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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

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

Archive for the ‘Flooring’ 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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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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Tip, Top Terrific Thomasville!

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Pearl of a Girl!

Here we are with the absolutely delicious and innovative Lisa Hanly, the wonderful vice president of communications at Furniture Brands International, the parent company of Thomasville.

Gang:

John and I are just back from an amazing two weeks in North Carolina for the High Point Furniture Market… We launched our fabulous new Madcap Cottage pillow line (available on our website for now, Madcap Cottage, and coming soon to a very chic retailer near you) and crafted a room for the Junior League of Greensboro/Traditional Home magazine showhouse. We also met many amazing folks, including the terrific Lisa Kahn-Allen and her spot-on husband, Phillip Allen; gorgeous and fun Lisa Mende; Southern spitfire Anita Phipps; antiques guru Todd Nabors; and so many other wonderful folks. Lots more to tell on that front.

A highlight of our visit to furniture market was the tour of the stunning and really exciting Thomasville showroom. John and I used to drive out to the Thomasville factory-cum-showroom in tiny Thomasville, NC during Furniture Market, and the experience wasn’t very illuminating… The Thomasville brand was a bit tired and needed a big kick in the butt. The best thing about our visit to Thomasville was the giant Duncan Phyfe chair sculpture downtown (John and I would scamper about the enormous chair and pose provocatively, natch).

Well, that was then, and this is now.

Fast forward a few years, and Thomasville now occupies a high-style showroom in the High Point nexus, the IHFC tower. And it is headed up by two dynamos: Lisa Hanly is the head of corporate communications for Furniture Brands International, the parent company of Thomasville, and she really gets “it.” Lisa is a dynamo, capital “D.” And Greg Heller is Thomasville’s vice president of retail, and he has brought his beautifully trained eye to the furniture company.

And, folks, the results are stunning.

Thomasville is back, and in a big, bold way. And not just for Heller’s gorgeous furnishings, but also for bed linens and all sort of other delectable home goods.

Here are a few of our favorite Thomasville introductions…

And just to come clean, Thomasville did “host” my hotel room for three nights at High Point in their role as a blog sponsor, but I wouldn’t write about the brand if I wasn’t goo-goo, ga-ga for it. A stay at a Sheraton can only go so far, n’est-ce pas?

Hello, Heller!

Greg Heller, the creative force behind the "new" Thomasville, gives the Madcap Cottage gents a tour. And, wow-ee!, we were smitten.

Rhombus Remarkable!

The gold-flecked good looks of the Rhombus Accent Table had us wanting to sip cocktails so that we could perch them just-so upon this libidinous looker.

Ting, Tang!

Wow, the Tang Etagere left me reeling. Chic, and an amazing price point, to boot!

Scarlet Fever!

John and I fell in love with the arresting Broome Tray Table, and we want two of these for our home upstate. Faux bamboo and a deep red, delicious.

 

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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.

Gang:

Morning!

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!

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Refreshing Your Kitchen at Lowe’s!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Gang:

Merry Christmas!

John and I are happily ensconced in Des Moines, Iowa, and it’s a wonderfully snowy holiday…

As you start to think about your 2013 resolutions, why not consider giving some oomph to your kitchen. The fabulous folks at Kohler asked me and John to visit our local big box store to offer up some cheap and chic ideas to take your kitchen from tired to tip, top terrific.

Refresh, refresh, refresh!

Click on the image, below, to read about our kitchen transformation…

Enjoy!

Big Box Brilliance!

Click on the image, above, to read about our adventures in kitchen design at our local Lowe's in Oneonta, New York.

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Come Visit Us at 1st Dibs @ NYDC!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Gang:

Happy holidays!

As you might know, John and I have just unveiled a retail space at 1st Dibs @ NYDC, situated on the 10th floor of the New York Design Center on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The floor is a treasure trove of 1st Dibs dealers, and there is something for every taste and sensibility. Best of all, the floor is open to the public AND is open on Saturdays.

If you are looking for glorious holiday gifts, the Madcap Cottage space at 1st Dibs @ NYDC offers loads of colorful and bespoke options.

Here are some shots of us pulling together the vest pocket-sized space.

Come pay us a visit!

Small Slice of Heaven!

Here's our tiny "booth" at 1st Dibs @ NYDC. We painted the white walls a creamy hue and then set about giving the walls horizontal stripes in jaunty colors to make the space really magical!

Paint, Please!

After taping the walls with painter's tape, John and I painted the space in Madcap Cottage signature pink-and-orange stripes. We plan to change the booth monthly to give it a very fresh and editorial quality.

Stripe Tease!

Here's our booth with the painter's tape removed. The stripes look amazing, n'est-ce pas? Why not stripe a room in your own home--it's easy!

Mirror, Mirror!

John installs a groovy rug from Urban Outfitters that perfectly matches our sensibility. The mirror on the wall is for sale and is truly a stunner.

The Best of Everything!

