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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

Your home is a TEMPLE, and we want to be the high priests.

Archive for the ‘Before and After’ Category

Please Hold, Exciting Changes Afoot…

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Gang:

Demystifying Design is evolving, we are taking the blog to the next level… It’s going to be bigger, bolder, and brighter. So stay tuned! We will be back this spring with a fabulous and frisky new look.

In the meantime, take a look at our website, www.madcapcottage.com, or join the conversation with us on social media.

Tra-la-la!

 

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London Calling!

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Go, Go, Glamour!

Here's an image of our finished installation at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. All furniture is from Baker, and the fabulous wallpapers, pillows, and throw are from Thibaut. John and I want the Tony Duquette Abalone chandelier in our home, what a stunner!

Gang:

It’s been a while, and I apologize. John and I have a zillion projects going on, and while they are all fabulous they have dramatically cut into the amount of time that I have to blog. Hopefully, you follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and enjoy our mad, mad, mad, Madcap ride.

The Madcap Cottage gents are just back from a week in London where we designed an installation at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre entitled “A Celebration of Archive 2013: Design Encounters Between Old and New.” Wow, we were lucky boys to be asked to participate in this event. In fact, of the seven designers represented, we were the only Americans! Yahoo!

The purpose of the exhibit? Leading interior designers and international design houses come together for the first time to showcase the influence, beauty, and diversity of archives on past, present, and future of design. We partnered with our dear pals at Baker Furniture and Thibaut Design and used “glamour” through the lens of the Tony Duquette Collection as our theme. Our mission statement: “Float high above the Hollywood Hills in this plucked-fromthe-silver-screen sanctuary. Shimmering metallics, technicolor-hued textures, and whimsical opulence come together in cinematic splendor.”

Thank you to Robin Richter and Heather Wiroll at Baker, Stacy Senior and Cortney Wilkins at Thibaut, Becky Metcalfe at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, our London agent Alice Barrington-Wells of Carter Wells, the lovely staff at Baker Furniture Chelsea Harbour, and design goddess Arabella McNie who helped make our long-distance vision into a stunning reality!

Here’s a look at the project coming together. Remember that we did all of this via email and over the phone. Happily, there was no drama whatsoever!

Duquette-o-rama!

The fabulous Tony Duquette furniture for Baker arrives from the United States. The upholstered pieces had to be fire-proofed to hold up to British law.

Almost There!

The walls have been papered with a fabulous cork wall covering from Thibaut, and the furniture is in place. The electricity still wasn't working, and we needed to add one more piece of furniture to fill the space behind the Tony Duquette chairs. One day to opening!

Tube Time!

John and I jump on the Tube and head for Chelsea Harbour. We love the London Underground--it's so clean and the staff so helpful, unlike NYC.

Time to Tweak!

John and I visit the terrific team at the Baker Furniture showroom at Chelsea Harbour to tweak the display. We switched out a few props to mix it up a bit more. We loved this oversized white urn.

Takes Three to Tango!

John and I enjoy a glass of champagne at the opening night party with the dashing Nick Barrington-Wells, the husband of our London agent, Alice Barrington-Wells. Nick is the PR guru at London's Langham hotel just off Oxford Street.

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Scenes from a Showhouse!

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Breakfast Club!

Here's a "before" shot of the breakfast room at Adamsleigh, the historic home in High Point, NC that John and I transformed in partnership with Thibaut Design. The gentleman to John's right is Jerry, our fabulous North Carolina wallpaper hanger.

Gang:

As you know from reading our blog religiously, John and I were asked by Traditional Home magazine to team up with the fabulous folks at Thibaut Design and transform a roof at the Junior League of Greensboro, NC showhouse this past spring. The Madcap Cottage gents had a blast, and working with Thibaut was divine.

The images of our transformed breakfast room will appear in the October issue of Traditional Home magazine, but I wanted to give you a teaser of just what some wallpaper and some vision can do to a room.

Let us know what you think!

After Glow!

Here's our breakfast room transformed. All of the fabrics, wallpaper, and upholstered pieces are from Thibaut Design. We layered in lots of antiques and a rug from World Market so that the room wouldn't look like a showroom. Fun, n'est-ce pas?

