New look, new outlook
July 29, 2021
In the 20-plus years that Tammy Busce has worked for MacKenzie-Childs, she’s painted a lot of furniture. Hundreds of pieces, she thinks, from armoires to benches to tables of every description.
Her personal favorite? The playful and colorful Freckle Fish Chair, which she swears she can paint with her eyes closed.
Recently, Tammy, who is our lead furniture decorator, completed her biggest project yet—a mural of our farm’s landscape in the dining room of our historic Farmhouse. The crown jewel of our 65-acre estate, the Farmhouse has long been the most visible link to our past, dating to the 1860s, when the property was a working dairy farm. Now, with a lighter and brighter dining room and the completion of several other renovations, this elegant Second Empire structure hints at our future, too.
For years, the room and its draperies were a deep shade of mauve. The first step in its makeover was to prime the walls and paint them a fresh coat of linen white. Then, Tammy stepped in and added her mural, drawing inspiration from the views the room offers.
Gaze out of the room’s two front windows, looking westward toward Cayuga Lake, and Tammy’s mural follows that same horizon with painted trees dotting the rolling landscape. Look north, through the bay window, and the wall just to the right shows our studio, complete with the iconic archway to the courtyard garden. Finally, on the wall next to the library entrance, there’s a re-creation of our Chicken Palace.
“It’s a traditional MC-style landscape that is tone on tone,” says Tammy, who painted the mural over several weeks, using just two ivory hues—Shaded and Shadow. The difference between the tones is just as subtle as their names imply, with Shaded being just the tiniest bit richer and darker. But, by varying the amount of water mixed with the paint and the pressure applied to her brush, Tammy added layers of dimension and detail.
Incredibly, Tammy, who painted the mural almost entirely freehand, doesn’t have formal schooling in painting. What she does have is an obvious natural ability that she has nurtured since childhood and has expanded on since joining our company.
You might be wondering why we made such a dramatic change. Felicia Rocker, our assistant visuals manager and Farmhouse coordinator, says the refreshed room is part of a move to present our products in simplified settings, so they can speak for themselves. The same design aesthetic has been adopted in our on-site retail store, The Outlet, which opened in May.
“We are toning down our wall colors and fixture colors to really highlight the beauty in our products, and we thought that this lent itself nicely to the Farmhouse to highlight the Diorama Table,” Felicia says.
That table, long the room’s focal point, offers a bird’s-eye view of our bucolic setting. Says Felicia, “The landscape on the wall is a direct reflection of the Diorama Table. With all the other elements being so neutral, it allows the Diorama Table to sing. We anticipate the eye to draw to the center of the room and really appreciate the artistry that goes into making that table.”
Complementing the mural and table are new custom-made draperies and rug, plus the chairs are reupholstered in coordinating textural fabrics. Felicia thinks the changes will be especially beautiful when our holiday collections are on display, allowing them to shine even brighter.
We can’t wait to show the dining room and the other Farmhouse renovations to you. The exterior, which had been white, is now a welcoming sunny shade called Friendly Yellow, trimmed with olive green. Inside, there are playful pink stripes on the kitchen walls, new wallpaper in the laundry room and back upstairs hallway, and refinished hardwood floors throughout.
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