Our Madcap Cottage goodies are in place. All that is missing is our logo upon the wall.

Logo-licious!

John installs our Madcap Cottage logo upon the walls of our booth at 1st Dibs @ NYDC, and we are open for business! The two vintage Venetian-style chairs are from Baker Furniture, and note all of the beautifully priced objects upon the whimsical side table.

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An iVillage “Before” and “After!”

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

The Boring "Before!"

Here's a "before" image of a project that John and I tackled on Long Island a few years back. The iVillage website has featured this project as part of their "before" and "after" series. Click on the image, above, to see the "after" image of our design and to view the projects of some of our peers...

Gang:

I hope you had a splendiferous weekend! John and I are still in London and head back tomorrow… It’s been an amazing trip.

On another note, the iVillage site recently invited us to submit a “before” and after” project, and the project has just gone online. Take a look, and let me know what you think. This was a fun project because John and I tackled much of the fix-it work ourselves, including painting the beat-up wood floors and thinking up creative ways to mask the wonky walls.

We love to hear feedback!

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A Bit of Color on this Drab Day!

Monday, October 29th, 2012

The Unloved Little House!

Here's the former garage at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York when John and I purchased the property. The garage was a mess and was totally shrouded with out-of-control greenery. Our goal was to take this forlorn folly and make it fabulous. Hopefully, you can pluck ideas from our plan of attack to employ in your own home.

Gang:

John and I are hunkered down in Brooklyn as Sandy terrorizes the East Coast… We have wine and I made tacos, and I am cleaning out my closet and am still wearing my pajamas at 1:30pm so it’s not all bad… John is listening to Christmas carols on Pandora for some reason. Curious, n’est-ce pas? Weenie and Jasper are snoozing.

As the day is totally drab and dull, I thought I would offer some color, a Technicolor-hued punch…

Here’s a photo tour of our former garage at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York that John and I transformed from a tumbledown structure into a rainbow-hued screened-in porch.

I hope you enjoy the journey…

Stay dry, and stay safe!

Al Fresco Elegance!

New roofing, screened doors, and a cupola that John and I purchased online take the exterior of the garage and make it gorgeous. The cupola is vinyl-clad, so it will never need painting. I am not a fan of vinyl siding, but here it makes total sense.

Interior Motives!

John and I had the interior patched and a new cement floor poured. And we carved-out screened windows that look onto our backyard. A pale blue ceiling helps open up the space.

Patio, Daddy-o!

John and I found some beat-up old garden furniture and had it powder coated a bright lemon yellow. The results are perfectly sunny and delicious! Find garden furniture at a yard sale, and have it powder coated to give it new life.

Fabric of Life!

John and I came up with a fun fabric scheme that mixes lots of easy-to-care-for indoor/outdoor fabrics in big, bold hues.

Dog Days of Summer!

Jasper eyes the work in progress. Almost complete!

Hello, Jasper!

And here's the finished product... John and I were lucky enough to have the screened-in porch appear in the magazine DIY. Jasper makes himself right at home in the finished screened-in porch, now renamed The Little House. Floor paint transformed a cement floor into something fabulous. John crafted the window treatments from Ikea using a stamp that he picked up at a flea market with fabric paint.

Et Voila!

Note the inexpensive Chinese lanterns that dangle overhead, an inexpensive way to add "punch" and "pizzazz" to any space. The cupola adds further "architecture" to a roofline that was sorely lacking interest.

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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.

Gang:

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.

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Calling Cosentino!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Heart of Stone!

The main entrance to Cosentino's stunning glass-and-marble-wrapped corporate headquarters in the Almeria region of southern Spain. John and I were invited as guests of Silestone to visit their factory and talk about trends, and we have so enjoyed our sojourn.

Gang:

John and I were lucky enough to have been invited by the fabulous Spanish natural stone surfaces company Cosentino to pay a visit as their guests to their sprawling factory and corporate campus in the arid climes of southern Spain.

And this past week has been a fabulous mix of meet and greets, tours, exploration of top-secret new products, and boozy dinners. John and I have had so much fun with our hosts Lorenzo Marquez of Cosentino and Jim Brodsky of Sharp Communications, not to mention our fellow travelers Kim Lewis and her husband, Brandon, and Mark Williams and his partner, Steve.

We are simply crazy for the Cosentino product line–including Silestone–and you should be, too! Here’s a peek into our adventures. Ole!

High Noon!

John gives off a very matinee idol attitude as he sets out to explore the region's dramatic marble quarries. Note the massive blocks of marble stacked in the background.

Rock On!

Here's our fellow trend spotter Kim Lewis, the production designer of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, striking a fetching pose in the region's famous marble quarries.

Bathing Beauty!

John road-tests one of Cosentino's stunning free-standing bathtubs. We want one!

Think Sink!

John and I are crazy for the Cosentino range of products. Here, Silestone sinks in a rainbow array of hues. We were especially smitten with the bubble gum pink model.

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