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DEMYSTIFYING DESIGN

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

Archive for the ‘Sustainable’ 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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Scenes from Randolph Street Market!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Gang:

As you know if you follow us on Facebook, this past weekend John and I were invited by our dear pal and interior design guru Kenneth Ludwig to display our vintage wares at Chicago’s Randolph Street Market. So John and I packed up the trusty Subaru with all sorts of fun finds and headed to the Middle West. Once there, we unpacked and combined our treasures (along with larger pieces that we had left in Chicago on a recent visit for this very purpose) in the striped Sally’s Cabana with Kenneth’s gorgeous upholstered pieces and case goods. Along with Kenneth’s terrific staff and his wonderful partner, Darren, we hawked and hustled and had a blast.

Here are some scenes from our long weekend at Randolph Street Market. Enjoy!

Escape from New York!

All packed up and ready to go. We left the dogs behind in NYC with a pal who house sits for us often.

The Big O!

Randolph Street Market sits just down the street from Oprah's studios. If you are a fan of Oprah's, this might impress you.

Men of the Moment!

John with the incredible Kenneth Ludwig, our host. Kenneth runs a divine showroom in Chicago's Merchandise Mart AND has Studio KL nearby. If you don't know Ken, you should.

It Takes Two!

Hanging out with the wonderful and hilarious Darren Fink, Kenneth's partner. Darren is a treat!

Banner Day!

Here's one of the Madcap Cottage banners that we had "run up." Fun, no?

All Wrapped Up!

John unpacks our wares...

Propping, propping!

John and I hung loads of Chinese lanterns and created charming "vignettes" throughout the tent. Amazingly, the green-painted pine hutch didn't sell, but it can now be purchased at Kenneth's Merchandise Mart showroom, #1445.

Stripe Tease!

Here's Sally's Cabana in action... Chic, nest-ce pas?

China Syndrome!

Two of our fabulous vintage Fitz & Floyd china figurines that we sold...

Top Germans!

Here I am hanging out with the gal who ran Randolph Street Market's rollicking beer garden. Lord have mercy.

Mildred a Go-Go!

The delicious Mildred who works with Ken gets packed up by Miller and John Covington... Mildred is a pistol and goes by the nickname "Whitney Houston."

Packed Up

The trusty Subaru is packed up and ready for the long haul back to NYC. The drive is fine until you reach Pennsylvania, and then it is endless and D-U-L-L!

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Chester Court: A Work in Progress!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Welcome to Chester Court!

Welcome to Chester Court, our historic dead-end street next to Prospect Park in Brooklyn!

Gang:

As you may know, John and I live on a historic cul-de-sac in Brooklyn in an up-and-coming neighborhood called Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. It’s a neighborhood that’s on the move, but it still has some “rough and tumble” moments. Not that it’s violent, but we need some street calming on our major artery of Flatbush Avenue (the Broadway of Brooklyn) and there’s a real problem with littering. But it’s definitely getting better… And John and I are helping…

As one of the folks spearheading the Chester Court Block Association, I am always thinking global and acting local. Little by little we are taking Chester Court from nice to knockout, and lots more on all of this later, including some history on this wonderful oasis. Last summer, for instance, I helped get street trees planted, and the city put in a new sidewalk and repaved the streets.

This morning, I tackled the two tree beds on my side of the street that really need some TLC. Last summer, these just-installed beds were covered in mulch but over the winter they got rather nappy and have been “used” both by dogs and careless cigarette smokers to throw their butts. So I brought home some 90 iris and day lily plants that I dug up at Madcap Cottage upstate, and I planted the stash bright and early before it got too hot. P.S. By using plants already in my arsenal, I was able to transform a space dramatically without spending any money… Do try this at home!

Check out my handiwork.

Bed Head!

Here are the two tree beds on Chester Court that really needed some TLC. Scroll down to see what two hours and about 100 irises and lilies can do to a once-forlorn space.

Green with Envy!

Here's the tree bed on the other side of Chester Court that I planted with irises last summer. The irises have held up swimmingly and inspired me to use them on the two tree beds across the street. I gave this tree bed some weeding today, and it looks great.

In the Bag!

Here are garbage full of iris and lily plants that I dug up last weekend at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York. Irises don't need much water and require an annual thinning out.

Pick Up, Please!

I crafted signs that I laminated at my local FedEx Office outpost to remind folks to clean up after their dogs. Plastic ties keep the signs in place.

Lots of Turnover!

I turned all of the dirt over in the tree beds to aerate the soil and make planting easier. The soil is surprisingly rich...

Dirty Deeds!

And here's the finished results with the lilies and irises in place. A few neighbors will help water the tree beds, and the hearty perennials should take off quickly. I petitioned the city for metal tree guards, and those should be installed by October... I will report back on how the plants are doing.

