Maitland-Smith expansion strategy extends its traditional design aesthetic

Maitland-Smith’s planned acquisition of Scarborough House continues a strategy to expand its product portfolio with the designs of key brands, according to the company.

Scarborough House designs are known for hand carving and inlays. This dresser, featuring parquetry, is hand planed and distressed.

Last year, for example, the company purchased the intellectual property for various Marge Carson case goods collections produced in Asia. The opportunity arose after Marge Carson dropped those products to focus on developing a case goods line out of Mexico, alongside its upholstery production in that country.

Thus, while the Marge Carson brand continues with Mexican-sourced upholstery and case goods, Maitland-Smith’s line has broadened to include the Marge Carson designs, sold under the Maitland-Smith name. The company started with a launch of four dining sets and a few occasional groups last fall and added bedroom and more dining in April.

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“We wanted to expand that, and it was very well-received by our customers,” said Federico Contigiani, general manager of Maitland-Smith, noting that the product is in stock in one finish and/or fabric, “which is very different from what (Marge Carson CEO) Jim LaBarge and Marge Carson used to do. We are streamlining the process where the product is stocked and shipped very quickly. It is working very well for us.”

Produced in Indonesia and the Philippines, the former Marge Carson wood collections add a largely traditional aesthetic to the line.

This Scarborough House dining table is made of crotch mahogany and walnut with brass casters.

The same can be said for the Scarborough House line, which is a mix of classic British, rustic European and 18th-century French designs featuring marquetry, gilded carvings and other exotic inlays. Contigiani said the acquisition, to be completed by June 1, will help establish Maitland-Smith as a good resource for high-quality, traditional reproduction pieces.

“We see traditional is still a category that works for a lot of customers,” Contigiani told Home News Now. “It works for a lot of customers and a lot of projects, but is hard to find options (in the marketplace) … What (Scarborough House owner) Jonathan Buxton makes with crotch mahogany, nobody else does. We love the look of what he is developing in Asia.”

The line will continue to be produced in Buxton’s factory in the Cebu,  Philippines, which Contigiani described as “unbelievable.”

“He makes the best quality product that I have seen out of the Philippines … What he does is amazing,” he said.

“We want to work together,” Contigiani added. “I want him to still be involved and invested in the brand he created 12 years ago.”

As with the acquired Marge Carson product, the new line will be branded as Maitland-Smith, and is expected to compliment the current Maitland-Smith line, which is evolving into transitional and contemporary designs sourced in India, Vietnam and China, as well as Italy, Spain and France, to name several key countries.

“When customers need something traditional, I want them to think of Maitland-Smith,” Contigiani said.

In time for the fall High Point Market, the line will be shown in a former Scarborough House showroom on the first floor of 200 Steele  that will now bear the Maitland-Smith name. A separate Maitland-Smith showroom will remain on the third floor of the same building.

Michael Uvanni of Michael J. Uvanni Interiors called the purchase a “really good move for Maitland-Smith.

“Scarborough House does a great job, and I think their quality is beautiful and the look is good,” he said, noting that their mix of product doesn’t pigeonhole the company into any particular design aesthetic. “I like the quality and I always buy it.”

He added that the move also makes sense as each company has its own unique identity.

“I just think it’s a great addition. They definitely aren’t copies of each other,” he said, noting that Scarborough House has collections and standalone pieces with unique details seen in the tops and bases of tables, for example. “The work is exquisite. These are the things that when you point it out to a client, help sell it.”

“I like Maitland-Smith and I like Scarborough House,” he added. “I think this is a super good marriage.”

Maitland-Smith is a division of Century and Hickory Chair parent Rock House Farm in Hickory, North Carolina.

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