Sage & Madison, the brainchild of local entrepreneur Chris Coffee, is a charming and quaint retreat in Sag Harbor village that pays homage to the past while looking toward the future. The historical property encompasses chic guest suites for short stays and a high-end gift shop meets coffee spot, which is curated with finds from far and wide. The Daily caught up with the man behind the magic over a cup of his favorite Mariage Frères tea to get the lowdown.
Tell us where it all began!
I hail from the Midwest. I’m from Michigan. I was a professional ballet dancer; during my career, I performed with the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera. Then I went into fashion, and produced Heatherette’s New York Fashion Week shows, choreographing and staging the ballet and the dance at the beginning of many of their famous shows. I opened up Gotham Beauty Lounge overlooking Bryant Park, where we did a lot of editorial and a lot of celebrities. It led me to create my own cosmetics line, Coffeeface™.
What first drew you to Sag Harbor?
I have a house in Sag and have been coming out here for many years. The town still has a quaint feel; it hasn’t been taken over by huge brands. Sag has a tradition of artists and writers coming out here, too. Hurd Hatfield, the star of The Picture of Dorian Gray, lived in the town for many years.
How did Sage & Madison come to be?
I have a passion for travel and unique things. Being an artist, I find beauty in old things, and I think the quality and creativity in things from history is unrivaled. With everything going on in the past year, I wanted to create a brand that was historical in nature and honored the neighborhood, while taking a new and fresh approach. The property was built in 1797. I kept walking by, and it was closed to the public. I felt the need to open it, and I wanted to pay homage to the past owners and bring together local and artisanal goods.The name, of course, is inspired by the cross streets.
What can visitors expect?
There’s nothing in Sag like it, where you can have a cup of high-end tea and relax and talk to a friend. It’s a unique and transporting experience on an historical property, whether you’re here for a short-term stay or to enjoy locally made scones and a coffee in the garden. Tell us about The Barn. It’s a shop to buy hostess gifts, special pieces of furniture, and unique finds. It’s very well-curated. We have fresh flowers, local honey and pies, and cards with original art. Most things, like our sweatshirts and pet toys, are made in the area. We have a lot of highend European imports, such as Mariage Frères tea, Johnstons of Elgin cashmere, and Simone Crestani’s Italian blown glass. We also stock Les Indiennes linens from the Hudson Valley—Anna Wintour is a fan!
What has the response been like in the community?
It’s been great; I’m a little overwhelmed! But it’s been a positive experience. In a time of need, how can you not love that we carry cashmere, chocolate, and tea? All things that are cozy and make you feel warm inside! But we do it with a unique and artisanal approach. What are the rooms in the property like? When I decorated the house, I wanted to mix eclectic Sag Harbor style with fresh gardenia. Green is a happy color, and I felt it was important to make this experience a happy one. Ivy is our logo because there’s ivy all over the property, so you’ll see lots of ivy accents. We have Ralph Lauren bedding, Shifman luxury mattresses, SFERRA bath towels, Nespresso coffee makers, wine fridges, and amenities like cable TV, Internet, irons, and safes. We also have beautiful, apothecary-style Acqua dell’Elba soaps and shampoo. It’s a place you want to stay to experience all Sag Harbor has to offer; we’re so close to everything, but a step away, which makes things peaceful.
Can you tell us about the clientele?
Everyone has been by, including Mariska Hargitay, Don Lemon, Candace Bushnell, Lisa Perry, Cristina Cuomo, and Anne Keating, who did PR for Bloomingdale’s. Do you have summer programming coming up? There will be a slew of fun store events that we host in the summer, such as some art-related things with local artists and artisans, and events with some of the brands we cover. We’re big into outdoor entertaining, floral, and gardening; we’re all about everything that makes you happy in life—plants, pottery, and tea!
What does a perfect day in Sag Harbor look like for you?
Well, I’d wake up…and stroll down to Sage & Madison and get myself some Sey coffee. It’s a small village, and it’s important that we support one another, so I go to all the other stores to shop. Some of my favorites are Joey Wölffer, Ryland Life Equipment, and In Home—I think they all have great stuff. Some of my favorite places for food are DOPO La Spiaggia and Il Cappuccino. I also like going to Tutto il Giorno [the restaurant of Gabby Karan de Felice, daughter of Donna Karan] for a glass of wine and some appetizers.
Before we go, tell us about your cosmetics line, Coffeeface™?
I launched it in March. I got into it from my relationships within fashion. It’s the first three-inone pad of its kind—an exfoliator on one side and a serum on the other. It’s super COVID-friendly because it’s individually wrapped, and it has manuka honey in it, so it’s antibacterial. It’s perfect for makeup prep and for travel. Cara Delevingne just posted about us on Instagram, and Kelly Osbourne and Lydia Hearst are fans. We sell it in the store and online at coffeeface.com!