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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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An Affair with a Chair!

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Red or Dead!

Here is a "before" shot of one of the red chairs on my parents' front porch that I decided to overhaul. The rattan caning on the seat looked fine, but it was beginning to rot in the Florida humidity and needed to be replaced. Hence, a trip to Hancock Fabrics was a must! John and I had had the chairs powder coated bright red a few months before when they had begun to flake.

Gang:

I am currently down at my parents’ home in Tampa, Florida, but I fly to Los Angeles tomorrow and I can’t wait. Stay tuned for some West Coast design updates.

Meanwhile, whenever I come down to Tampa I always like to get a few projects going. But I am just not sure if I terrorize my Mom and Dad with my myriad putterings-about. For example, Lois and Jary (aka, Mom and Dad) do not seem to be too keen on my idea to transform their guest house into a Chinoiserie Chateau, a Palace of Pagoda Perfection. Stay tuned to see if I win this battle and get to lacquer their furniture and wallpaper their bathroom with a scenic scene from Peking back in the day.

Well, here’s one project that I did tackle today. My parents have terrific vintage French cafe chairs on their front porch, but they were getting a bit downtrodden and the rattan caning on the seats was beginning to rot. A few months back I had my parents powder coat the chairs as the original red paint was peeling off.

And then more recently I tackled the rattan caning. The rattan was not especially comfortable and was crumbling, so John and I decided to create custom seat covers with a very graphic indoor-outdoor fabric that we picked up for a song at Hancock Fabrics. I took one of the original rattan seats up to New York after my last visit to Florida to have our terrific upholstery guru craft five matching seat cushions in a festive Carnival print.

And, voila!, here are the results. The chairs offer a big punch of color and are far more comfortable than before. Success!

Now how do I convince Mom and Dad that a Chinoiserie-styled, painted bar and matching disco ball are must-have accessories for the guest house. To be continued…

Love Stack!

Here are the new seat cushions crafted of an indoor-outdoor fabric from Hancock Fabrics awaiting their star turn.

I Came, I Saw!

Jary removes the old rattan caning with a saw so that we could re-use the wood frame that sits within a lip in the chairs.

Shake It Up!

While my Dad and I worked on recovering the front porch chairs, my Mom practiced her hula hooping skills.

Weaving a Spell!

After my Dad used the saw to remove the edges of the rattan caning, I peeled off the remaining fibers and nails to create a clean base that could be then attached to the new seat cushions.

What a Screw-Up!

Getting ready to screw the new upholstered seat cushions to the original wooden frame that sits within a narrow lip on the chairs. I had the cushions made with a hollow center in their wooden frame to allow them to drain if they get wet in the rain or after a good hose-down.

Color Me Crazy!

The big reveal! And here are the five front porch dining chairs in all of their recovered glory. The seat covers can be popped off the chair to be hosed down, and the new fabric adds a "pop" of color that was lacking with the rattan caning, n'est-ce pas?

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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.

Gang:

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.

Enjoy!

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!

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A Very Nifty Mention in the New York Post!

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Paris, Please!

Thursday's New York Post featured an article about local up-and-coming designers and mentioned your favorite gents at Madcap Cottage. The Post also included an image of the Paris When It Sizzles armchair that John designed... Click on the image, above, to read the entire story.

Gang:

John and I woke up on Thursday to have a very chic mention in the New York Post… And the story featured an image of the Paris When It Sizzles armchair that John designed.

What fun!

The Write Stuff!

Here's the blurb about us in the New York Post. I think they captured our spirit and sensibility perfectly, n'est-ce pas?

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Yard Sale-o-Rama!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Basement Beauties!

Our basement at Madcap Cottage in upstate New York is overflowing with delicious treasures, so come take a look... This weekend!

Gang:

What’s on your agenda for Memorial Day weekend?

If you happen to be anywhere near New York’s Catskill Mountains, be sure to beeline it for Jason & John’s World-Famous Annual Yard Sale and Vintage Finds Bonanza that will take place at Madcap Cottage in Hobart, NY this Saturday and Sunday (May 26 and 27) from 8am-5pm.

Expect loads of treasures…

Furnishings! Lighting! Fabric! Wallpaper! A fountain. An amazing crafts table. A glorious day bed. A totally snug rug.

Plug this address into MapQuest, and come visit…

286 Maple Avenue

Hobart, NY 13788

Whether you stop by or no, we wish you an absolutely delicious and divine Memorial Day weekend!

Green Goddess!

Here's last year's yard sale in full swing... If you're really nice, I just might give you a tour of Madcap Cottage and maybe a glass of wine.

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Be Seated… Courtesy of Our May 8 One Kings Lane Sale!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Garden Glory!