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Scenes from Randolph Street Market!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Gang:

As you know if you follow us on Facebook, this past weekend John and I were invited by our dear pal and interior design guru Kenneth Ludwig to display our vintage wares at Chicago’s Randolph Street Market. So John and I packed up the trusty Subaru with all sorts of fun finds and headed to the Middle West. Once there, we unpacked and combined our treasures (along with larger pieces that we had left in Chicago on a recent visit for this very purpose) in the striped Sally’s Cabana with Kenneth’s gorgeous upholstered pieces and case goods. Along with Kenneth’s terrific staff and his wonderful partner, Darren, we hawked and hustled and had a blast.

Here are some scenes from our long weekend at Randolph Street Market. Enjoy!

Escape from New York!

All packed up and ready to go. We left the dogs behind in NYC with a pal who house sits for us often.

The Big O!

Randolph Street Market sits just down the street from Oprah's studios. If you are a fan of Oprah's, this might impress you.

Men of the Moment!

John with the incredible Kenneth Ludwig, our host. Kenneth runs a divine showroom in Chicago's Merchandise Mart AND has Studio KL nearby. If you don't know Ken, you should.

It Takes Two!

Hanging out with the wonderful and hilarious Darren Fink, Kenneth's partner. Darren is a treat!

Banner Day!

Here's one of the Madcap Cottage banners that we had "run up." Fun, no?

All Wrapped Up!

John unpacks our wares...

Propping, propping!

John and I hung loads of Chinese lanterns and created charming "vignettes" throughout the tent. Amazingly, the green-painted pine hutch didn't sell, but it can now be purchased at Kenneth's Merchandise Mart showroom, #1445.

Stripe Tease!

Here's Sally's Cabana in action... Chic, nest-ce pas?

China Syndrome!

Two of our fabulous vintage Fitz & Floyd china figurines that we sold...

Top Germans!

Here I am hanging out with the gal who ran Randolph Street Market's rollicking beer garden. Lord have mercy.

Mildred a Go-Go!

The delicious Mildred who works with Ken gets packed up by Miller and John Covington... Mildred is a pistol and goes by the nickname "Whitney Houston."

Packed Up

The trusty Subaru is packed up and ready for the long haul back to NYC. The drive is fine until you reach Pennsylvania, and then it is endless and D-U-L-L!

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Spend a Long Weekend with the Madcaps!

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Meet Us in Manhattan!

Enjoy a long weekend of fabulous lifestyle-themed events, tours, lectures, and insider "hotspots" in New York City with the Madcap Cottage gents this September 19-22!

Gang:

John and I have lived in New York City for more than twenty years, and, truly, no one knows NYC better than the two of us. Don’t forget that I was the Editor in Chief of Gotham magazine, the city’s Bible for glamorous living, for almost ten years… We are constantly sniffing out the latest and the greatest.

Hence, it was only natural that John and I decided to celebrate the city in which we live by offering a lifestyle-themed long weekend during which we open up our little black book.

Think design.

Fashion.

Food.

Lectures.

Insider tours.

Access.

Meet and greets.

A glittering dinner at Madcap Cottage in Brooklyn.

A fabulous hotel…

And lots of surprises!

Is this a so-called “design camp?” Hello, no! It’s a long weekend for folks who want to enjoy the best that NYC has to offer. This is open to anyone, from designers to NYC aficionados to style mavens and foodies.

Thursday-Sunday. September 19-22.

Contact us at jason@madcapcottage.com for more information and pricing.

It’s going to be one Madcap and Marvelous Weekend! Join us!

Let's Be Madcap!

See you in NYC come September!

 

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A Tour of the Traditional Home Showhouse!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Gang:

Come along for a tour of the fabulous Traditional Home/Junior League of Greensboro showhouse and the breakfast room that John and I designed with loads of Thibaut fabrics, wallpapers, and furnishings…

Breakfast at Adamsleighs!

Traditional Home magazine's stunning Tori Mellott interviews me and John for Editor at Large TV. Click on the link, above, for a video tour of the showhouse...

