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

Archive for the ‘Paint the floor’ 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.




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...


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!


A Bit of Color on this Drab Day!

Monday, October 29th, 2012

The Unloved Little House!

Here's the former garage at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York when John and I purchased the property. The garage was a mess and was totally shrouded with out-of-control greenery. Our goal was to take this forlorn folly and make it fabulous. Hopefully, you can pluck ideas from our plan of attack to employ in your own home.


John and I are hunkered down in Brooklyn as Sandy terrorizes the East Coast… We have wine and I made tacos, and I am cleaning out my closet and am still wearing my pajamas at 1:30pm so it’s not all bad… John is listening to Christmas carols on Pandora for some reason. Curious, n’est-ce pas? Weenie and Jasper are snoozing.

As the day is totally drab and dull, I thought I would offer some color, a Technicolor-hued punch…

Here’s a photo tour of our former garage at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York that John and I transformed from a tumbledown structure into a rainbow-hued screened-in porch.

I hope you enjoy the journey…

Stay dry, and stay safe!

Al Fresco Elegance!

New roofing, screened doors, and a cupola that John and I purchased online take the exterior of the garage and make it gorgeous. The cupola is vinyl-clad, so it will never need painting. I am not a fan of vinyl siding, but here it makes total sense.

Interior Motives!

John and I had the interior patched and a new cement floor poured. And we carved-out screened windows that look onto our backyard. A pale blue ceiling helps open up the space.

Patio, Daddy-o!

John and I found some beat-up old garden furniture and had it powder coated a bright lemon yellow. The results are perfectly sunny and delicious! Find garden furniture at a yard sale, and have it powder coated to give it new life.

Fabric of Life!

John and I came up with a fun fabric scheme that mixes lots of easy-to-care-for indoor/outdoor fabrics in big, bold hues.

Dog Days of Summer!

Jasper eyes the work in progress. Almost complete!

Hello, Jasper!

And here's the finished product... John and I were lucky enough to have the screened-in porch appear in the magazine DIY. Jasper makes himself right at home in the finished screened-in porch, now renamed The Little House. Floor paint transformed a cement floor into something fabulous. John crafted the window treatments from Ikea using a stamp that he picked up at a flea market with fabric paint.

Et Voila!

Note the inexpensive Chinese lanterns that dangle overhead, an inexpensive way to add "punch" and "pizzazz" to any space. The cupola adds further "architecture" to a roofline that was sorely lacking interest.


A Gorgeous Little Mention!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Let's Get Cozy!

The lovely and talented Nashville style setter Madison Murray Carlos featured our Brooklyn home on her fabulous blog, Cozy Majestic. Wow, what a glamorous treat. Click on the image, above, to see Madison's whole posting. So fun!


My “Dining Chair Dilemma” post sparked lots of feedback, and the consensus seems to be that I did the right thing by buying the plastic sleeve covers for the chairs. Ghetto fabulous, n’est-ce pas?

Moving on… Today, the lovely Madison Murray Carlos showcased our Brooklyn row house on her divine blog, Cozy Majestic, and John and I are over the moon. Madison has such lovely things to say about the Madcap Cottage gents.

Let’s see:

“If I could have anyone swoop into our little bungalow on the hill here in Nashville and put their magic touch on everything, it would be them.”

“Some commonly used phrases on their blog, Demystifying Design, include “Egads!,” “How droll!,”"Ooh la la!,” and “Bang bang, babycakes.” Does it get any better than that, y’all?”

I am just crazy for Madison. I think need a stiff cocktail right this very second to toast this fabulous post. Let’s bust out the Popov and pour 12 fingers. But no ice, it takes up too much room that the vodka could be occupying, n’est-ce pas?

Thank you, Madison! Bottoms up…



A Dining Chair Dilemma!

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Dining Room Delicious!

Here's our dining room in Brooklyn. John and I were inspired by the famous Gritti Palace hotel in Venice to craft something of an indoor garden with lots of Venetian references and whimsy in the space, and I think the results are wonderful. But the dining room chairs needed some work so that they wouldn't scratch the painted floor...


