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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

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

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Archive for the ‘Furniture Recovering’ 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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High Point Highlights!

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Bookish Charms!

Here's John outside of the wonderful and inspiring Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library just down the street from the Krispy Kreme in High Point, North Carolina.

Gang:

As you know from reading this blog religiously, John and I are simply smitten with High Point, North Carolina. High Point is an amazing small town perfectly situated between two larger cities, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. It’s actually a wonderful walking burg, especially if you live in the charming Emerywood neighborhood. And now that the city is starting its Ignite! program to revitalize its downtown, things are going to heat up even more.

Granted, High Point is a town where you have to dig a bit for the hidden gems. On the restaurant front, I love Blue Zucchini, Kepley’s BBQ, Tipsy’z Tavern, the Penny Path Cafe, and Mayberry. There are some terrific antiques shops, and the homes in Emerywood are gorgeous.

On our last visit to HP, John and I stopped into the Bienenstock Furniture Library on Main Street, and we were frankly blown away.

From the Bienenstock Furniture Library website:

“With more than 5,000 furniture and design specific volumes, The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library is the largest furniture specialty library in the world. The rare book collection contains volumes published since 1640 and includes a collection of the original works of 18th century furniture masters Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, as well as a complete 26 volume set of Diderot’s Encyclopedia published in 1776.

This is one of the few, if not the only place in the world where design professionals, scholars, students, and the public can don a pair of white gloves and examine the original works of the pioneer designers in our industry.”

John and I were in heaven as we browsed the amazing books that fill this charming former private home. We cannot wait to hunker down for a few days amongst the collection and cull inspiration.

Next time you are in High Point–perhaps in the days leading up to fall market–stop in at the Bienenstock. It’s true treasure!

Shelf Life!

Design enthusiasts will go nuts for the bookshelves that are filled with every design book imaginable.

Be Seated!

The Bienenstock interior is chic and contemporary, and there are plenty of comfortable seats for settling in to peruse the amazing design books.

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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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Beachy Keen!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Deep Blue Sea!

Here's the living room of a beach cottage in East Hampton, New York that John and I designed several years back. Note the soothing tones of blue and white paired with a mix of patterns. We also added some whimsical elements such as the wicker table to make sure that the space looked "layered" and never too retail. John and I used indoor/outdoor fabrics throughout this space to keep the feeling "easy-breezy." We don't ever want to create interiors that are too precious where you can't spill the odd glass of wine. Poo-poo the precious, we say!

Gang:

Morning! John and I are off to meet with a fabric company that might want to do a partnership with us… Stay tuned, we are super excited! And tomorrow we are driving down to High Point, North Carolina to take some meetings and meet a real estate agent, dogs in tow. We are on a multi-year plan to get out of New York City, and we are thinking that the Emorywood neighborhood in High Point might be the perfect next step. Stay tuned on that, too!

Turn to the image of the cozy East Hampton, New York cottage, above, that John and I designed a few years back. Why not bring some beachy-chic style into your home this summer. Think blue-and-white hues with lots of throw pillows and eclectic objects. And don’t think that a “refresh” need be expensive. Why not turn to spot-on retailers such as Restoration Hardware, World Market, and others to tweak your space. And, of course, don’t overlook flea markets and yard sales… As John always says, “Good taste need not be expensive, but it should always be expressive.”

See you in North Carolina!

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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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Shop, Shop, Shop Madcap Cottage!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Gang:

How’s your early New Year coming along? Are you sticking to those resolutions? My diet is going swimmingly, and I have already lost 5 pounds. 15 more pounds to go!

As you think about possibly purchasing new furnishings in the year ahead, why not look over our BRAND-NEW SHOPPING SECTION on our Madcap Cottage website.

We offer loads of bespoke pillows and private-label furnishings in wonderful paint treatments. And the price points are really terrific!

Click here to browse our Madcap Cottage wares!

Let's Go to Grey Gardens!

