Dishing with Dana ~ Interview with Jason Oliver Nixon

Madcap Cottage let’s dish!

We’re honored to welcome Jason Oliver Nixon, one of the two dynamic gents behind Madcap Cottage, interior design firm and lifestyle lexicon.

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Dana Helms: Can you tell us about how you got started doing what you’re doing now?

Jason and JohnJason Oliver Nixon: John Loecke and I, the Madcap Cottage duo, both come from publishing.  As the former editor in chief and editorial director of Gotham, Hamptons, Los Angeles Confidential and Aspen Peak magazines, I’ve always been excited by the worlds of design, luxury, and glamour. When I was a six-year-old growing up in Florida, I informed my mother that I would one day own the Four Seasons restaurant in New York or perhaps marry my heroine, Eloise, and help rule the roost at The Plaza hotel.

Fast-forward several years and after working for such publications Condé Nast Traveler magazine and Fodor’s Travel Guides and serving as a producer at E! Entertainment and the Food Network, I teamed up with my partner John Loecke to focus on yet another of my passions, interior design. Voila! Madcap Cottage.

DD: What do you love most about what you do?

JN: John and I literally wake up with a smile on our face every day and feel so lucky to be part of the design world. We love every element of design, from client projects to product development and building a community through social media and networking. We get to meet amazing people and see amazing things – what could be better than that?

DD: What’s the proudest moment of your career and is there a project that you think of as your absolute best?

Madcap Cottage Duo's dining roomJN: Our Brooklyn home was pretty darn great and we were lucky enough to get it published globally—and often. If I had a drink every time I saw our dining room published, I would be drunk off my ass. That room ran everywhere. We are lucky gents indeed. We were also named Rising Stars by the IFDA recently and our bedding line that will debut on HSN in August is amazing. We designed every element of the collection with our watercolor paints.

DD: Who/What inspires you?

JN: We don’t believe in trends. We’re a little Auntie Mame and a helluva lot of Carmen Miranda in one of those Busby Berkeley scenes when La Miranda wore oodles of bananas upon her head. Mae West tops our list, too, for her saucy quotations and throw-care-to-the-wind outlook on life. And any of the great Anglo-American designers—such as Nancy Lancaster—sends us reeling into outer space. Colefax & Fowler is simply our idea of heaven.

DD: Has social media changed how you do business? For the better or worse?

JN: Social media has been huge for our business. We have an engaged, excited community of design enthusiasts following us—and whom we follow—and we love the dialogue and rapport. More than a few business opportunities have come out of our social media relationships. I’m tired of blogs so we’re merging our blog and website to create a hybrid site with ever-changing editorial component smack on the home page.

DD: What advice do you have for others struggling with social media?

jason designsJN: The Madcap Cottage gents are all about building an engaged, enthused community and social media perfectly dovetails with that goal. We love to demystify design, speaking to the design community and design enthusiasts alike, and social media is the perfect platform. Our advice? Have a point of view and tell an engaging story. Read vintage design books and know your history, not just the shock of the new. And be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way.

DD: Can you tell us about what frustrates you about your career or the industry you’re in?

JN: We don’t believe in challenges or frustrations, we believe in making lemonade from lemons (with a jigger of vodka, natch). We’re currently rethinking our social media and blog strategy and tweaking our brand perspective to make it more holistic and all encompassing. We have our eyes firmly set on world domination. Tra-la-la! Here we come.

DD: What do you love most about your home/life/family?

breakfast roomJN: We’ve just moved from Brooklyn, New York to High Point, North Carolina and cannot wait to be part of HP’s evolution. We have three dogs—Jasper, Weenie, and Amy Petunia—and they’re excited for the move, too. They like long walks through High Point’s Emerywood neighborhood to Krispy Kreme and Tipsy’z Tavern. Get ready for long Sunday lunches with lots of rose wine and themed movies—perhaps a run of Douglas Sirk or Rosalind Russell treasures (watching “The Trouble with Angels” with a Sidecar on the side is just so right). Our house is going to evoke one of the great British country houses done up by the likes of Nancy Lancaster. Think lots of scenic wallpapers and fabulous trims. We’re calling our new pad, House of Bedlam. On another note:, we’re planning a month-long trip to Japan and hope to spend the summer at Madcap Cottage, our 1840s-era former schoolhouse in New York’s Catskill mountains.

DD: What’s the best advice you can give to someone following your career path?

Jason with his dogsJN: To quote Miss Eleanor Lavish, a lady novelist, in A Room with A View, “One must always be wide open.” Look for inspiration in everything, whether that’s an opera in Vienna or a flea market in Florida or a Cracker Barrel in West Virginia. John and I are game for anything, the more Madcap the project, the better. For example, we designed an Asian-themed restaurant in the Hamptons several years ago, and we loved the project because it was truly mixing high and low… We paired bespoke furnishings with Asian trinkets that we collected at the Pearl River department store in New York City. The result was magical and a lot of fun.

Do you have a social media story to share? We’d love to hear it – on our blog or on social media, of course. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and let’s continue the conversation.

About Dana Helms

Dana Helms ~ @theMrsHelmsWhen someone says social butterfly, they’re likely referring to Dana Helms. With her ability to wander through conversations online as if she’s hosting a cocktail party, Dana brings awareness and excitement to the social media party. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Want more Madcap Cottage?

Visit Jason’s Jet Set blog. Get Madcap and Marvelous at MadCapCottage.com and DemystifyingDesign.com or connect with Jason on social media:

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