CREATIVE MINDS: MADCAP COTTAGE’S JOHN LOECKE AND JASON OLIVER NIXON
FROM HIGH POINT TO THE WORLD!
Stepping into the mad, mad, madcap world of John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon is like falling down the rabbit hole into a technicolor-ed design fantasy. Painted butterflies, Japanese paper lanterns and pachyderms donning top hats delightfully coexist with a treasure trove of vintage finds in their charming High Point design laboratory. Greeted by a glittery disco ball and my favorite dance tunes, I felt instantly at home as I entered their curated cabinet of curiosities. This creative dynamic duo only arrived in High Point eight short months ago, yet they have already coerced the community of the “Furniture Capital of the World” to dream big.
Why High Point?
After being in New York for so many years, we were ready for a change. We had been coming to High Point Market for almost 20 years and had gotten to know so many wonderful and welcoming folks in the High Point community. The size, the opportunities, and the untapped potential felt just right. Plus, the design talent is off the charts: We can make and tweak any piece of furniture in ways that we couldn’t do anywhere else in the US.
What has surprised you the most about High Point since your arrival last spring?
The more we dig beyond the surface of High Point, the more pleasant surprises we discover…. From tucked-away restaurants to amazing new friends to incredible design resources.
What are you most proud of in High Point?
The talent pool that is right here in our backyard. The artisans, craftsmen, and furniture makers are all the best in country. We can have anything in our imagination fabricated right here. And we have a BIG imagination.
What would you like to see changed in High Point?
The city needs to play off of the attention market brings to our community make it a year-round destination for the design industry. We need a design center here that speaks to the trade and to the public. Plus, we need a marketing plan and brand strategy.
How on earth do you juggle your thriving business including various locations, licensing agreements and design business?
We work with amazing people and rarely sit still (AUTHOR’S NOTE: ..AND an unlimited supply of boundless energy and creative ideas)
When did you know you wanted to pursue design as a career and how did you get started?
We grew up in the magazine industry working independently for several publications. We were styling photo shoots and working on our own houses and then it turned into working for friends who liked our taste.
What is your creative process?
We consider ourselves storytellers and are always asking who and why when designing a space. We travel constantly and are always observing. We like to stay true to the history of a place, but we are all also about pushing the boundaries. Vintage movies and design books are another vital source of inspiration. We think of ourselves as “Paul Smith meets Cath Kidston with a spirited dash of Auntie Mame and Bunny Mellon.” We are all about finding life’s special moments and figuring out how to make them more spectacular.
What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?
A publicist friend asked us to design her Southampton house that ended up being an 8-page spread in O at Home, the offshoot of the Oprah magazine.
Tell us about your current work.
We are fortunate enough to be working on our own House of Bedlam renovation in High Point, a Manhattan apartment, a London flat, and a home in Florida.
Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect from Madcap Cottage in the future?
We think of Madcap Cottage as a lifestyle brand that we want to share with the world. Of course, we would love to be big in Japan.
What do you want to be remembered for?
For our spark and energy and not taking ourselves or design too seriously. We want clients to walk away thinking “wasn’t that fun?”—whether that was working on a design project or coming into our shop or hearing us do a presentation at a conference.
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Be passionate about everything you do, be interested, and be engaging.
Whose work do you admire?
Robert Kime, Mario Buatta, Oliver Messel, Dorothy Draper, Sister Parish, Nancy Lancaster, and John Fowler.
Who would be your dream client and why?
We would love to reinvent a chain hotel to make the whole experience more enjoyable, memorable, and special. From the overall design to the check-in experience to the amenities. A hotel should have a good storyline.
What is your dream vacation?
India… the color and light are mesmerizing. Every moment is an adventure and you never know where the day will take you or what will happen next… you may stumble upon the most glorious architecture with unexpected color combinations or a monkey could steal your breakfast …you just never know
What is your secret vice?
Jason Oliver- L.L. Bean Boat & Tote bags… I am obsessed with a great tote bag!
What is your idea of bliss?
Watching old movies like “My Man Godfrey” or “Auntie Mame” with a glass of wine in our Madcap Cottage for HSN-enveloped bed surrounded our dogs, Jasper, Weenie, and Amy Petunia.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor (“It brings out our competitive side!”) or Carmen Miranda’s “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat” from the film “The Gang’s All Here.”
What do you collect?
We have a revolving tablescape on our cocktail table of 1930s-era miniature British lead garden figures that includes plants and gardens. Our “garden” is always evolving based on what we find upon our travels.
What is your favorite color?
Jason Oliver- Eau de Nil
Favorite design trick?
Jason Oliver-A good cabana stripe always transports me to Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Capri, or any other Slim Aarons-ish setting.
UPCOMING MADCAP EVENTS
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
“Next Stop, Wallpaper Wonderland!”
Madcap Cottage~ 128 Church Avenue, High Point, NC
Free and fabulous! Sip wine, learn about the wonders of wallpaper, and shop our Valentine’s Day wares. Gifts galore… Join the fun!
To register, please click here.
FEBRUARY 25, 2015
ADAC Digital Day: “From Rogue to Vogue”
Atlanta Decorative Arts Center~351 Peachtree Hills Avenue Atlanta , GA
In conjunction with the 2015 Design Bloggers Conference, ADAC invites you to a series of complimentary educational programming. Designed to inspire and develop your brand in the world of digital media while you gain practical advice from interior designers, bloggers, media innovators and magazine editors.
Hear from John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage on how two kids from Iowa and Florida followed a circuitous path—from magazines to television and with a few stop-offs along the way (temping!, cooking school!)—and emerged as interior designers with a line of products and a star turn on HSN. And how they got there. From building a brand to the role of social media and the power of the bespoke and unique in that process, the Madcap Cottage gents will discuss their fun, color-filled, and whimsical journey.
To register, please click here.