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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

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

Archive for the ‘Renovations’ Category

Please Hold, Exciting Changes Afoot…

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Gang:

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, www.madcapcottage.com, or join the conversation with us on social media.

Tra-la-la!

 

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Lessons Learned at Burghley House!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Burghley Brilliance!

Here I am outside of Burghley House, the Cecil family's 16th-century pile in Stamford, north of London. Note the "ha-ha" behind me, the cut in the lawn that separates the manicured portion from the section where the livestock roams. From the house the ha-ha is not visible and the lawn looks seamless.

Gang:

As you know if you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, John and I are just back from three weeks in England. We are lucky enough to visit the UK several times a year, and it is truly our second home. In fact, I think we know London better than we do New York City. Which, by the by, is A-OK with us.

Each August, we travel to the United Kingdom for an extended visit, and we tick off a slew of great country homes… We rent a car and head off from London. There’s nothing better than seeing an amazing home to offer design inspiration. John and I always return from England with gobs of ideas floating about in our heads.

This past trip, we visited several amazing homes and palaces, including Kelmarsh Hall, Waddesdon Manor, Hatfield House, and more. First up was Burghley House, the amazing 16th-century home crafted near the market town of Stamford by Sir William Cecil. The house is a stunner and well worth a good long morning’s visit. There’s so much history there…

Go pay a visit to Burghley for yourselves…

Here are some ideas that I lifted from Burghley House that you can bring to your own home…

Kitchen Confidential!

Why not display your pots and pans on your walls... If they are good-looking pots and pans, that is. And granted, you might not have a 40-foot-plus ceiling like the Cecils, but you can still make an impact whether your kitchen is postage stamp-sized or sprawling.

Thoroughly Modern, Silly!

Why not mix a modern sofa with ancestral portraits and paneling? The Cecils did, and it works swimmingly!

Fringe with Benefits!

Embellish a chair. Add some embroidery, add some brush fringe... Have fun with seating. Why not take a humble chair, and use a glue gun to take it from so-so to sublime.

Mix, Match, Marvelous!

As the Madcap Cottage gents always say, mix and match patterns. Here's a sitting room in Burghley House with gobs of patterns in it. Do try this at home, even if it's simply having some fun with your throw pillows.

Bucket List!

Here's a fabulous barrel that I spotted in Burghley House's gardens. Take a garden barrel from the like of Lowe's or Home Depot, and give it a eau de Nil paint treatment... Voila, perfection!

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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.

Gang:

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?

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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.

Gang:

Morning!

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!

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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!

Gang:

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!

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Come Visit Us at 1st Dibs @ NYDC!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Gang:

Happy holidays!

As you might know, John and I have just unveiled a retail space at 1st Dibs @ NYDC, situated on the 10th floor of the New York Design Center on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The floor is a treasure trove of 1st Dibs dealers, and there is something for every taste and sensibility. Best of all, the floor is open to the public AND is open on Saturdays.

If you are looking for glorious holiday gifts, the Madcap Cottage space at 1st Dibs @ NYDC offers loads of colorful and bespoke options.

Here are some shots of us pulling together the vest pocket-sized space.

Come pay us a visit!

Small Slice of Heaven!

Here's our tiny "booth" at 1st Dibs @ NYDC. We painted the white walls a creamy hue and then set about giving the walls horizontal stripes in jaunty colors to make the space really magical!

Paint, Please!

After taping the walls with painter's tape, John and I painted the space in Madcap Cottage signature pink-and-orange stripes. We plan to change the booth monthly to give it a very fresh and editorial quality.

Stripe Tease!

Here's our booth with the painter's tape removed. The stripes look amazing, n'est-ce pas? Why not stripe a room in your own home--it's easy!

Mirror, Mirror!

John installs a groovy rug from Urban Outfitters that perfectly matches our sensibility. The mirror on the wall is for sale and is truly a stunner.

The Best of Everything!

Our Madcap Cottage goodies are in place. All that is missing is our logo upon the wall.

Logo-licious!

John installs our Madcap Cottage logo upon the walls of our booth at 1st Dibs @ NYDC, and we are open for business! The two vintage Venetian-style chairs are from Baker Furniture, and note all of the beautifully priced objects upon the whimsical side table.

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Filming with HGTV!

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Sofa.com Sublime!

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

Gang:

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 Sofa.com two-seat sofa that John and I adorned with custom Madcap Cottage pillows.

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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.

Gang:

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.

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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.

Gang:

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.

Genius!

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.

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Calling Cosentino!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Heart of Stone!

The main entrance to Cosentino's stunning glass-and-marble-wrapped corporate headquarters in the Almeria region of southern Spain. John and I were invited as guests of Silestone to visit their factory and talk about trends, and we have so enjoyed our sojourn.

Gang:

John and I were lucky enough to have been invited by the fabulous Spanish natural stone surfaces company Cosentino to pay a visit as their guests to their sprawling factory and corporate campus in the arid climes of southern Spain.

And this past week has been a fabulous mix of meet and greets, tours, exploration of top-secret new products, and boozy dinners. John and I have had so much fun with our hosts Lorenzo Marquez of Cosentino and Jim Brodsky of Sharp Communications, not to mention our fellow travelers Kim Lewis and her husband, Brandon, and Mark Williams and his partner, Steve.

We are simply crazy for the Cosentino product line–including Silestone–and you should be, too! Here’s a peek into our adventures. Ole!

High Noon!

John gives off a very matinee idol attitude as he sets out to explore the region's dramatic marble quarries. Note the massive blocks of marble stacked in the background.

Rock On!

Here's our fellow trend spotter Kim Lewis, the production designer of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, striking a fetching pose in the region's famous marble quarries.

Bathing Beauty!

John road-tests one of Cosentino's stunning free-standing bathtubs. We want one!

Think Sink!

John and I are crazy for the Cosentino range of products. Here, Silestone sinks in a rainbow array of hues. We were especially smitten with the bubble gum pink model.

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