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

Archive for the ‘Paint the ceiling’ 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 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.


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.


Putting on the Ritz!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Paris When It Sizzles!

Here's John standing in the gorgeous Place Vendome outside the Hotel Ritz Paris last Christmas. We had just taken the overnight train from Berlin to Paris, and some R&R at the fabled Ritz certainly soothed our travel-weary selves.


Happy Election Day! John and I stood in line for 3 hours today to vote in Brooklyn… The situation was a mess… And there were no writing utensils to be had to fill-in the voting SAT exam-like “bubbles” once we made it inside. Happily, we happened to have a pen in our bag… Wow! Didn’t we learn anything from the whole “chad” situation a few years back?

On another–and more serene and lovely–note, I thought I would revisit our stay at the fabled Hotel Ritz Paris last holiday season. John and I are so lucky to experience some really amazing hotels, and the Ritz certainly ranks right up there. The Ritz recently closed for a multi-year renovation, so John and I were thrilled to stay for a few nights before the hostelry shuttered its doors for a top-to-bottom overhaul.

I have been to Paris many, many times, but I had never stepped foot inside the Ritz. Frankly, the hotel scared me. I figured that I would be looked down upon or told that the hotel was for guests only or something. But, no, I could not have been more mistaken: The staff was beyond lovely and gracious. There was none of the Parisian attitude that I have come to expect in the City of Lights. And our hotel room, although certainly ready for a bit of freshening up, was luxe and very spacious… And the views over the city were stunning. And don’t even get me started on the myriad call buttons scattered about the bedroom and bath to ring the maid and the valet. I delighted by sitting in the tub and pulling the cord entitled “Maid.”

I cannot wait to see the Ritz when it reopens in two years.

And now it’s time to open some wine and watch the election results…

Deluxe Digs!

Here's our very luxe bedroom on the top floor of the Hotel Ritz Paris. John and I loved all of the gold detailing... Very Marie-Antoinette, n'est ce-pas?

And So to Bed!

An assortment of buttons to push beside the bed. I kept pushing buttons, and John got mad every time there was a knock on the door because of my antics. The "femme de chambre" and I became quite close.

Room with a View!

Here's the stunning view from our room at the Ritz. The Vendome Column in the distance sits in the center of the famous Place Vendome, the Ritz's main entrance.

Marble Marvel!

Here's our marble-clad bathroom with its gold-plated swan faucets. I felt like the Queen of Sheba in this fabulous and over-the-top loo.

Maid in the Shade!

I loved these two pulls in the bathtub for ringing the Maid and the Valet. I want these at home, n'est-ce pas? Fabulous. The Maid was very accommodating and was more than happy to add more hot water to my tub.


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.


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.


Time for a Little Kitchen DIY!

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Kitchen Confidential!

The summer issue of Do It Yourself magazine features John's renovation of his brother and sister-in-law's kitchen in Minneapolis. Scroll down to the "Kitchen Wisdom" link at the bottom of the installment to access the pdf of the story, packed with loads of ideas.


As you probably know, John is a contributing editor at several of the Meredith Corporation’s various magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens. He also produces articles for the likes of Do It Yourself magazine, a terrific and color-filled publication that gives readers gobs of, natch, do-it-yourself options.

The summer issue of Do It Yourself features a fun and whimsical kitchen that John designed for his brother and sister-in-law in Minneapolis.

Here are some of his tips:

-Be bold with color.

-Top it with tin.

-Clean up your cabinets.

To read the whole story and to get some terrific ideas to bring into your home, click on the pdf, Kitchen Wisdom.


P.S. We are so excited to follow our good pal and Meredith Corporation editor Lacey Howard’s upcoming trip to London and the Olympics on her blog, Howardgirlshopthepond. Check it out!


Den of Earthly Delights!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Nice Basket!

My parents' den circa 1982 in our former house--a massive Mediterranean number built in the 1920s--on Davis Islands in Tampa, Florida. The fabulous basket weave wallpaper and upholstery covered everything in the room, including the ceiling and doors. Brilliant! And look at the actual baskets scattered about, fabulous.


John and I wish all of you a fabulous July 4th holiday… I plan to craft Betsy Ross-inspired blueberry and strawberry daiquiris at my parents’ beach house on Siesta Key, Florida and wave a few flags and stumble down to the beach for the fireworks display.

Meanwhile, I am still in Tampa and going through old photos. I came upon this slightly out-of-focus-but-still-wonderful snapshot of our den circa 1982. In a fabulous fit of whimsy, my parents covered their entire TV room in a jaunty basket weave-patterned wallpaper–including the ceiling and closet doors–and then painted the room’s molding banana leaf green. And then they stenciled giant banana leaves upon the floor. Amazing, huh? Can you see where much of my inspiration comes from? In this photo, my grandmother Gayle is holding court to the left while my aunt Phyllis holds my baby sister Jennifer Alice. The only thing missing are a few cocktails on a tray.

I am totally inspired by this vintage room, so watch for basket weave patterns to soon show up in the designs at Madcap Cottage.

Have a fabulous 4th!


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.



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!


London Calling (Or, Hello, British House & Garden)!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Think of England!

Our Chester Court home is featured in the glorious pages of the April issue of British House & Garden magazine... Run, don't walk to your nearest newsstand that carries international editions. John and I are so thrilled: In fact, we are doing a small jig as we type this blog installment.


And how was your weekend? Any good design projects going on? Do tell!

And did you check out our new Madcap Cottage website?

John and I are so lucky to have our projects written about in the press, and we are especially thrilled that British House & Garden magazine has featured our Chester Court home in their April issue. Wow, we are over the moon.

And they had me write the story! How’s that for drop-dead gorgeous?!

Here’s a little sneak peak of the feature…


A Top Editor Talks!

Sue Crewe, British House & Garden's amazing Editor in Chief, opens her April "From the Editor" by discussing our house. I love that she calls our home "bonkers." Brilliant!

Hello, Chester Court!

Here's the opening spread to the story on our Chester Court home in British House & Garden. Jasper and Weenie get some major play in the feature... Jasper loves to pose.