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Date published: February 02 2018

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Grey and beige run rampant like a boring dinner conversation that never ends

Interiors icon Dorothy Draper once quipped, ‘Banish the beige!’ And we couldn’t agree more. Our firm is known for its passion for prints and pattern, and it’s our goal to bring that spirit of fun and verve to the world.

Think back some 30 years. Design books of that period featured nary a splash of beige nor a hint of grey - pattern truly ruled the roost. Granted, there were pattern and prints missteps that took place within that rich narrative, such as the avocado-green and burnt orange kitchens that were popular in my 1970s-era youth. But floral patterned sofas, chintz-wrapped armchairs and whimsically wallpapered rooms were common in these books, and, indeed, interior design was interesting, arresting, and decidedly personal.

Today, grey and beige run rampant, not unlike a boring dinner conversation that never seems to end. Snooze, snore, sigh. Or a cough that you can’t shake that requires antibiotics so you can’t drink either. What fun is that?

But the pendulum swings, swings, swings and history repeats itself. A very chic toile-wrapped nut, natch-pattern is coming back. And in a big, bold way.

To quote the Wall Street Journal, ‘After a decade of stark, formulaic interiors, design is giving way to maximalism - a luxurious riot of colour and pattern.’ And since the Madcaps live in the South, we are allowed to say, Thank you, Jesus.

Look at the landscape. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is sending models down the runways clad in needlepoint tigers, sequin-bedecked pineapples, and tempestuous tulips cultivated beside rampant roses. Hilton Hotels showcases wallpaper in their latest outposts, including at their stylish Brooklyn hostelry just off hip Smith Street that nods to the history of the nearby Navy yard.

Ninety-something style-setter Iris Apfel is all the rage, patterned accessories from purveyors such as Happy Socks are big, and shelter magazines are pushing florals, stripes, animal prints, and scenics in their glossy pages. Sister Parish did a T-shirt line with H&M, the 80s are having a resurgence, and chintz in the new pink.

But these are not necessarily the blowsy patterns that we remember from the 1960s or the 1980s; these are fresh florals and other marvelous motifs that have been shaken up and recast.
Remade, remixed, remodeled.

Think fresh and inviting. Unique. Individual. And dare we sound like millennials and say, Authentic.

Of course, the age of beige and grey isn’t over and probably never will end. Belgian linen hopped the pond and, like an invasive plant, has put down deep roots. Just step inside any Restoration Hardware outpost to get your fix of what La Draper once called ‘gravy colours.’ But do take the pattern plunge and introduce some prints into your life: Switch out the pillows
on that tired sofa for something fun, or mix up your bedding and layer-in floral pillows. Have fun with your tablescape, and change out window treatments.

Don’t spend your life in a gravy boat. Neutral is so milquetoast. As we like to tell our clients; if you want to be neutral, move to Switzerland.

Order a copy of Madcap Cottage’s latest book Prints Charming then channel a souped-up, completely new Esther Williams as you dive into this brave new world. 

Author: Jason Nixon

Company: Madcap Cottage

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