Madeleine Smith calls Greensboro, NC home once again. In 2006, she founded her company, Madeleine Smith Interiors, LLC, in New Bern, NC after almost a decade of working with major fabric houses and top designers in the southeast. Having grown up in the south under the influence of master designers, such as Otto Zenke and Dan Carithers, her passion for interiors was awakened.
“Good design is so much more than a pretty picture or Instagram post,” says Madeleine. She strives to combine her clients’ personal style with a sense of functionality and a good dose of beauty and comfort. She understands that a space needs to be practical for the people who live there, but by no means should style and elegance be sacrificed. While mixing antique pieces with contemporary lighting, art, and accessories, Madeleine Smith creates a sophisticated look. She sees each project as an opportunity and a challenge, where the reward lies in achieving all of the above.
While Madeleine attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she spent most of her summers in Atlanta, working for top designers. Smith says, “Atlanta is where I really learned a lot about the industry and forged relationships with antique dealers and showrooms in the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC).” After graduation, she moved to Atlanta and began her career with the renowned fabric house Scalamandré. “This was the decade when anything silk was king, and velvets, lampas, and brocades could do no wrong,” says Smith. Scalamandré was her introduction to the “good stuff,” and thus began her love for textiles and her lifelong battle with wanting to start at the top with those desirable materials on every project. Working in that showroom also offered Smith the opportunity to establish relationships with designers all over Atlanta and the southeast.
In 2006, Smith ventured to the eastern part of North Carolina and ended up in New Bern, where she started her own design firm. Madeleine says, “this would not have been possible or successful without the amazing teams I trained under over the years who always graciously allowed me to lean on them with any questions that I had.”
Over her career, Madeleine has developed her own personal style, which reflects a marriage of timelessness and the classics with more modern and transitional design elements. “Here I find the ‘sweet spot’ for the way most people really want to live today – traditional with a twist,” she says. Her influences come from travel, nature, and from many of the “greats,” in which she refers to Madeleine Castaing, Billy Baldwin, Elsie de Wolfe, and Dan Carithers. She also finds influences from current day designers, such as Miles Redd and Suzanne Kasler.
With a resume full of experience, and tastes that have evolved over her career, Madeleine has her list of tried and true materials she defers to on the job. These materials include: Stark Carpet sisal layered with antique Oushaks from Moattar Ltd., anything gilt, lucite or marble, geometric and grasscloth wallpapers, metallic or lacquered ceilings, upholstery with dressmakers details, Stark’s Antelope carpet (which is durable and never gets old), and last but not least, good antiques. Caroline Faison Antiques, located in Greensboro, is one of her go-to shops, as well as Foxglove and The Stalls in Atlanta. “Vintage finds are unparalleled at Dalton Bain and Interiors Market in Atlanta.”
Current day, Madeleine is a busy mom raising two children and slowly growing her business back to where it was before she decided to stay at home. She never stopped designing in that time, but she did have to say no to potential clients more than she would have liked to. She did not want to miss out on the important moments in those early years with her kids. “Today, I feel an enormous sense of gratitude to have the opportunity to do both,” says Madeleine. Designer + Mom, Madeleine can do it all while exuding a timeless chic.
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