Chris Madden was an author and designer whose home furnishings were featured in collections at JCPenney and Bed Bath & Beyond. Died at a hospital in Vero Beach, Florida after taking a fall at home at the age of 73. Madden was known for her advocacy for making one’s home into a relaxing haven away from life’s stresses. This was inspired in part by her loss of her sister, who died by suicide, and Madden’s search for a calming space to grieve.
She repurposed a closet into her personal haven, and she wrote the popular 1997 book “A Room of Her Own” to encourage other women to create their own retreats. Madden became a home design and lifestyle guru in the book’s wake. She designed the Chris Madden collection for JCPenney, including furniture and housewares, which launched in 2004 as the store’s most successful home furnishings line to date.
She also had a line of throws and pillows at Bed Bath & Beyond. Madden published the magazines At Home with Chris Madden and Your Good Home, distributed by Women’s Day and Good Housekeeping, respectively. Madden was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), which affects the blood vessels and causes severe nosebleeds, in her 30s.
She became an advocate for the National Organization for Rare Disorders and a health care reform activist who fought for the Affordable Care Act. “I think you can’t do anything – take care of your family, succeed in your career, change the world – unless you take care of yourself first. The first thing a woman has to do is establish a place to feed her soul and refill the reservoir.” —from a 2008 interview for South Florida Sun-Sentinel