Happy Monday! Um, er. Well, anyhow, the week is off and running…

I am just crazy about our dining room. There’s a fabulous mix of patterns and colors, and the whole space is very soothing and cool and offers a sanctuary from the urban scene just outside the front door. I am especially partial to our vintage Venetian-style dining chairs that we purchased from our dear pal Frannie in California a few years back.

However, the dining chairs had me flummoxed.

Here’s the deal: Our dining room is floor is painted with Farrow & Ball paint, and I didn’t want to scratch the floor when we used the dining chairs. Hence, I hightailed it to Lowe’s for chair pads, the kind that have stickers and attach to the bottom of furniture. But after trying several different types of pads, none would stay put on the bottom of the chairs so I was constantly replacing them. How droll!

My solution? I found a company that creates clear plastic sleeve floor protectors. The small plastic “cap” slips over the leg of each chair and hugs the chair leg, and the felt pad at the bottom of the “cap” stays put as a result. It’s a little like a condom for a chair, albeit with a felt pad at the end.

And I am smitten! Our dining chairs now have felt pads that stay perfectly in place, and the floor has nary a scratch.

John thinks the sleeve floor protectors are sort of ghetto and remind him of slipcovering furniture with plastic, but I disagree.


Plastic Fantastic!

The clear plastic sleeve protector slips up over the chair leg and hugs the leg thereby keeping the felt pad at the bottom of the sleeve in place. Genius! Before you order a sleeve protector, double-check the measurement of your chair leg to make sure you purchase the correct size as the plastic doesn't have much "give."

Padding Perfection!

Here's a dining chair with the clear plastic sleeve protector attached. I barely notice the plastic "cap" that wraps each chair leg. The cushion of felt on the bottom of the sleeve protector slides wonderfully across the painted floor and has solved my woes. John disapproves, but I made an executive decision and the sleeve protectors are staying put.


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.



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.


Using Green as a Neutral!

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Bathroom Brilliance!

Here's a corner of our bathroom at Chester Court. The walls are an inviting green, and we used black vintage furniture, artwork, patterns, and an ethnic rug to add warmth to the green walls. The bathroom is super inviting and engaging and keeps the eye intrigued. We found the vintage Dorothy Draper cabinet on eBay. Note that we also painted the ceiling in the room green as there is no crown molding. This helps make the room feel larger.


Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a spiffy week…

One of our devoted blog followers–let’s call her Barb–wrote us a very kind missive last night about the use of the color green in her home. If you follow our work, you know that John and I are passionate about green and use it in many of our projects as a neutral.

But, notes Barb, green can be overpowering… And a tad antiseptic.

Good point, Barb!

After all, who wants to live in a world that channels Kermit the Frog? And green can also come across as too minty fresh…

So how to use green, but perhaps tone it down and warm it up…

Here are a few tips from your frisky friends at Madcap Cottage:

Mix green walls with black furnishings. Black will help “ground” the green and add a striking contrast. For example, place a black chest of drawers against a green wall. The eye will register black first and then the green, so green becomes a background hue instead of the prominent tone.

Hang lots of artwork. Tone down your green walls with brightly hued photographs, prints, and paintings. The eye will take in the gorgeous artwork first.

Paint your molding a glossy green hue that is darker than your green wall color. The molding will “finish” the room and engage the eye.

Use patterns on your upholstery and pillows for visual interest and a dynamic energy. Solids are too static.

Layer rugs. Add drama with layered rugs over seagreass. A few ethnic-inspired rugs will add visual interest and color that will tone down the green. P.S. Always use seagrass, never sisal. Sisal is too unforgiving and shows stains. Seagrass is much more user-friendly and less maintenance. We are especially partial to the seagrass creations from the folks at Merida.

So go paint a room a room green this weekend, and send us photos…

And thank you for your query, Barb!


Bed Head!

John and I used green and yellow to delicious effect in our bedroom at Chester Court. The bold graphic patterns create a dynamic quality that reads as anything but minty or clinical. And the pops of color on the pillowcases and duvet add further warmth.

A Bar Afar!

Here's a bar that John and I designed that employs green-on-green-on-white wallpaper and a green chair rail. The numerous patterns, prints, and brightly hued plates add warmth to what might have been a too-cold space. And the frondy leaf pattern on the chair brings a taste of the tropics into the space. And how about the green-and-white diamond pattern-painted floor. Fun, n'est-ce pas?