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

Archive for the ‘Paint a front door’ 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.




Filming with HGTV!

Friday, November 16th, 2012 Sublime!

One of the stars of our HGTV television shoot for the program "You Live in What?" was our brand-new Descartes two seat sofa in Cookie House linen-cotton. If you don't know British import, you should! Newly arrived in NYC, crafts the most gorgeous and bespoke sofas, chairs, and footstools in wonderful fabrics--and at a delicious price point.


Happy weekend!

John and I were lucky enough to have HGTV film our home upstate last weekend for their fabulous show “You Live in What?.”

Madcap Cottage was once an 1840s-era schoolhouse, so the home perfectly fit the show’s concept. The day went swimmingly… Thanks to producer Toni Donaldson and her terrific team for making the shoot a lot of fun.

Apparently, Madcap Cottage will appear on HGTV in early 2013, so stay tuned!

Weenie Beanie!

Weenie snoozed during the entire HGTV shoot upon her custom Madcap Cottage dog bed while Jasper ran about and caused a bit of a ruckus. Did you know that John and I craft custom dog beds? Well, now you do!

Descartes Delicious!

Here's another view of our two-seat sofa that John and I adorned with custom Madcap Cottage pillows.


Letter from London: Street Numbers!

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Sloane Ranger!

London calling! John and I are crazy for this big, bold, and bodacious address that we spotted painted upon a terracotta-hued column near Sloane Square in the heart of London.


As you know, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of making a statement with your front door.

Paint your door a bright color.

Add interesting plantings in pots.

Hang up a big brass door knocker…

Or take a page from our perambulations around London…

John and I are in the British capital again this week shopping for a client, and we love the painted door numbers that your favorite two-some has spotted all over town. Simple, chic, and MAJOR impact!

Why not order a stencil kit from Martha Stewart, and create a totally bespoke door number with a little paint and a paint brush.


Wine Me, Dine, 64 Me!

If you have a column or a planter in front of your home, why not paint a street number upon it? Or paint a big number directly upon your front door.

Big & Bold!

This number 47 was totally wow-ee! I love the use of a primary color and a background hue to really create an impact.


Put Some Utter-ly Fabulous in Your Shutters!

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Green with Envy!

John and I spotted these delicious pistachio-green shutters in the charming Provencal town of Eygalieres. See what some colorful shutters--and a painted front door--can do to the facade of your home...


John and I are gamboling about Provence, France… Don’t you just love that word “gamboling?” We certainly do. Provence is so lovely, and the folks are so much nicer than those jaded Parisians with whom I am up to here…

But more on the Parisian poubelle in another blog.

As John and I have skipped from Avignon to Gordes, Menerbes, and Les Baux, we have taken in so many wonderful architectural details that have inspired us.

Take Provencal shutters, for instance.

Does you home boast shutters? And, if so, are they black or white? Why not take them up a few notches with a glorious color like Christian Dior gray, periwinkle, or Fortnum & Mason green like they do in a mountain town like Lacoste?

Your overhauled shutters will take the exterior of your home from so-so to simply stunning…

Heart of Stone!

I am not always a fan of pale blue when used in an exterior scheme, but these pale blue shutters perfectly accentuate the stone facade of this home in the town of Menerbes in the heart of Provence.

Mellow Yellow!

A jaunty yellow shutter strikes a dramatic contrast behind lush ivy in the charming, vest pocket-sized village of Venasque.

Scarlet Fever!

Here's an extreme version of a colorful facade that John and I spotted in the famous, ochre-hued village of Roussillon. I love the pairing of the burnt-orange facade and the deep red shutters. Wow-ee!


Why Not Add An Awning!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

West Hollywood Wonderful!

Here's an amazing metal scalloped awning with tiny tassels that I spotted in the heart of West Hollywood, California. So simple, and yet so chic. I would have added light fixtures with more impact and maybe potted tree ferns on either side of the front door, but that's just me, n'est-ce pas? And I would have painted the front door emerald green with black detailing.


Happy weekend! I am down in Tampa, Florida to visit my family, and, ooh-la-la, the weather couldn’t been more awful. Of course, it’s my luck that I drive down to sunny Florida in the middle of Tropical Storm Debby. So much for being outside, for hitting the beach… Of course, I hightailed to to fabulous St. Petersburg, FL yesterday despite the atrocious weather to do some antiquing on Central Avenue, but I was drenched after carrying my sundry purchases back to the trusty Subaru.

But enough about my weather-driven woes.

What’s on my design-minded mind today, you ask?

Well, two things.

First off, I am so tired of the whole polished nickel hardware phase that we all went through a few years back. I am talking about polished nickel pulls on kitchen cabinets, for instance. I have removed anything polished nickel in my life and replaced it with oil-rubbed bronze, my new default. Oil-rubbed bronze goes with absolutely everything, and I love its dark and moody hue.

