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

Archive for the ‘Carpets’ Category

Please Hold, Exciting Changes Afoot…

Friday, January 24th, 2014


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,, or join the conversation with us on social media.




Lessons Learned at Burghley House!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Burghley Brilliance!

Here I am outside of Burghley House, the Cecil family's 16th-century pile in Stamford, north of London. Note the "ha-ha" behind me, the cut in the lawn that separates the manicured portion from the section where the livestock roams. From the house the ha-ha is not visible and the lawn looks seamless.


As you know if you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, John and I are just back from three weeks in England. We are lucky enough to visit the UK several times a year, and it is truly our second home. In fact, I think we know London better than we do New York City. Which, by the by, is A-OK with us.

Each August, we travel to the United Kingdom for an extended visit, and we tick off a slew of great country homes… We rent a car and head off from London. There’s nothing better than seeing an amazing home to offer design inspiration. John and I always return from England with gobs of ideas floating about in our heads.

This past trip, we visited several amazing homes and palaces, including Kelmarsh Hall, Waddesdon Manor, Hatfield House, and more. First up was Burghley House, the amazing 16th-century home crafted near the market town of Stamford by Sir William Cecil. The house is a stunner and well worth a good long morning’s visit. There’s so much history there…

Go pay a visit to Burghley for yourselves…

Here are some ideas that I lifted from Burghley House that you can bring to your own home…

Kitchen Confidential!

Why not display your pots and pans on your walls... If they are good-looking pots and pans, that is. And granted, you might not have a 40-foot-plus ceiling like the Cecils, but you can still make an impact whether your kitchen is postage stamp-sized or sprawling.

Thoroughly Modern, Silly!

Why not mix a modern sofa with ancestral portraits and paneling? The Cecils did, and it works swimmingly!

Fringe with Benefits!

Embellish a chair. Add some embroidery, add some brush fringe... Have fun with seating. Why not take a humble chair, and use a glue gun to take it from so-so to sublime.

Mix, Match, Marvelous!

As the Madcap Cottage gents always say, mix and match patterns. Here's a sitting room in Burghley House with gobs of patterns in it. Do try this at home, even if it's simply having some fun with your throw pillows.

Bucket List!

Here's a fabulous barrel that I spotted in Burghley House's gardens. Take a garden barrel from the like of Lowe's or Home Depot, and give it a eau de Nil paint treatment... Voila, perfection!


Showhouse Showdown!

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Amazing Adamsleigh!

Jasper and Weenie loll about the front yard at Adamsleigh, the site of the 2013 Junior League of Greensboro showhouse. The 14-acre estate was built by High Point textile magnate "Hamp" Adams and boasts amazing details and stunning architecture. Jasper and Weenie approve.



John and I have been down in the High Point, North Carolina area for the past week preparing our room for the Junior League of Greensboro showhouse. We have designed the breakfast nook in the amazing, circa-1930 Adamsleigh estate, and we have been hanging curtains, steaming, scrubbing, and propping.

John and I are thrilled to be working with our dear pals at Thibaut, and we employed their fabulous fabrics, wallpapers, and upholstery in the room. Plus, we added loads of vintage case goods and “props” to add a layer of dimensionality to our room and take it from looking like a showroom.The showhouse opens tomorrow night with a Gatsby-themed gala, and we are so excited to show off our wares.

Here are a few photos from our room in progress.

See you at High Point Market!

Windows on the World!

Here's the exterior of the breakfast nook... The fabulous leaded-glass windows let in loads of light and make the breakfast nook airy and delicious.

Once Upon a Time...The breakfast nook at Adamsleigh “before”… I can’t wait for you to see the “after” shots.
To Market!

Here's the fabulous jute rug that we picked up at a World Market in Florida and drove up to the showhouse. There's a World Market just down the street from the showhouse, but it did not have the rug that we needed. Happily, we were in Florida, so it was easy for us to swing by the WM outpost near Orlando. John and I just love World Market!

