Recently, Jason Oliver Nixon shared a few thoughts with us about bold living and Madcap Cottage, the design firm he and partner John Loecke founded.
KC: If you had to sum up your design philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?
Madcap Cottage is all about being fun and fearless. It’s about bringing color, pattern and detail into your life, taking your home and making it experiential. You walk in and you say “wow.”
KC: What are you working on now that has you really inspired?
John and I are launching a line of private label pillows at High Point, and this is our first foray into product (hopefully one of many). Lots of bright, unexpected patterns made in America. It’s a great way to add a heightened level of excitement and take a sofa from boring to brilliant.
KC: Where do you draw inspiration from mainly – nature, architecture, travel, form, history, other cultures, emotions or another area altogether?
We are all of the above. It’s blending our passion for history, fashion and celebrity culture. It can be about a trip to Russia or Milwaukee, or having a hot dog on the corner of New York. It’s about taking all of those life experiences and stirring them together. Good designs shouldn’t be one thing from head to toe; it’s about mixing pieces.
KC: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I would run a small inn on the coast of Maine with amazing gardens and an incredible interior. I would be the perfect host that would have great cocktail parties at night and create an experience that would make guests say, “I had the most wonderful country house experience.”
KC: Who is the boldest person you know? Why?
My parents. They’re some of the first members of their families to go to college, and my mom went on to get her Ph.D. in London. They read every newspaper, every magazine, travel everywhere and are more engaging and more exciting than anyone I know. When I was growing up, they had dinner parties with authors and artists and professors. My parents live without prejudice and believe every day should be fun.
I grew up in northern California, and I remember one season was particularly rainy. I believe it was dubbed El Nino. I love the rain and always have.
I also remember the snails. My goodness! Every morning… before school, marching out the front door, through my mom’s English garden, and across the brick path to jump into our neighbor’s carpool… there were hundreds of snails on the wet dewey pathway.
My goal each morning was to miss every snail. I diligently tiptoed between their paths and focused my eyes as intently as possible upon the dim glassy bricks.
Unfortunately, there were so many snails, and the brick was so slick and mirrored that snails were squished. I remember hearing the crack and crunch, such a unique sound, and feeling as if my own heart was crushed. Any snail I accidentally stomped was excruciating, and I would vow that the next day would be better.
Lately, there have been a few snails trailing across my neighborhood sidewalk in the particular area I walk Sweetie. It seems as if they are the same exact snails on a very slow and timeless journey. For weeks now I carefully tread around them, guiding my dog away.
The other night, I saw one of the lonesome snails and remembered my childhood. I walked past him, strolling in the crisp night air. Then, only a few minutes later, squish. My mind had wandered into to-dos, “the next,” and I forgot about the snail. I stood staring at the tragic loss, smushed across the pavement just like the sad snails from the rainy days leaving for elementary school. Except this time, it was a careless, thoughtless squish.
This snail… reminded me… of many things. Perspective being one.