Second on my list? Awnings! I am just crazy for a good awning: An awning can add so much impact to a facade that lacks verve. Think bright colors, stripes, scalloping, whimsical struts… Have fun with your awnings… Make a statement, and take your home from ho-hum to home run.

Here are a few images of awnings to inspire you.

Marvelous & Madcap!

Here are the green-and-white awnings at our Madcap Cottage in upstate New York. I took this shot before I gave the awnings their annual scrub: They are now looking extra fresh and fabulous. We ordered these awnings from the Special Order department at our local Lowe's.

Hail, Britannia!

Check out these jaunty awnings in London's Notting Hill neighborhood. I love a bold stripe. Life is so short, so why not make a big impact...


Did You Make It To Our House Tour?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Hello, Madcap Cottage!

Several hundred visitors toured our Brooklyn home yesterday as part of the 42nd Annual Prospect Lefferts Gardens House & Garden Tour... Thank goodness for booties! The very able volunteer Frank manned the front door with grace and good humor...


I hope you had a wonderful weekend…

John and I opened up our home in Brooklyn yesterday as part of the 42nd Annual Prospect Lefferts Gardens House & Garden Tour, and we had so much fun… Our neighborhood has wonderful camaraderie, and everyone was so complimentary about our home. And, frankly, there’s nothing like a good house tour to get a pad into tip-top shape, so we scrubbed and scrubbed and then scrubbed some more.

During the day, we even got to mix and mingle with pals like the fabulous blogger and design aficionado Ivy de Leon who drove in all the way from Princeton, New Jersey.

What a very fun and rewarding day…


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.



Knock, Knock… From Scoping Trends to Nifty Knockers!

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Trusty Trendspotters!

Here we are the Kitchen and Bath Show in Chicago with our fellow Silestone trendspotters Kim Lewis and Mark Williams as well as Silestone's delicious Patty Dominguez and Lorenzo Marquez.


And we are back…

John and I drove from New York to High Point, North Carolina last weekend to attend the furniture shows and then we drove to Florida to see my parents and then we hopped on a plane to attend the Kitchen and Bath Show in Chicago where we were invited by Silestone quartz surfaces to be trendspotters. Frankly, no one can sniff out a trend better than John and me, so we spotted and spotted then spotted some more. Ooh, I love figuring out what’s hot and happening, n’est-ce pas? And we are CRAZY about the folks at Silestone–what a delicious dream team!

And that was all in the space of four days, so you can see why I have not posted any new blog installments this week. It has been go, go, and go! And while I love being the ever-traveling jet-setter, I needed a little bit of a break from my life as a blog.

John and I wrapped up our Kitchen and Bath Show adventures yesterday and flew back from Chicago to Florida, and we are now happily ensconced in Tampa at my parents’ home. It’s in the mid-70s, and we are sitting on the patio with wine in hand and catching up on some work. The dogs love being in Florida: Jasper and Weenie are currently lounging about al fresco and soaking up the rays. We are off to Sarasota tomorrow for a little beach time–and, of course, we will be browsing the antiques shops in nearby Arcadia, Florida, a favorite source for bric-a-brac brilliance.

But let’s go back a few weeks to our adventures in China…

I thought I’d highlight a few design “moments” that really inspired us… As you know from reading this blog religiously, I love nothing more than a good pair of boadacious knockers. Door knockers, that is.

There’s nothing like some paint on a door and a divine knocker to make an impact. So knock, knock then knock some more… Just be sure to knock your knocker out of the park.

So here’s a look at some of the best knockers I spotted in China.


Knock, Knock, Knock!

A glorious lozenge-shaped black door with knockers shaped like hands. How clever, how chic!

Bright and Shiny!

John knocks the silver-covered door knocker at our room at the Waldorf Astoria on the Bund hotel in Shanghai.

Diabolical Devil!

A devilish-looking gent makes a major impact upon a fortress-like door.

Scarlet Fever!

A bright red door and gilt accessories at the fabled Forbidden City in Beijing.

Red or Dead!

A delicious impact thanks to a lacquer-red door with golden detailing and bright blue punctuation marks overhead.



All Hail Britannia and That Color-Crazy QEII!

Sunday, April 15th, 2012


Marvelous Majesty!

En route to Shanghai, I stumbled onto this page in British Vogue magazine that looks at what Queen Elizabeth II wore in the past year. And guess what, she hardly ever wore beige. Her Majesty prefers color--from blue and green to florals. So follow QEII's and the Madcap Cottage boys' advice, and banish the beige. Beige is just so damn boring! Click on the image, above, to see the Queen in all her color-packed glory.