The Let's Go to Grey Gardens chair, a stunning and comfortable bobbin chair crafted by the Madcap Cottage gents with lots of love. Foam cushion wrapped in down.

 

Evening in Byzantium!

The Evening in Byzantium ottoman, a beautifully tailored ottoman or occasional table upholstered in a bold zigzag linen fabric. Bespoke brilliance courtesy of the boys at Madcap Cottage. Tight seat.

 

A Jewel in the Crown!

The Jewel in the Crown armchair. A gorgeous and beautifully proportioned chair custom-crafted by the Madcap Cottage gents with turned legs and rich detailing. Tight seat and back.

 

Sunnyland Sojourn!

The Sunnyland Sojourn chair. A stunning turned-leg and uber-comfortable chair custom-crafted by the Madcap Cottage gents that can be painted in any Benjamin Moore color for extra-bespoke brilliance. Foam cushion wrapped in down.

 

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All That Glitters is Gold!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Bold & Gold!

Here's an article in Chicago's Daily Herald in which I am quoted talking about my passion for all things gold and bronze. Click on the image, above, to read the whole story from divine writer Elaine Markoutsas.

Gang:

Happy New Year! Here’s to an amazing 2013…

What are your resolutions? I want to get into shape, spend more time at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York, throw more dinner parties, drink less, workout more, and get a product line going with Home Shopping Network.

Stay tuned!

As we move into the year ahead, I wanted to share my passion for all things gold…

Bow down, bronze goddess! Here are a few favorite golden “moments.”

Madcap & Marvelous!

Here's a custom striped silk and suzani pillow from the Madcap Cottage gents currently for sale on One Kings Lane right now. Click on the image, above, to look over this brassy confection.

Viva Francois!

The glittering and inexpensive Francois Table from the folks at Z Gallerie. A terrific deal at $249.

Brass & Glass!

Here's the incredible Biomorphic Console from Baker's Tony Duquette Collection. The table is amazing, but wildly expensive... Use this if only for inspiration.

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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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Mulling the Future of Interior Design!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

The Big Q!

Today, John and I pondered the ever-changing state of the interior design business as we drove upstate to Madcap Cottage. Join in our discussion.

Gang:

Happy weekend!

John and I left New York City today to head up to Madcap Cottage in upstate New York, and we thanked our lucky stars that we had a half tank of gas in the trusty Subaru… For none of the gas stations in NYC were open, and we weren’t able to find a gas station without a massive line until we were some 100 miles north of the city!

We are now happily ensconced at Madcap Cottage, it is starting to snow, and the dogs are going ape-shit running around the backyard  amidst the flurries.

On our way upstate, John and I started to talking about a topic that we have had on our minds for a long while… No, not the election, and not whether we are summers or autumns… And not whether Miss Lana del Rey is cooler than Miss Beth Ditto.

But rather the future of interior design.

For years, we have noticed seismic shifts taking place in the interior design business, and many of these changes are good while others are far more challenging.

On the “pro” side, the consumer is far more savvy and knowledgeable about design, and this is largely due to the proliferation of design blogs and magazines such as the sadly departed Domino. And that’s fabulous! Design centers are open to non-trade consumers… Consumers can talk about the benefits of lattice-patterned wallpapers and which Kravet fabric pattern they most covet. HGTV has opened their eyes to the democratization of interior design. And bravo!

On the “cons” side, the consumer seems to value price and the “fast” purchase over quality. And, sadly, “made in America” has only recently come back into vogue in regards to furniture. (Ironically, thanks in part to the newly wealthy Chinese customer who would much prefer a dining table made in High Point, NC than one crafted in Shanghai.) Our clients ask us why they should purchase a sofa from Hickory Chair when there’s something in the pages of Pottery Barn or Land of Nod or in the showroom at Ikea that is “just as good” and that is “one third the price” and “ready to walk out the door today” and “why should we pay for shipping when Amazon is free–we are Amazon Prime members, after all.” Consumers often wonder why they should hire an interior designer when they can decorate their homes themselves. After all, they read design magazines and watch House Hunters International.