Viva Valance!

Our workroom in Iowa crafts a stunning valance in Thibaut fabrics...

So Many Questions!

So what does our room look like now? Come to the Junior League of Greensboro showhouse, and pay us a visit. The showhouse opens this Saturday... See you there!


Learn by Looking!

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Shelf Life!

John explores terrific stacking bookshelves at the Baker Furniture showroom in High Point, NC. Bring these ideas home. Why not go to your local unfinished furniture store and purchase bookcases that you can paint at home and then stack. Paint the exterior of the shelf black and the interior a rich color for contrast. And note the curtain behind John that helps separate the room into two distinct sections. Genius! And simple.


This past week has been a wonderful whirl… John and I arrived in High Point, North Carolina, and we have so enjoyed lapping up the trends and exploring the fabulous showrooms that dot the so-called furniture capital of the world.

John and I also love the styling that goes into creating amazing showrooms in High Point, and we always walk away with loads of inspiration and take-away ideas. And many of these ideas can be recreated at home without breaking the bank.

This evening John and I toured the wonderful Baker Furniture showroom–truly a High Point favorite–and we were totally inspired.

Mellow Yellow!

Pair books by color on your shelves. Or wrap your books in colorful paper to add some visual interest. Here, some clever ideas for storing books at Baker Furniture.

Layered Looks!

Layering is an important aspect of creating a wonderful, inviting room. Here, an eclectic mix of furniture in a Baker Furniture model room creates a unique look, especially when paired with vintage artwork, mismatched table lamps, and an oversized Chinese lantern that dangles overhead. And note the layered rugs...

Cook the Books!

A Barbara Barry twin bed at the Baker Furniture showroom sits in front of photo wallpaper of books in bold colors. What a fun way to create a high-impact wall covering that is totally bespoke and brilliant. Search online for a company like Casart that can create interesting, custom wallpapers.


Ra-Ra for Rue!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012


I hope you are having an absolutely beautiful week…

John and I are in Provence, France, and we are loving it.

And we are also loving the write-up that online magazine Rue has just published that features us… Click on the image, below, to read the story.

Rue, Who!

Many thanks to Rue magazine for their lovely write-up on us. Such a treat! Click on the image, above, to check out the story.


The Art of the Deal!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Hail, Britannia!

To celebrate the Queen's jubilee and the Olympics, John and I transformed our hall into a shrine that celebrates all things British. Hail, Britannia! We plan to take the space Indian in the fall, so stay tuned. Switch out your artwork frequently... Why not, n'est-ce pas?


I hope you are having a very spiffy weekend. We are about to hop in the car and head up to Boston and Maine for a week: I cannot wait for a little New England sojourn. Think lots of fried clams, antiques shopping, and Yankee-styled cocktails. And I am thrilled to re-visit favorite spots such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the fabulous Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

John and I were up early this morning and started re-hanging artwork (Our neighbors are out of town, so it’s OK!). We love to change up our displays of prints, photographs, and lithographs to keep our walls constantly evolving, and, yes, you should try this at home. We use small picture hanging nails so that our walls don’t get too dinged up, and we map out our plan on a piece of paper before we break out the hammer.

Here’s a lovely piece that recently did on me and John  and how we hang artwork (click on the image, below). Give it a read, and maybe pick up some fun suggestions along the way. And if you do decide to re-hang some of your artwork, send us photos of your handiwork.

Have a fabulous week ahead!

Art of the Deal!

Click on the image, above, to read's feature on the Madcap Cottage boys and how we hang artwork.


Totally Big in Germany!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Read or Dead!

John and Jasper look over our write-up and the big-ass photo of our den in the June issue of German Architectural Digest magazine. Um, danke, danke, and danke.


Hey, cats! I hope your week is going along super swimmingly.

I need some feedback from the blogerati, I haven’t heard from any of you in ages. Um, dirt, gossip, updates, pictures of your kids… Bring it.