As you probably know from reading our blog, our favorite expression is “Banish the beige!” And kudos to fabled American designer Dorothy Draper from whom we borrowed these very sage words. As John and I go through life we try to make it fun and whimsical, and we never take anything too seriously.

Color plays a big, big, big part in our lives. Yellow is yummy. Green is gorgeous. Blue is brilliant. Purple is posh. And always think pink!

But beige is boring. Beige is dull. Beige is predictable.

Hence, banish the beige!

Speaking of beige banishment…

While I was flying en route to Shanghai a few weeks back, I was reading the latest issue of British Vogue (a fabulous and very inspirational magazine) and came across the back page in which the magazine tracks what Queen Elizabeth II wore over the past year. And guess what: The fabulous QEII–who will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this summer–never wears beige. She wears loads of blues, greens, and florals, but Her Majesty was only spotted in beige 1 percent of the time.

You have to love the Queen. She gets it, and how!

So channel the Queen, and live your life in color. Go paint a wall a bright color, paint your front door purple, put on bright orange undies, dye your hair. Why not?


Beige is Boring!

Here's QEII in her very limited beige wardrobe. See how great Her Majesty looks in red and florals. In beige, QEII fades into the woodwork, and who wants to fade when you can be totally fabulous!


And We Are Back… Sauntering Around Shanghai!

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Shanghai Surprise!

Shanghai is a study in contrasts: Here, the bottle opener-like Shanghai World Financial Center skyscraper--home to the Park Hyatt Hotel--soars high above the historic and gorgeous Yuyuan Garden.


Did you miss us? We certainly missed you, and how, and how!

John and I were in China for almost three weeks, and, as you probably know, there is no access to Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube in that country… So there was no point in blogging, I figured, if I couldn’t send my posts out through the various social media portals. Frankly, I was chomping at the bit to send some posts, but those pesky Chinese government officials who like to censor the news (um, the Bo Xilai scandal was just kicking into gear as John and I toured China, but more on that anon) foiled my plans.

So now John and I are in London for a week, and it’s a delight being in a country that doesn’t censor the media.

But does that mean I didn’t like China? No, John and I loved it, and yet we also found the country repressive, clunky, fascinating, gorgeous, over-built, sprawling, delicious, charming, backwards, clunky (yes, again), historic, and yet lacking history.

Whew! How’s that for a mix?

But let’s start our journey back in Shanghai, where our Grand Tour originated.

Shanghai is an incredible city on the Huangpu River that mixes the historic and the modern brilliantly. On one side of the river, the 1920s-era buildings of The Bund district offer period-era charm thanks to their Art Deco lines and flourishes; across the Huangpu, the Pudong district boasts mile-high skyscrapers that light up at night like candy and flash advertisements upon their silver and glass skin that offer up everything from Volkswagens to jewels from Bulgari.

Bulgari? Volkswagen? But I thought this was a Communist country… Frankly, I have never seen so many Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton stores anywhere more than in China.

But I digress…

Step away from The Bund and the Pudong, and there are districts in Shanghai that really step back in time, but there isn’t as much pre-1900 architecture as you might expect. John and I especially enjoyed our early-morning tour of the Yuyuan Garden, a verdant oasis in the heart of Shanghai that dates to the 16th century. Step inside the garden’s walls, and you enter a cooling, soothing sanctuary that pairs dramatic garden pavilions awash in fanciful fretwork and red lacquer with koi-filled ponds, sculptural rock formations, and dragon-bedecked gates.

Here’s a little tour of our visit to Yuyuan…



Water World!

A charming "moment" just outside the Yuyuan Garden. Look at the boatman who tends to the pond--how picturesque! And John and I went bananas for the fabulous lacquer-red fretwork that wraps around the tea house that stands above the pond. God is truly in the details, n'est-ce pas?

Slice of Heaven!

A wonderful covered arcade leads across a koi-filled pond in the Yuyuan Garden. The architecture of the gardens was especially inspiring: Just look at the lovely rooflines and the glorious fretwork that punctuates the various pavilions and follies... We plan to add decorative whimsy to our side porch up at Madcap Cottage that channels all things Chinese.

Gateway to Heaven!

John and I simply fell in love with the Yuyuan Garden's divine arches and doorways that frame vistas of the landscape. Here, a gate shaped like a vase looks onto a quiet and verdant patio. Why not add some whimsy to a garden gate and make it anything but square...

Lacquer Forever!

John and I lapped up the gorgeous lacquer we spotted throughout China. Here, a pair of lacquer-red doors leads into a pavilion at Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden. Expect to see lots of lacquer-inspired looks coming from the Madcap Cottage boys in the upcoming months...

Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

Jason ponders an ancient stone within the Yuyuan Garden and wonders how he will ever survive for 3 weeks in China without access to Facebook and Twitter. Sadly, the carving upon the rock offered no solution to Jason's woes...