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Chester Court: A Work in Progress!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Welcome to Chester Court!

Welcome to Chester Court, our historic dead-end street next to Prospect Park in Brooklyn!

Gang:

As you may know, John and I live on a historic cul-de-sac in Brooklyn in an up-and-coming neighborhood called Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. It’s a neighborhood that’s on the move, but it still has some “rough and tumble” moments. Not that it’s violent, but we need some street calming on our major artery of Flatbush Avenue (the Broadway of Brooklyn) and there’s a real problem with littering. But it’s definitely getting better… And John and I are helping…

As one of the folks spearheading the Chester Court Block Association, I am always thinking global and acting local. Little by little we are taking Chester Court from nice to knockout, and lots more on all of this later, including some history on this wonderful oasis. Last summer, for instance, I helped get street trees planted, and the city put in a new sidewalk and repaved the streets.

This morning, I tackled the two tree beds on my side of the street that really need some TLC. Last summer, these just-installed beds were covered in mulch but over the winter they got rather nappy and have been “used” both by dogs and careless cigarette smokers to throw their butts. So I brought home some 90 iris and day lily plants that I dug up at Madcap Cottage upstate, and I planted the stash bright and early before it got too hot. P.S. By using plants already in my arsenal, I was able to transform a space dramatically without spending any money… Do try this at home!

Check out my handiwork.

Bed Head!

Here are the two tree beds on Chester Court that really needed some TLC. Scroll down to see what two hours and about 100 irises and lilies can do to a once-forlorn space.

Green with Envy!

Here's the tree bed on the other side of Chester Court that I planted with irises last summer. The irises have held up swimmingly and inspired me to use them on the two tree beds across the street. I gave this tree bed some weeding today, and it looks great.

In the Bag!

Here are garbage full of iris and lily plants that I dug up last weekend at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York. Irises don't need much water and require an annual thinning out.

Pick Up, Please!

I crafted signs that I laminated at my local FedEx Office outpost to remind folks to clean up after their dogs. Plastic ties keep the signs in place.

Lots of Turnover!

I turned all of the dirt over in the tree beds to aerate the soil and make planting easier. The soil is surprisingly rich...

Dirty Deeds!

And here's the finished results with the lilies and irises in place. A few neighbors will help water the tree beds, and the hearty perennials should take off quickly. I petitioned the city for metal tree guards, and those should be installed by October... I will report back on how the plants are doing.

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We Must Cultivate Our Garden!

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

A Tree Doesn't Go in Brooklyn!

Here's what our Brooklyn backyard looked like when John and I moved to Chester Court from Manhattan in 2006. Bleak, n'est-ce pas? But we had a vision...

Gang:

I hope you are having a very spiffy Memorial Day weekend… John and I have just arrived at Madcap Cottage in New York’s Catskill Mountains, and it is cold and wet, wet, wet! This is Amy Petunia’s fist visit to Madcap Cottage, and she is in love. She has run about the yard with Jasper and Weenie (rain be damned!) and is now curled up on a Madcap Cottage bespoke dog pillow.

As I think about the garden planting that I was hoping to accomplish today (and hope to do tomorrow), I wanted to show some “before” and “after” shots of our backyard in Brooklyn. In case you didn’t know, John and I love nothing more than having some dirt under our fingernails. I ran a landscape installation company in Florida back in my salad days, and I even considered getting my Masters in landscape design once upon a time. I can install a sprinkler system like nobody’s business…

Our Brooklyn garden is functional and soothing and doesn’t require a lot of water. The goal was to create a lush sanctuary with lots of green and “moments” of color, and I think we accomplished our mission. John and I planted every item in this garden, so we feel very proud when we settle in al fresco and take in our handiwork. Cocktails in hand, natch!

Take a peek at the adventures of a pair of mad gardeners…

Garden a Go-Go!

John and I installed the garden three years ago. The fencing is from Trex, and the trees--including the birches on the left-hand side--are from FastGrowingTrees.com. The antique urns hail from a bric-a-brac shop in East Hampton, NY, and the faux bamboo green garden chairs are currently up for sale on One Kings Lane! In case you are wondering, a new building went up behind our garden just before we were about to start planting. Hence, the wall behind the Trex fencing that doesn't appear in the "before" image.