I am listening to Madonna’s “Superstar” and designing a couch. Um, loving MDNA, and it has totally inspired me. This couch is going to be so totally ooh-la-la. And how. Like Abe Lincoln cause you fight for what’s right.

Oh, did I tell you that John and I made an appearance in the June issue of German Architectural Digest magazine. Um, big in Germany. Sign. Me. Up. Check us out. Our den in Brooklyn gets a full page…

You can have the keys to my car, I’ll play you a song on my guitar.

Ooh-la-la. You’re my superstar.

Den or Las Vegas!

Yeehaw!, that's our den in Brooklyn on the right-hand page in the June issue of German Architectural Digest magazine. Top Germans are reading about the Madcap Cottage boys right this second in top cities such as Berlin and Hamburg.



Did You Make It To Our House Tour?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Hello, Madcap Cottage!

Several hundred visitors toured our Brooklyn home yesterday as part of the 42nd Annual Prospect Lefferts Gardens House & Garden Tour... Thank goodness for booties! The very able volunteer Frank manned the front door with grace and good humor...


I hope you had a wonderful weekend…

John and I opened up our home in Brooklyn yesterday as part of the 42nd Annual Prospect Lefferts Gardens House & Garden Tour, and we had so much fun… Our neighborhood has wonderful camaraderie, and everyone was so complimentary about our home. And, frankly, there’s nothing like a good house tour to get a pad into tip-top shape, so we scrubbed and scrubbed and then scrubbed some more.

During the day, we even got to mix and mingle with pals like the fabulous blogger and design aficionado Ivy de Leon who drove in all the way from Princeton, New Jersey.

What a very fun and rewarding day…


Yard Sale-o-Rama!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Basement Beauties!

Our basement at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York is overflowing with delicious treasures, so come take a look... This weekend!


What’s on your agenda for Memorial Day weekend?

If you happen to be anywhere near New York’s Catskill Mountains, be sure to beeline it for Jason & John’s World-Famous Annual Yard Sale and Vintage Finds Bonanza that will take place at Madcap Cottage in Hobart, NY this Saturday and Sunday (May 26 and 27) from 8am-5pm.

Expect loads of treasures…

Furnishings! Lighting! Fabric! Wallpaper! A fountain. An amazing crafts table. A glorious day bed. A totally snug rug.

Plug this address into MapQuest, and come visit…

286 Maple Avenue

Hobart, NY 13788

Whether you stop by or no, we wish you an absolutely delicious and divine Memorial Day weekend!

Green Goddess!

Here's last year's yard sale in full swing... If you're really nice, I just might give you a tour of Madcap Cottage and maybe a glass of wine.


Our Guest Bedroom (Before & After)!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Pattern Aplenty!

Weenie strikes a winsome pose in our guest bedroom "after" with its patterns-upon-patterns and gobs of wallpaper. The room is always evolving, so much of this furniture has already moved on to other spaces and places. The coral-hued table to the left of the bed, for example, will be available for purchased at our May 8 One Kings Lane sale.


I hope your week is going along swimmingly… We have Lykke Li on the sound system at our Chester Court offices, and Jasper and Weenie are rocking out.

I was digging through some “before” and “after” photographs of Chester Court this morning, and I thought it would be fun to revisit what our guest bedroom looked like “before” and “after” the Madcap Cottage boys had their way with the space.

The “before”s and “after”s are quite dramatic! Let us know what you think!


Roome & Bored!

Here's the very boring guest bedroom before we tackled the space. This room was calling out for color and verve, and we answered the clarion call. And how!

Banish the Beige!

Another angle of the guest bedroom "before." Snooze, n'est-ce pas?

Whimsical Wonderland!

Guests love to check into Chester Court... Our guest bedroom is super-inviting and comfortable. And, yes, there's lots to look at it! I am especially partial to the necklaces that we picked up in India and draped over the lampshade next to the bed.