A gorgeous red-and-green floral pattern paired with orange welting--a Madcap Cottage signature--bolsters this fabulous and deliciously comfortable armchair.

Gang:

John and I are driving back from Tampa, Florida to Brooklyn today, so that will be us tooling up I-95 with tables and suitcases tied to the roof of our Subaru like high-end okies.

But let’s talk design. Does your home lack stellar seating options?

Do you need some color in your chair selections?

Do you crave comfort and good looks paired with the pizzazz that only the Madcap Cottage gents can bring to fruition?

Well, you are in luck since our May 8 One Kings Lane sale has gobs of seating options…

Our One Kings Lane sale starts at 6pm on May 8, so mark your calendars and get ready to shop. We have 330+ items for sale this go-around, so there’s sure to be something for everybody and at every price point, too.

Peruse a few of our color-kissed perches…


 

Green Goddess!

A PAIR of glorious armchairs upholstered in a fabulous floral pattern with hot pink welting and buttons. Although these chairs don't have exactly the same shape (although the upholstery is the same on both), they would look terrific if paired together in front of, say, a fireplace or in a den. Plus, they are wildly comfortable and have the most amazing lines.

Think Pink!

A PAIR of vintage metal faux bamboo chairs that your friends at Madcap Cottage had powder-coated in a bold pink hue. We then upholstered the chairs in a fun brown-and-white and vaguely ethnic print with a gorgeous welting. Once outdoor chairs, these lovelies should now serve as focal points indoors.

Bamboo Brilliance!

A faux bamboo chair that the Madcap Cottage boys have tweaked with a fresh green-and-white graphic pattern fabric and lemon-yellow welting. The perfect occasional chair to use in various rooms of your home.

Ikat Fever!

John and I love nothing more than a fabulous ikat fabric, so here we have covered a PAIR of gorgeous and comfortable armchairs in a blue-and-white ikat pattern with rainbow-hued welting for a little extra kick. Chic!

Frondy & Fabulous!

A quartet of vintage armless dining chairs done-up in a frondy palm print that reminds us of the coffee shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Plus, a gorgeous vintage faux bamboo, glass-topped game table. Wow, what a stunning set, n'est-ce pas?

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Shop Our New Boutique on 1st Dibs!

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Madcap & Marvelous!

Click on the image, above, to visit our just-opened "One of a Kinds" boutique on 1st Dibs. John and I have searched the world for an amazing selection of goods that will transform your home.

Gang:

As you know, John and I love doing sales, both online and off…

We are constantly scouring the globe (and we mean, the globe) for fabulous finds… We have unearthed divine textiles in Turkey, furnishings in India, and table lamps in the hinterlands of Florida. Each of these items receives the Madcap Cottage tweak and twist, and then we offer them up to you to bring some magic, color, and verve into your own home.

So bring on the sales!

John and I are hosting a Tastemaker Tag Sale on One Kings Lane on May 8th, so MARK your calendars.

And we will be hosting our World-Famous Annual Yard Sale over Memorial Day weekend at Madcap Cottage in Hobart, New York, smack in the center of the Catskill Mountains.

And, now, drumroll please…

The Madcap Cottage boys have unveiled our “One of a Kinds” boutique on the fabulous 1st Dibs website. I am sure that everyone is familiar with 1st Dibs, but if you aren’t it’s the most divine collection of antiques, real estate, fashion, and jewelry to be found under the sun. We are truly honored and excited to be included in the 1st Dibs mix.

Here are some of the fabulous items that John and I have collected and are now offering up through the 1st Dibs portal. Each item is truly unique and special. So get ready to shop!

Look us over, and tell your friends!


 

Wicker, Didn't Even Know Her!

John and I unearthed this simply stunning vintage wicker hood chair in Pennsylvania, and we poked and prodded it back into shape. The chair is amazing, and now boasts Tony Duquette fabric and signature Madcap Cottage flourishes such as shocking pink welting. We are sort of sad to part with this lovely looker.

Shell Seekers!

A vintage shell-shaped console table with a glass top. Does your front entry need a terrific table to create some visual verve? Um, this plucked-from-the-sea beauty would fit the bill, and how.

Tip, Top, Tole!

A vintage tole metal lamp shaped like a delicious leafy plant with a bold black shade. Every room needs a whimsical and wonderful table lamp, and this oversized beauty is a stunner.

Deer Me!

A nearly life-size brass deer with Asian flair and flourishes that would make a real impact in the corner of a room, perhaps a den or library. This piece is really special.

Tweet, Tweet!

A fabulous vintage table with a tree trunk-like base and utterly charming feet in the form of birds. This table is just so unusual and stunning, n'est-ce pas?

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