Garden of Earthy Delights!

And here's what our Brooklyn backyard looks like today... It's actually a tad too leafy, so we will be doing some re-landscaping this summer. Our birch trees are now almost 60 feet high!

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Transforming Your Dining Room Table!

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Dining by Design!

Why not transform your dining room table when it's not in use by loading it up with lots of delicious objects. Here, a stunning table that I spotted at The Rug Company showroom in NYC's SoHo neighborhood.

Gang:

Are you ready for Memorial Day? I sure as heck am. Give me a bottle of rose wine and a daybed, and I will be conked out in the shade with Jasper, Weenie, and Amy Petunia. I need some serious sleep catch-up time.

If you are a Facebook follower, you know that last Sunday I guided a terrific group from WithIt, Professional Women in the Home Furnishings Industries, on an afternoon-long tour of NYC’s bustling SoHo neighborhood. We started our tour on a drizzly and dark day at one of my most favorite outposts, The Rug Company, on Wooster Street. The Rug Company is the genius British company that crafts the most delicious rugs in all sorts of amazing colors and sizes. Plus, the Rug Company folks have developed relationships with the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith for fashion luminaries to bring their vision to the floor, literally.

As I was looking about the stunning Rug Company showroom, I noticed their wonderful displays upon a dining table and a library table, and that got me thinking. Why not “prop” your dining room table when it’s not in use… Add gorgeous coffee table books, a few glass garden cloches, some objects, and maybe a gorgeous orchid… Transform that barren landscape into a whimsical wonderland.

Here are a few ideas.

Wonder Full!

I am obsessed with the cheap-and-chic items to be had at C Wonder. Here, the Monogram Geo Plate emblazoned with an "N." Yummy! They have all sorts of colorful finds for the home.

Table Talk!

If you are starting your dining room from the ground up, Arhaus is a wonderful source for inexpensive dining tables. Here's the Kensington Small Dining Table, on sale for $1,999.

Ring-a-Ding!

Turn to the folks at Terrain for glorious accessories, such as this bell jar cloche, a steal at $32.

Natural Selection!

Taschen is a great source for wonderful coffee table books, such as the color-packed and very graphic Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.

 

Round We Go!

Use this library table that I spotted at The Rug Company as your style inspiration, and have fun (and confidence!) with your selects. This is the perfect project for the Memorial Day weekend...

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Transforming a Wall with Art.

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Gang:

Greetings from very rainy New Orleans! John and I have crisscrossed the country, traveling from High Point, NC where we broke down our room at the Junior League of Greensboro/Traditional Home showhouse to Little Rock, Arkansas to speak at Tobi Fairley’s Design Camp A to Z… And now we are doing a bit of consignment shopping paired with a few Bloody Marys (natch!) in Nola before we jump back in the trusty Subaru en route to North Carolina to collect Jasper and Weenie at Camp Bow Wow. Whew!

One of the discussions at Tobi Fairley’s camp was how to hang artwork, so I decided to run some images of a client’s wall that we restyled a few years back. This was not a full-on client situation but rather a “come over for a Sunday afternoon consultation and have a glass of Champagne or three and let’s tackle a project or two.” The challenge was to take our client’s artwork and hang it in a way that would give a drab wall new life.

See how artwork (both “good” and “bad”) can take a wall and really give it some oomph.

Fix Me, Fast!

Here's our client's dull wall, albeit a wall anchored with drop-dead vintage Espana chests by Dorothy Draper for Kindel Furniture. It was our job to make the wall as marvelous as the furnishings...

Getting Centered!

Here I am hanging up the focal point of the arrangement, a lovely vintage portrait of a woman in a scarlet-hued dress paired with a jaunty flower in her hair.

Scarlet Fever!

John hangs more artwork. Be sure to break out of the grid, and have fun with how you hang your art. Take art high up to the ceiling to add dramatic scale to a room, and mix-and-match frames and mattings.

Art for Art's Sake!

And here's the finished wall with the artwork all in place. A dramatic transformation, n'est-ce pas? DO try this at home.

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