroom couch, as well as a Hickory Chair table and chairs that currently reside in my eat-in kitchen. If you are out of the area, this place is worth a call or email as you compare pricing.

4. Deboise Textiles

I initially found this gem through Meg of Pigtown Design blog. Debois operates a large warehouse/storefront in Baltimore that specializes in textile remnants, piece goods and second hand clothing. The store is set up into three sections-- fabric, vintage clothing and thrift items.

If you are looking for designer fabric at deep discount prices and are in the Baltimore area, this is the place to be. No fabric is priced at over $10/yard. And, most are well below that. They have a large selection of Ralph Lauren, Duralee and Thibaut. And, upon digging, I found Lee Jofa (including Kelly Wearstler Groundworks Collection), Kravet (including Barbara Barry and Barclay Butera), Schumacher, Quadrille and China Seas.

If you are into fabric, you do not want to miss this place! You really have to visit in person, the owner indicated she doesn’t have time to take calls and handle shipping for one-off requests. But, if you are near Baltimore, it is well worth the visit.

5. Chartreuse & Co.

This company operates a monthly tag sale out of three old barns in Buckeystown, MD. It is about an hour north of the DC metro area. They offer comfortably chic architectural salvage, fine home fragrance and linens, garden, vintage and new home furnishings and accessories. They also offer a huge selection of vintage & antique furniture.

The monthly sale is set up with various stalls for vendors and the prices, in my opinion, are generally very reasonable. This is a great spot to find spiffed up flea market finds and one-of-a kind home accessories. If you are a do-it-yourself-er, they offer a barn full of estate/garage sale furniture that is waiting for some TLC.

6. Maddie G Designs

I would be remiss if I did not mention my own venture, a buying service offering trade only products for a fraction of retail cost. This business started out of my desire to furnish my own home. I came across many “trade only” items I’d see in magazines and blogs and did not have a way to purchase them without hiring a designer. I called a few local ones and none had the time, or interest, to help me with these one-off purchases.

After deciding to leave the corporate world to stay at home and raise my daughter, I decided to put my business skills (I’m a CPA who worked in private equity fund management for many years) to work and create a business out of what I saw as an opportunity. The response has been great, and my customers seem to like the personalized service and the low prices.

I also purchase from non-trade only vendors (think Worlds Away, Bungalow 5, Aiden Gray and some of the companies who supply the large design catalogs). Because my pricing is low, I am prohibited from listing prices on my site….but if you ever want a quote or just have a question about whether or not I can source from a particular vendor, please do not hesitate to email me (

So, there you have it….some of my favorite sources. I also shop eBay and Etsy a fair bit and enjoy finding a bargain. After two years in the house of my dreams here in Northern Virginia—where I’ve just starting to scratch the surface of my decorating, I’ve just learned that we will be moving to Dallas later this year for my husband’s work. So, I am sure to have a lot more of my decorating ideas and finds on my blog as I settle into a new home and start the process of decorating once again. It is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time! Thanks again to Averill for including me in this series. I’ve learned a ton from these posts and am happy to have been able to participate.

Next Week's Guest Blogger: Emily from Emily A. Clark.


The Shiny Pebble said...

Averill, this is such an awesome series. I will have to catch up on all your other posts as well. Hope you are having an awesome week! Let's pray that it rains around here soon.

Pigtown*Design said...

Excellent! You do have to go to DeBois to see and believe! The best thing for DC area readers is that it's two minutes off I-95 North!

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

Great post from Susie! I'm definitely going to keep her in mind when I fall in love with yet another trade-only goodie. :)

Jeanette {A Passion for Home} said...

I'm excited to read Susie's post. I also live in No VA and have yet to visit any of these retailers. Maddie G Designs is a great resource and am currently working on an order with Susie, whose professionalism and friendly demeanor I enjoy.

Nichole@40daysof said...

Loved reading this post and finding out more about Maddie G. Really excited that you will be moving to my neck of the woods. Can't wait to hear about all the great places you find around here.

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

More fabulous resources, I love this series. I'm getting nervous, isn't my date coming up?! I have to start thinking about it! :) Janell

Unknown said...

Love Susie's blog, and her whole business concept! Oh, and there is that stunning bookcase again, so great! Such a fun series!

Marija said...

Great job, Susie! Now I know I really need to get to DC or No. VA, like asap!

Susie @ Maddie G Designs said...

Thanks for including me Averill. It was fun.

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

Loving these posts and all these wonderful shopping ideas!

Jami said...

I love these posts! So helpful and full of great ideas! Have a great weekend! -Jami

Kathysue said...

Another great post Averill, I am so glad you started this series, it is a wealth of information. Also thank you for stopping by my blog. Glad you like going through the thinking process of Little Sweeties home design. I am having fun doing something totally different than my style. It is so young, bright and fresh, fun project. She painted so that will be the next post. It is Bright and Bold for sure!! Happy Friday sweet friend,Kathysue

Couture Carrie said...

Gorgeous guest post!
These shops all look and sound fantastic!

Have a fab weekend, darling Averill!


Pauline Wiles said...

Great to discover Maddie G! I get very irritated to see something nice in a magazine, inevitably tagged as 'trade only'. Delighted that you saw that opening and took it!

Kelle Dame said...

Thanks for the resources! When is WI going to get with it! I knew we should have stayed in IL!! I go through fabric withdrawals up here!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Susie, great round up of resources!

Greenfront is a realy good one. Miss that they used to be local in N.Va. just a few short years ago!!!

Christy said...

Fabulous tips - and I love that I live near enough to some of these to actually visit. Great guest, and great series Averill!

Bathroom Vanities said...

Really great blog site! This is a very comprehensive reference for those looking for quality reviews on home improvement products and interior designing. Please include tips on which decorations are best for a particular personality of a homeowner. thanks.:)

dining room tables said...

What I love in all the stuff that you post is the round wooden table. It is going to be perfect in my new summer house. It will definitely fit the whole house.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails