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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

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

Archive for the ‘Design Guru’ Category

What Becomes a Legend Most?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Gang:

Our blog is on hiatus for a while, but I decided to open up the vault and post about my upcoming spin as an Ambassador at the Legends of La Cienega festivities in Los Angeles. John will be with me, natch, but I get to wear the sash or whatever… Two years ago, I moderated a panel discussion at Legends, and it was a blast. This go-around I only have to sip cocktails and look pretty and engaging and Instagram with wild abandon.

The 6th annual Legends of La Cienega runs from May 7-9 and boasts the theme “Novel Interiors: Storytelling By Design.” The three-day event in the heart of West Hollywood’s design district includes terrific lectures, presentations, open houses, and all sorts of amazing activities. Expect lots of design aficionados and the editors of all the major shelter magazines.

Highlights include a keynote speech by dashing Veranda editor in chief Clinton Smith on the Power of Authenticity, a power lunch hosted by dapper Elle Decor editor in chief Michael Boodro, a meet and greet cocktail tea (um, how fabulous is that?) with House Beautiful power player Newell Turner, and a talk with Hutton Wilkinson on our heroine Elsie de Wolfe. Um, heaven.

Plus, John and I get to rub very chic shoulders with our fellow ambassadors, including the divine Lisa Herring Mende, Ronda Carman, Stacey Bewkes, and other blog-world luminaries… And we get to see folks like Joe Lucas, Suzanne Rheinstein, Karyn Millet, Darra Baker, Emily Docken Webster, and others.

We plan to scamper about and cause some mischief and mayhem, so get ready. See you at the Sunset Tower after hours!

For more information on the #lcdqla festivities, visit www.lcdqla.com.

The Madcap Cottage gents cannot wait to see you in LA!

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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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And It’s Showtime!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Fabulous Fabrics!

As you know, the Madcap Cottage gents are simply mad for wonderful fabrics. Here's a room that we designed a few years back that serves as a testimony to our passion for texture, pattern, and color. See you at the ITMA Showtime Market this weekend in High Point, NC to scope the latest and greatest in textiles and trims.

Gang:

John and I love nothing more than looking at fabrics… Honestly, it’s perhaps our favorite pastime after drinking cocktails and hanging out with the dogs and doing interpretive dance to the dulcet tunes of Miss Olivia Newton-John in her “Xanadu” days.

Says John, “Fabric gets my heart racing. I love the colors and the patterns and the possibilities. Fabric is transformative… And transfixing.”

I concur as I swirl the blue cheese-infused olive in my vodka martini and peruse the Madcap Cottage-designed living room in which I sit that features about 23 unique fabric patterns and about 63 different trims.

“Fabric and trims are just the best,” I note. “Give me some brush fringe and a blowsy cabbage rose on a fabulous linen, and it’s like the gates of heaven have opened and Mata Hari is doing the dance of the seven veils as liquor flows from the skies like pennies from heaven. I mean, fabric is maybe not so great as winning the lottery, but that has yet to happen, n’est-ce pas?”

As you can see, the Madcap Cottage gents like fabric. And how, and how!

So the Madcaps are over the moon to have been invited to attend this weekend’s ITMA Showtime Market, the twice-annual fabrics show hosted by the International Textile Market Association in our new favorite city of High Point, North Carolina. Convenient, n’est-ce pas? The ITMA Showtime Market takes place from December 8-11, so you can expect the Madcap Cottage boys to be bopping about from showroom to showroom as we take in the latest and greatest in textiles.

“Hello, Covington! Hello, Classical Elements! Hello, jobbers!”

I am still not exactly sure what a jobber is, but I am sure that I will like them.

Tra-la-la!

Oh, how we cannot wait to see what’s trending in textiles right now. Will there be graphics in abundance or bouquets of florals? And will Radiant Orchid rear her purple-clad head?

Stay tuned, and do check out our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts on all of our finds. From a rundown of which fabulous flower patterns we spotted where to who drank too much and who ran amok, the Madcap Cottage social media plan will keep you covered.

See you in High Point, toots!

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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.

Gang:

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!

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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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A Pilgrimage to Old Westbury Gardens!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Wonderful Old Westbury!

The exterior of the Old Westbury estate, a home that you have seen featured in numerous films such as "North by Northwest." Do pay a visit!

Gang:

Morning! How’s your week going?

On this hot summer day, John and I are taking his mom and dad out to Long Island and one of our most favorite estates, Old Westbury Gardens. If you have never paid a visit to this Gilded Age palace, hop in the car and hit it pronto. It’s only about an hour from Manhattan via the Northern State Parkway…

The home!

The gardens!

The nursery!

Oo, la, la, perfection.

Won’t you join us?

Garden Glory!

The gardens at Old Westbury are breathtaking and always inspire us. I wish we could recreate this fabulous Fortnum & Mason-hued folly at Madcap Cottage upstate. Stay tuned!

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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 Visit to the Taj Mahal!

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Truly Monumental!

Here are the Madcap Cottage gents at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India a few years back on our weeks-long trip to this amazing country. John and I awoke at sunrise to visit this fabled mausoleum and were lucky enough to miss the gobs and gobs of visitors who pay homage to the amazing site each day.

Gang:

I hope your week is going along swimmingly…

It’s a rainy afternoon in Brooklyn, so I decided to do a little armchair travel and pay a visit to the fabled Taj Mahal monument in Agra, India. What could be better than a revisit to this monument to love eternal…

Sometimes you see a famous monument, and it’s really not all that. The Eiffel Tower is amazing, but Graceland was sort of small and suburban and the Statue of Liberty is sort-of short and squatty. But the Taj Mahal lives up to its hype and how. It’s truly awe-inspiring.

Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his cherished wife, the Taj Mahal stands on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India. The famed mausoleum complex, built over more than 20 years, is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, which combined Indian, Persian, and Islamic influences. At its center is the Taj Mahal itself, built of shimmering white marble that seems to change color depending on the sunlight or moonlight hitting its surface. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it remains one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a stunning symbol of India’s rich history.

To tour the Taj, visitors can arrive at sunrise and view the complex before the hordes (and we mean, hordes!) descend upon the monument by mid-morning. We were at the Taj by 5am–even after a swinging night of cocktails the evening before–and lapped it all up like gin in a bathtub…

Add a visit to the Taj Mahal to your bucket list… You won’t be disappointed.

Glory Days!

The marble-clad Taj Mahal is just as inspiring and dramatic as you might expect. John and I have truly never experienced anything quite like it. We wanted to move in.

Patio, Daddy-o!

John takes in the vista of the Yamuna River from the vast terrace behind the Taj Mahal. The river was wrapped in mist and was truly dramatic and otherworldly.

Sitting Pretty!

John takes a seat on the so-called "Princess Diana" bench where Diana was once snapped solo in a now-iconic photo.

Green Goddess!

The Taj Mahal has deliciously green gardens that contrast with the not-so-picturesque city of Agra that sits just outside the complex's gates. Agra was the one Indian city that didn't speak to me...

Heart of Stone!

Here I am am posting Facebook updates in one of the Taj Mahal's stunning red-stone pavilions. The stonework in the complex is staggering. Note the orange booties that you have to wear when touring the complex.

Room with a View!

Later on the day of our visit, John and I traveled across the Yamuna River to some verdant riparian gardens just across from the Taj Mahal. This was by far the best vantage point to take in the monument in all its glory as the gardens were absolutely empty.

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See You at Sunnylands!

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Sunnylands Sublime!

Here we are outside the Sunnylands estate, the incredible former home of Walter and Lee Annenberg near Palm Springs, California. The estate is a must visit for fans of architecture and interior design.

Gang:

Last year John and I were invited to tour Sunnylands, the fabled and sprawling estate outside of Palm Springs, California that was the winter escape of media tycoon Walter Annenberg and his wife, Lee. The estate and its gardens had recently been refurbished to much acclaim (did you see the multi-page feature in Vanity Fair magazine?), so John and I were thrilled to pay a visit. And, wow!, the Billy Haines-designed estate is amazing… Beyond. Sensational. The home welcomed every dignitary under the sun back in its day, and it’s now open to regular folks like you and me but book well in advance as the home hosts very small tours and is a huge draw.

Read more about the estate on the Sunnylands website. Here are a few images from our mind-altering tour.

Think Pink!

Voila!, the pink roof the main house at Sunnylands... Think pink, n'est-ce pas?

Ivory Tower!

The unassuming, but very chic front door at Sunnylands... Oh, the divinity that resides behind these white doors. Heaven!

Heart of Stone!

Here's the living room at Sunnylands with its modernist good looks. The art on the walls is all reproductions as the Annenbergs left their vast collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love the bromeliads encircling the fountain.

Desk Set!

Walter Annenberg's divine office with its photos of luminaries who visited the estate. John and I wanted to steal the Chinoiserie coffee table and the embroidered pillows.

Mellow Yellow!

Walter and Lee's bedroom is a study in pale yellow hues overlooking a desert-style garden.

Chinoiserie Chic!

Check out the gorgeous quilting on this sofa at Sunnylands. Bananas!

Quilting Be!

Sunnylands has so many fabulously quilted chairs and sofas. Here's another Billy Haines creation.

True Blue!

John and I were simply mad for the lines of this chic wood chair with its aqua-hued leather seat.

Lucite luxe!

Lucite shelves? Um, yes.

Scarlet Fever!

Here's a Billy Haines-crafted red game table and yellow chairs. Um, sex on a stick. Sublime.

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