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

Archive for the ‘india’ 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.




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.


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.


Dreaming of India!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Scarlet Fever!

Our our recent trip to India, John and I were lucky enough to take a Jeep tour through the Thar desert near Jodhpur. We loved being in the middle of this incredibly arid landscape and seeing native villagers dressed in every color of the rainbow. The Indian color sensibility is revelatory.


Our heartfelt wishes to friends who are combating the devastation of Hurricane Sandy… We are thinking about you!

John and I made out A-OK in Brooklyn, and we were lucky enough to not have the power go off and there was no damage to our home. We are very thankful…

Today I needed a little color-packed pick-me-up, so I turned my sights upon the sights and smells of India. As you may remember, John and I visited India last year, and we immediately fell in love with the country. It’s a heady mix of extreme contrasts, but somehow it all works. We were completely transfixed. And transfigured.

One of my most favorite afternoons in India was a Jeep tour that we did of the Thar desert outside of Jodhpur when we visited native villages and viewed local wildlife. John and I were especially moved by the juxtaposition of the arid desert and the wonderfully rich hues worn by local villagers. We would turn a corner in the middle of nowhere, and there would be a woman in the most stunning pinks, greens, and blues with a jug perched atop her head. The sky was exceptionally clear, and the colors stood out like a Technicolor film clip against the dry, dry landscape.

Here are a few snapshots from our visit.

Tip, Top Tour!

Here I am in the Jeep during our wonderful tour of the beautiful Thar desert.

Chop, Chop!

Check out this elegant gentleman trimming his tree in a stunning white get-up paired with a bright red turban. What a gorgeous contrast against the very arid landscape!

Nice Jug!

Check out this frisky lady en route from the well with a big plastic jug upon her head. Did this woman choose to wear beige? Hell, no! Kudos that color plays such an important role in India. Would you have worn such eye-popping hues to visit your local well?

Green with Envy!

I loved this gigantic pile of pale green melons sitting by the roadside. The sudden "pops" of color that we experienced during our Jeep tour were simply gorgeous.


Gorgeous! Glamour! Glitter! Get Ready!

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Think Pink!

A pair of stunning and custom ikat-upholstered chairs that we are offering at our next One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale on November 13th. Think pink, folks! This sale is going to kick some major ass.


Have you marked your calendars for our next One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale on November 13? It’s going to be an extravagant extravaganza, and how, and how!



Crank up the Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Dear Prudence,” and get ready to shop. Think gorgeous. And there will be LOTS of small and affordable holiday gifts, too!!!

Cocktail sets. Mirrors. Chairs. Lamps. Out-of-this-world objects. Sofas. Tables. Whimsical wonders.

Here’s a taste of our stash… We have 300 items going into the sale.

Shell Seekers!

Vintage brass seashells and a shell box to add some briny brilliance to a table in your home.

Floral Fever!

A vintage floral-embellished coffee set with a matching tray. Total fetch!

Get Lit!

Our One Kings Lane sale will offer gobs of gorgeous lamps, like this pair of beautifully detailed Chinoiserie table lamps.

Winging It!

John and I crafted this wingback chair in marvelous Indian-inspired fabrics. Anchor a room that lacks pizzazz with this perch. Who needs pie when there's India?

Think India!

A pair of armchairs upholstered in multiple Indian-influenced fabrics... Comfort. Check! Clever. Check! Totally unique! Naturally.

Bench Set!

A Chinoiserie-styled bench with a fetching floral pillow that the Madcap Cottage gents crafted from a fabulous retro fabric. Jason's mom had this fabric in her bedroom circa-1975.

Game Face!

A wonderful burled wood card table with Chinoiserie chairs done up in a pink upholstery that are totally bananas.

Petal Pusher!

A gorgeous armchair with all sorts of floral patterns as only the Madcap Cottage boys can do. Push some petals, blossom dearies.


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.


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?



The Art of the Deal!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Hail, Britannia!

To celebrate the Queen's jubilee and the Olympics, John and I transformed our hall into a shrine that celebrates all things British. Hail, Britannia! We plan to take the space Indian in the fall, so stay tuned. Switch out your artwork frequently... Why not, n'est-ce pas?


