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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

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

Archive for the ‘Framing’ 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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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 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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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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Before & After: Wow Them With Wallpaper!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

One Kings Lane-O-Rama!

Here's a selection of the Madcap Cottage wares that went "live" on One Kings Lane today. Shop our sublime sundries...

Gang:

I hope that everyone is having a fabulous week…

Have you bookmarked our two online boutiques?

One Kings Lane

https://www.onekingslane.com/shop/madcapcottage

AND

1st Dibs

http://madcapcottage.1stdibs.com

We have gleefully giddy new items going up daily and weekly, so look us over…

Bring some Madcap Cottage home, and right this very second.

On another note, I wanted to show you how to take a white wall and oomph it up with wallpaper. Here’s a “before” and “after” of our guest bedroom in Brooklyn. Why not “wow” a dull space with a deliciously patterned paper.

And, no, that was not a suggestion.

White-O-Rama!

Here's our guest bedroom at Chester Court with a wallpapered ceiling but before we decided that the space needed extra "punch" courtesy of wallpaper on the walls.

A Glorious Guest Room!

Here's the very same guest room with the formerly white walls done up in Thibaut's Baron wallpaper from their Residence collection. Click on the image, above, to see the paper on the Thibaut website.

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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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Ra-Ra for Rue!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Gang:

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.

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A Visit to the Brand-New De Gournay Showroom!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

De Gournay Delicious!

Here's John outside the soon-to-open de Gournay showroom on the corner of 59th Street in Manhattan. De Gournay's handpainted wallpapers are too delicious for words. The Madcap Cottage gents were thrilled to be invited for a pre-opening tour.

Gang:

Are you familiar with the de Gournay line of wallpapers, mirrors, furnishings, and fabrics? If not, you should be!

John and I are simply smitten with the London-based firm’s incredible handpainted wallpapers, and we were thrilled to be invited to visit their not-yet-open showroom on the corner of East 59th Street and Second Avenue yesterday for a sneak preview of their new digs.

The de Gournay wallpapers are quite expensive, but then again they are crafted by hand on the likes of dyed silk, slub silk, and India tea paper. The scenic papers are our favorites: We are crazy for the Early Views of India paper with its elephants and gentlemen in turbans prancing about. And don’t even get me started on the glorious Deco Monkeys!

Here are some images from the soon-to-open showroom to inspire you.

P.S. The showroom officially opens on October 3.

Deco Drama!

I think you can see why John and I are over the moon for the Deco Monkeys wallpaper from de Gournay. Um, this paper makes me bananas!

Look Book!

John peruses the de Gournay collections with the lovely Gwendolyn Rayner, the director of the New York showroom.

Panel Discussion!

A panel from the glorious Early Views of India wallpaper. Because the wallpapers are created by hand, each detail can be changed and custom-colored. You'd like a gent in a pink turban, no problem! And the wallpaper is crafted around your architectural renderings, so you can wrap the paper around doors and windows with the pattern placed accordingly to maximize the impact. Genius!

Memories of China!

A very dramatic Chinese-inspired vista anchors a wall in the de Gournay showroom.

Blue Velvet!

A rich blue lacquered wallpaper with a de Gournay mirror and armchairs at the entrance to the showroom. Chic, n'est-ce pas?

 

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The Brilliance of the Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House!

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Beauport Brilliance!

Perched at the edge of the rocky coast in charming Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Beauport, Sleeper-McCann home is a gem for fans of whimsical decorative arts and glorious interiors. This home is an undiscovered gem, and I want to move in and never leave.

Gang:

This past week while John and I were bopping about Massachusetts and Maine, we had something of a life-changing moment. And, no, we didn’t win the lottery, but rather we paid a visit to the stunning Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester, Mass.

Built by interior designer Henry Davis Sleeper circa 1907, Beauport is a gorgeous, eclectic, and totally whimsical former summer cottage that is packed with ideas and gorgeous details. Stepping into the shingle-clad home from the verdant gardens is transfixing: John and I lapped up the ideas like we were Veruca Salt at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Oh, the Chinoiserie wallpaper!

The Federal details!

The sea foam green-painted dining room!

The double-height library!

The octagonal room that houses Sleeper’s collection of toleware!

Frankly, John and I had never heard of Beauport before, so visiting this home was even more revelatory than touring a spot that gets gobs of press such as The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island or the Biltmore estate in North Carolina. We had only heard of Beauport because someone who toured our house in Brooklyn back at the recent Prospect Lefferts Gardens House & Garden Tour suggested that our pad reminded them of the Gloucester estate… So John and I added a visit to Beauport to our must-do list.

Interestingly, the guides at Beauport make a point to let guests know that Henry Davis Sleeper was a gay man, and that is totally refreshing: Usually, a gay man from the past would be referred to as a “bachelor” or something, so it was really kind of cool for that information to be put out there.

I see a total Beauport “moment” in our near future, so get ready.

Let’s take a tour.

Strawberry Sublime!

The Strawberry Hill bedroom, named for the estate of Sir Henry Walpole situated just outside of London. Do you remember the post I wrote a few months back about our visit to the Strawberry Hill estate? This room boasted lacquered wallpaper and a dramatic chandelier. And I love the rich green door.

Octagon Opulence!

The Octagon Room was crafted to house Henry Davis Sleeper's collection of metal toleware. The room is perfection.

The Golden Rule!

The Golden Step dining room with its sea foam green furnishings and long window overlooking the craggy coast. I am just crazy for a Fortnum & Mason-ish green, so this room is heaven.

China Syndrome!

The gorgeous, jewel-hued China Trade room with its hand-painted, antique Chinese wallpaper and arresting niches. I love the vaguely Indian balcony with its stunning wall coverings.

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