The types of artists and designers that I truly enjoy the most are the ones that create things you don’t see with your two eyes. J.K. Rowling, Lisa Frank, Alex Katz, Betsey Johnson. And Mackenzie Childs.
Mackenzie Childs creates whimsical ceramics, furniture and household items. All pieces are created and painted by hand in one of several trademark patterns (the most famous being black and white checks).
The headquarters, store and inspirational-styled Victorian farmhouse are located on what used to be an old dairy farm in Aurora, NY and open to visitors. While the men in our family were headed to the PGA golf tournament, my mom and I decided to have a girls day out and visit Mackenzie Childs.
There is a lovely shop full of everything you can imagine – candlesticks, to rugs, to champagne glasses, to patio furniture. The only downfall of Mackenzie Childs – it is not cheap. But still fun to poke around.
In a small theater off the shop is a 20 minute video where you can learn all about the ceramic molding, firing and glazing process. There is also a massive and intricately decorated dollhouse – my eight-year-old self was in heaven.
Visitors aren’t able to tour the work area – where all the pottery is molded, fired and glazed. But, we were able to peek through a few windows at the shelves full of works in progress!
There is a beautiful courtyard you can sit at and enjoy. Sadly it was a misty, rainy day, so we were unable to linger in it very much that day.
The free Farmhouse tour is given hourly and is quite a treat. Have you ever been to one of those home expo tours and go through beautifully styled homes?
Well, it was like that! Except Mackenzie-Childs-esque – which you’ll see is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
We had to wear protective booties because of the rain.
The style is not exactly how I’d decorate my own home, but I love how the brand beats to it’s own crazy colorful drum and doesn’t look back.
There are small details all over the house – from funky reading glasses perched on open books, to classical painting that have been “modified” with crazy black and white checked pants and flowers.
How adorable is this kitchen? I love the pink knobs.
I feel like I only might bake cupcake and french toast though if this was my kitchen. It doesn’t exactly scream grilled cheese or stir-fry to me.
Mackenzie Childs style waffles between eccentrically funky and decidedly feminine.
How fun is that chair? I could actually see something like that in my house.
Small details like beautiful bottles of soap, large floral print wallpapers and decorative vintage handkerchiefs filled the hallways.
But the tiles in the bathrooms were some of my very favorite features!
Hunter Boots even offers a Mackenzie Childs boot!
The premises are beautiful and on Cayuga Lake – complete with gardens, ponds, and farm animals.
I had to take a picture of this – even the sawhorses in one of the outbuildings are “on-brand” with the classic checks!
We were there a week after their annual sale – which is pandemonium with people traveling from all over the country. Women camp out on air mattresses and wristband access is required to get into the tent to score goods for up to 80% off! About 15,000 people come to the annual sale event – yowza. I’m not sure I am even crazy enough for that.
After our farmhouse tour, we headed into the tiny town of Aurora (population 722 people!) and stopped in a few shops and had (a delicious) lunch at the Aurora Inn – a beautiful building in the center of town.
The restaurant overlooks Lake Cayuga, and the grounds are right at water-level.
(It would be a great place for a wedding – if anyone is looking!)
The town of Aurora and the Mackenzie Childs farmhouse are around 1-1.5 hours from Rochester and Syracuse and definitely worth a day trip! While it would have been nice to stroll the property in nicer weather, I definitely walked away inspired!
While Richard and Victoria Mackenzie Childs (the artists who started the brand) no longer own the company, they also restored another old home on Cayuga Lake. You can see it on one of my favorite websites – Hooked on Houses!
Have you heard of Mackenzie Childs before? What do you think of the crazy and whimsical patterns?
Thanks for stopping by! : ) Kat