I hope you are having a very spiffy weekend. We are about to hop in the car and head up to Boston and Maine for a week: I cannot wait for a little New England sojourn. Think lots of fried clams, antiques shopping, and Yankee-styled cocktails. And I am thrilled to re-visit favorite spots such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the fabulous Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

John and I were up early this morning and started re-hanging artwork (Our neighbors are out of town, so it’s OK!). We love to change up our displays of prints, photographs, and lithographs to keep our walls constantly evolving, and, yes, you should try this at home. We use small picture hanging nails so that our walls don’t get too dinged up, and we map out our plan on a piece of paper before we break out the hammer.

Here’s a lovely piece that recently did on me and John  and how we hang artwork (click on the image, below). Give it a read, and maybe pick up some fun suggestions along the way. And if you do decide to re-hang some of your artwork, send us photos of your handiwork.

Have a fabulous week ahead!

Art of the Deal!

Click on the image, above, to read's feature on the Madcap Cottage boys and how we hang artwork.


Have You Shopped Our Madcap Cottage Finds?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Fabulous Finds on 1st Dibs!

Browse the Madcap Cottage selection of one-of-a-kind items for sale on our website. Simply click on the image, above, and get ready to browse an exceptional selection of fabulous finds, all of which are currently for sale courtesy of the Madcap Cottage gents.


How’s everyone?

Any good stories to tell? Any dirt to dish? Bring it…

Meanwhile, I hope everyone has browsed our fabulous selection of one-of-a-kind finds on the “Shop” section of our website,… Um, you should be shopping, and how!

Click on the “Shop” tag, and you will be taken to our shopping portal that resides within the divine 1st Dibs website… If you want to know more about, say, the almost-lifesize brass deer or the gorgeous hood chair done up in a sublime Tony Duquette fabric, simply click on the product and then click through “Contact the Designer” and fill out the easy-breezy form. John or I will get back to you with details on the product and its price within minutes.

So look us over!


Come Hear the Madcap Cottage Boys Speak!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Let's Talk Trends!

Come hear me and John talk design trends at the Hearst Tower on June 13th from 6pm-8pm. Plus, there will be cocktails, you can drink up, darling buttercups! Bites and spirits, um, yes, please! And don't be stingy with those pours, folks!


What ARE you up to the evening of June 13th?

Why not come hear the Madcap Cottage boys talk about trends, design in general, why we hate beige, and what we spotted at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Chicago…

We might tell a few jokes, show a video or two, and do a little dance. Just because.

We’d love to have you! Follow the RSVP information in the invite, above.


Please Come to Our Open House!

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Hello, Handsomes!

Please come tour our Brooklyn home on Sunday, June 3, courtesy of the Lefferts Manor Association. There will be nine homes and gardens on the tour. Mark your calendars!


I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend… The weather has been glorious in New York, so we have been lapping up the sun!

Next weekend John and I will host our World-Famous Annual Memorial Day Weekend and Vintage Finds Bonanza Yard Sale at Madcap Cottage in Hobart, New York, so DO swing by if you plan to be in the Catskills.

Our yard sale, as usual, is going to be totally killer. Bang-bang, babycakes.

And then on Sunday, June 3, John and I are opening our home in Brooklyn for the annual Lefferts Manor Association. You’ve seen our home published in Domino, New York magazine, and British House & Garden, and now you can come over, too. The tour is $20 (or $25 on the day of the tour) and includes several wonderful homes and gardens in our neighborhood as well as refreshments.

So come see where the madness and the magic takes place.



Panel Discussions with Panache!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Jet, Set, Go!

Learn all about the high-octane world of jet-set glamour at the panel discussion I am hosting in LA next week for the Legends of La Cienega design doings. Click on the image, above, to peruse all of the Legends of La Cienega events.


I am crazy about being asked to participate in panel discussions… And I am thrilled that I will be participating in a panel at the Legends of La Cienega design events in Los Angeles next week on the topic of jet-set glamour. The discussion will take place on Friday, May 11th from 1pm-2pm at Szalon Antiques (910 North La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood), and, yes, there will be valet parking. I am moderating, and the panelists include delicious designers Jeff Andrews, Natasha Baradaran, Erika Brunson, and Donna Livingston.

It’s going to be fun, and I promise that the discussion will be at least a tad provocative. So if you are in LA next week, please do come!