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

Archive for the ‘Hanging artwork’ 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.




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.


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?


Scenes from Randolph Street Market!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013


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!


Transforming a Wall with Art.

Friday, May 10th, 2013


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.


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!


And We Have A Winner…

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Hotel Stories!

The Madcap Cottage gents love nothing more than a fabulous wall full of mixed-media art. Here, the incredible staircase leading from the lobby at the Hotel Lincoln in Chicago. Do try this at home!


I hope your week is going along swimmingly! John and I are up to our eyeballs and loving it… So much fun! John is on the mend from his surgery, so he is up and about and the Madcap Cottage team is full-steam ahead…

During our presentation at the Miromar Design Center near Naples, Florida a few weeks back, we announced to the audience that they should email us and tell us about a room in their home where they best used color and pattern. John and I would review the entries for the most creative use of color and pattern and general all-around fun, and the winner would receive a Madcap Cottage pillow and a one-hour consultation with us over the phone.

Well, we had many entries, but we have selected a winner…

Drumroll, please.

Miss Sue Ann Till of balmy Bonita Springs, Florida has won the golden ticket. John and I loved Sue Ann’s eagerness to take a dull wall and transform it with art. Talk about a terrific mix of high-low!

To quote Miss Sue Ann Till:

“I attended your presentation, and I was so inspired by your design! We purchased a 2,400SF home in Bonita Springs 3 years ago, and I have 50% decorated from consignment and goodwill etc. I have this blank wall (gasp! I know), so I came right home and began planning. I am an amateur artist, and I had three art pieces unframed in a closet. I went to consignment and found some frames and a few things and this is what I came up with! It makes me want to keep going. I think I need to fill in with a few more things but this is the beginning of something happy. I also switched out some pillows with color and more. Thank you again for your inspiration.”

Well, Sue Ann, we love nothing more than a blank wall that transforms from a caterpillar into a glorious butterfly.

Here’s Miss Sue Ann’s handiwork… Voila!, Miss Till’s work just after we inspired her at our presentation and, again, after we encouraged to keep pushing the envelope.

Let’s talk, Sue Ann, you are Miss Madcap Cottage Miromar Design Center 2013!

And, Sue Ann, spread out over the wall… Don’t just cluster everything in that one tight space. Expand, and fill that entire blank wall and make it fabulous!

Wall Flower!

Here was Miss Sue Ann Till's first stab at taking a dull wall and making it dramatic after attending our presentation at the Miromar Design Center. We are thrilled, Sue Ann, that we helped inspire you!

Yahoo, Sue!

John and I emailed with Miss Sue Ann Till, and she was open to adding more art to her wall. Bravo, Sue Ann! You are our Showcase Showdown winner!


The Marvelous Miromar Design Center!

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Marvelous Miromar!

Next time you are anywhere near Naples, Florida be sure to visit the stunning Miromar Design Center, an incredible resource both for the design community and engaged consumers alike. P.S. Superstar interior designer Juan Montoya designed the Center's public spaces, and they are stunners.


Morning! Apologies for being a tad remiss of late with our blog posts… Our dance card has been full to the brim. Between working on the Junior League Showhouse that opens in mid April in Greensboro, North Carolina, redesigning my parents’ guesthouse in Tampa, Florida, and John having surgery to repair damage from a car accident three years ago, holy moly!

Calgon, take me away!

Last week, John and I were in Florida to give a presentation at the truly amazing Miromar Design Center. Situated just north of Naples, Florida and right off I-75, the Miromar Design Center is a delicious surprise. With the Miromar Outlets just across the street, you might think the Design Center would be an amalgam of home-focused outlet shops, but it’s not. Rather step inside, and enter a Juan Montoya-designed, sprawling center that houses world-class showrooms including Baker, Ann Sacks, and our favorite, Webster & Company.

John and I were invited by Webster & Company’s wonderful Mark Fanta and the Miromar Design Center’s fabulous Lynne Groth to talk about color and pattern, and we had more than 200 engaged design enthusiasts attend our lecture. John and I were also lucky enough to meet the visionary behind the various Miromar developments, the lovely and gracious Margaret Antonier, who introduced us. Afterwards, we were all treated to champagne and cupcakes in the Webster & Company showroom. We met wonderful folks and had a blast.

John and I are thrilled to now be part of the Miromar community… Here’s to further madcap adventures at the Miromar!

P.S. Previous lecturers at the Miromar Design Center have included Charlotte Moss, Mary McDonald, and Martyn Lawrence Bullard, so John and I were humbled to be included in the mix.

Dapper Dudes!

The Madcap Cottage gents with the amazing Mark Fanta who oversees the Webster & Company showrooms at the Miromar Design Center. What a stylish gent, to boot!

Let's Get Madcap!

The topic of our presentation was "Madcap & Marvelous: A Passion for Pattern." We had a blast pulling the presentation together and tried to offer lots of take-away tips for the audience.

Meet and Greet!

The Madcaps address queries from audience members after our lecture. Such fun, and such great queries!

Chit, Chat!

John and I love nothing more than working with excited consumers. Here we are in the stunning Webster & Company showroom talking with some design enthusiasts after our presentation.



A Madcap Cottage Close-Up!

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013


And how is your week going?

John and I are always thrilled to receive coverage in magazines, especially publications in Europe and abroad (maybe that will get us a client in London or Beijing, and then we could then spend months abroad!).

So here’s a lovely feature in the Dutch magazine Residence on our Brooklyn home that has just hit top Amsterdam newsstands.

Who know what the Dutch folks wrote about us, but, hopefully, it is all about how fun we are and why we should be hired to design top Dutch households…

Dutch Delight!

Here's the first spread of the multi-page feature on Madcap Cottage in top Dutch design magazine Residence. Our den is a fabulous mix of patterns and hues. The chandelier hails from a flea market in Miami, Florida. The ottomans will be up for sale on our next One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale on May 4. The rug is from Merida, and the coffee table is for sale on our 1st Dibs boutique.


A Visit to London’s Georgian-Era Brunswick House!

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover!

Here's John en route to Lassco and the Brunswick House Cafe, curiously tucked-away amongst modern buildings in London's Vauxhall neighborhood.


OK, OK, I have been a tad remiss in my blog posts… Apologies. But running around Russia and London tired me out! But I am back…

Last week, John and I paid a visit to one of our most favorite, tucked-away spots in London, Brunswick House, a tumble-down former stately home that is now occupied by Lassco, a fabulous source for architectural salvage items and antiques, and the Brunswick House Cafe. The Georgian-era manse sits in the middle of very modern buildings in London’s Vauxhall neighborhood–and just around the corner from MI6, the British secret service headquarters made famous by James Bond–and is a totally unexpected and magical delight. Step inside, and enter a world of inspiration and tatty glamour.

Here’s a little tour…

Cafe Society!

Here's the interior of the Brunswick House Cafe, a charming spot for lunch or dinner amongst the evocative antiques.

Stairway to Heaven!

A charming "moment" upon the stairs at Lassco. I love the sculpture tucked into the windowsill.

Parlor Games!

The sprawling second-floor parlor room at Lassco... The mansion not only serves as a trove for antiques lovers but is also available to rent for private parties...

Dining by Design!

Here's a fabulous dining area at Lassco packed full of treasures. John picked up some glorious antique prints of British fountains here for my birthday.


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...


I hope that everyone is having a fabulous week…

Have you bookmarked our two online boutiques?

One Kings Lane


1st Dibs

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.


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.