FEW HOME FURNISHINGS companies can provide instant pizzazz the way MacKenzie-Childs can. “We leave no surface untouched, ever,” Rebecca Proctor, the company’s creative director, once told me. So true.
While bits and pieces of the line have been available in the Washington area for many years, and of course there’s a mail-order catalogue, we finally have a shop devoted to it: a jewel-box townhouse just outside of Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley design center.
Every square inch of the space is lined and heaped and festooned with a dizzying array of cake stands and candlesticks, vases and stools and over-stuffed poufs. Even umbrellas and eyeglasses don’t escape the painter’s brush—the pieces are hand-painted in the company’s workshop in upstate New York.
Most incorporate the line’s black-and-white checkerboard leitmotif mixed with polka dots, paisleys, plaids and stripes. The upholstered furniture sports swooping curves, painted legs and, frequently, fabulous tassels.
If you wonder what being Alice in Wonderland really feels like, wander on in.
It’s difficult not to smile, hugely. It’s also hard to stop buying the stuff—but you really must. Drop a piece or two into a plain vanilla room and BOOM! Beyond that, you might pass out from the overstimulation—you can go nuts just looking at the pictures in the 103-page catalogue.
I personally find this stuff perfect for host/ess giving. A spatula with checkerboard handle is $30, a set of jolly canapé knives is $48. That’s the price of a bottle of something nice—but a gift that brings more permanent delight.
MacKenzie-Childs is at 1037 33rd Street NW, Washington DC 20007; phone 202-866-6565.