And, in many ways, these points are all valid and legitimate.

John and I try to educate the consumer, but sometimes it falls on deaf ears. And that’s OK–it’s their home, after all. And we do love Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware–even Ikea. In small doses.

But will this oft-made-in-China furniture be passed along to future generations as our grandmothers gave us their dining room tables and spindle beds? Probably not. And I am not saying that Pottery Barn furniture is poorly made, it’s just not the wonderful quality of a Baker Furniture or a Kindel. If you put the Baker or Kindel piece next to the Ikea or Pottery Barn piece you would instantly see the difference, but, alas, that is not possible unless you buy both. But this is precisely WHY you work with an interior designer–to have their expertise steer you to a smart purchase–one that not only takes price into consideration, but also quality. This is also why we say that you should pair Kindel with some Ikea and accessories that you picked up on your travels and that you snapped up at  your local flea market. And don’t ever overlook the magic of antiques!

Our generation was weaned upon catalogues, so our peers tend to gravitate to the likes of Crate & Barrel for soup-to-nuts purchases instead of mixing and matching vintage pieces with retail-available pieces and the odd dumpster dive find. Bravo to retailers like Anthropologie for challenging the consumer, for pairing antiques with the eclectic, the new with the knockout… But even with places like Anthropologie you still need to be a smart consumer and do your homework.

Remember back in the day when department stores had design services that would pull from the various furniture brands that the emporium carried? And most of these emporia–including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Marshall Field’s–even had antiques sections that the department store designers could pull from… Today, there is a  tendency to make head-to-toe purchases from one retailer, but consumers shouldn’t aspire to own homes that look like a showroom where every piece in the room has an identical finish and every piece of upholstery has “coordinating fabric.” That’s boring and beige and lacks pizzazz.

Walking into the Bloomingdale’s home floor when I was a child visiting NYC was entering a magical fantasyland that pushed boundaries and excited and invoked daydreams. Today it’s a wet tuna fish sandwich. And don’t get us started on the magic of what used to be the 9th Floor at Marshall Field’s State Street in Chicago…

So what exactly is the role of the interior designer in today’s marketplace? And how can we educate consumers to the value of hiring an interior designer, and how can we make the process as transparent as possible? And how can we demonstrate that having an interior designer can be a necessity, not a luxury. Just remember that the next time you purchase a couch that is an inch too long to get in the front door and your drapes don’t touch the floor.

These are just musings, barely formed sketches of an issue that deserves much more thought-out dialogue and conversation.

I invite feedback and discussion.

Enjoy your weekend, folks!

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A Trip to London’s Decorative Fair!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Park It Here!

John heads into London's verdant Battersea Park to pay a visit to the thrice-annual Decorative Fair. The Fair is truly a treasure trove of delicious finds!

Gang:

This past week John and I made a pilgrimage to the fabulous Decorative Fair that takes place three times each year in London’s stunning Battersea Park on the south side of the Thames.

And, wow!, we were so inspired, and not only by the fabulous goods but also by the very approachable prices. I am not one for “important” antiques unless you inherited them, so it was great to see that there were so many pieces at the fair that John and I could actually afford.

Here’s a little tour…

Floral Fever!

A pair of floral-patterned armchairs that felt very "Madcap Cottage," n'est-ce pas? There's nothing like multiple fabrics and delicious details to take furniture from ho-hum to super-ho.

China Syndrome!

A gorgeous Chinoiserie-styled lantern. Swoon!

A Nice Big Basket!

John and I adored this oversized concrete basket, one of a pair. These baskets would be perfect for sitting atop pilasters at the back of a yard.

Tip, Top, Tole!

A stunning tole metal palm tree! If John and I could have carried this back to NYC with us on the plane, we would have snapped it up!

Green Goddesses!

A very yummy pair of green chairs with terrific nailhead detailing.

Pets, Please!

There were lots of dogs at the Decorative Fair. We wished that Weenie and Jasper could have been in attendance, too.

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