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

Posts Tagged ‘Color’

Dreaming of India!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Scarlet Fever!

Our our recent trip to India, John and I were lucky enough to take a Jeep tour through the Thar desert near Jodhpur. We loved being in the middle of this incredibly arid landscape and seeing native villagers dressed in every color of the rainbow. The Indian color sensibility is revelatory.


Our heartfelt wishes to friends who are combating the devastation of Hurricane Sandy… We are thinking about you!

John and I made out A-OK in Brooklyn, and we were lucky enough to not have the power go off and there was no damage to our home. We are very thankful…

Today I needed a little color-packed pick-me-up, so I turned my sights upon the sights and smells of India. As you may remember, John and I visited India last year, and we immediately fell in love with the country. It’s a heady mix of extreme contrasts, but somehow it all works. We were completely transfixed. And transfigured.

One of my most favorite afternoons in India was a Jeep tour that we did of the Thar desert outside of Jodhpur when we visited native villages and viewed local wildlife. John and I were especially moved by the juxtaposition of the arid desert and the wonderfully rich hues worn by local villagers. We would turn a corner in the middle of nowhere, and there would be a woman in the most stunning pinks, greens, and blues with a jug perched atop her head. The sky was exceptionally clear, and the colors stood out like a Technicolor film clip against the dry, dry landscape.

Here are a few snapshots from our visit.

Tip, Top Tour!

Here I am in the Jeep during our wonderful tour of the beautiful Thar desert.

Chop, Chop!

Check out this elegant gentleman trimming his tree in a stunning white get-up paired with a bright red turban. What a gorgeous contrast against the very arid landscape!

Nice Jug!

Check out this frisky lady en route from the well with a big plastic jug upon her head. Did this woman choose to wear beige? Hell, no! Kudos that color plays such an important role in India. Would you have worn such eye-popping hues to visit your local well?

Green with Envy!

I loved this gigantic pile of pale green melons sitting by the roadside. The sudden "pops" of color that we experienced during our Jeep tour were simply gorgeous.


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…



Pastel Perfection!

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Think Pink!

The Louis Vuitton spring ad campaign is all about pastel hues, such as pink and pale blue. Why not transform a room with these Jordan Almonds-hued shades?


OK, so I have been a bit checked out the past week, so apologies for no posts…

I have been running and how! John and I flew to Los Angeles last Monday to attend the Legends of La Cienega design events, and the week has been go, go, and go! Plus, I moderated a panel discussion this past Friday, so I had to prepare for that… And it went just great. And then we retreated to Palm Springs for a tad of downtime.

Tomorrow we fly back to NYC, and we have our World-Famous Annual Yard Sale and Vintage Finds Bonanza taking place over Memorial Day so we have to get ready for that. If you are in the Catskill Mountains over Memorial Day you must come visit. We offer up some incredible goods at even more incredible prices.

But let’s talk about pastels.

This spring, everything seems to be coming up in Jordan Almonds colors…

Louis Vuitton has models posing in an ice cream parlor in their ad campaigns, and London is totally awash in pale pinks, pistachio greens, and icy blues.

So if you are looking to re-paint a room, why not consider a perfect pastel?

Sweets for the Sweet!

John dives into the pastel-hued confections at London's Berkeley Hotel and their festive Pret-a-Portea high tea.

Fabulous Fortnum!

Our most favorite department store, the foodie favorite Fortnum & Mason in London, is awash in colorful decorations to fete QEII's Diamond Jubilee. And the F&M decorations are all pale pinks, lavenders, and pistachio greens. Chic!

Candy's Dandy!

A gorgeous street in London punctuated with candy-colored homes. Blue, pink, and lavender... Perfection!

Hail, Pale!

A beautiful pale pink home in the heart of London's Chelsea neighborhood. Why not paint a room pale pink--if not your whole house? I love how brave the Brits are with their color sensibility...



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!


Have a Spring Fling: A Quick Fix for Your Home!

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Family Circle Fabulous!

Your favorite Madcap Cottage gents make an appearance in the April 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine talking about a cheap-and-chic way to transform your home. Paint the front door!


I am a total broken record when it comes to certain design tricks of the trade. And, as you know, one of my most favorite quick fixes is to paint your front door a bright color in a high-gloss paint to create some impact, some drama.

You want to show that you have arrived, n’est-ce pas?

So here are the Madcap Cottage boys in the April issue of Family Circle magazine extolling the virtues of painting your front door. Spring is here: Why not bust out some paint and take your front door from nice to knockout…


Madcap & Marvelous!

Here's the front door at Madcap Cottage... The high-gloss yellow paint really creates some impact and a focal point. Do try this at home.


Welcome to Madcap Cottage!

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012


Madcap & Marvelous!

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Madcap World! Won't you join us... Click on the image, above, to visit our new site. P.S. The elephant's name is Lois.


I hope you are having a spiffy weekend…

Last week, John and I were running around Los Angeles at the Design Bloggers Conference, so apologies for not posting more blog installments. John and I love LA. Honestly, LA just might be our next stop as we think about where to live next. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, this week saw the launch of Madcap Cottage, the new name of our interior design firm that was formerly known as John Loecke, Inc.

And our Madcap Cottage website went live this week, too.

John Loecke is too hard to spell… And it wasn’t inclusive of my contributions to the firm. So we decided to change the name, or I was going to have a tantrum.

Concurs John Loecke, “My name is tough to spell. No one gets it right. And no one know how to pronounce it either. It’s pronounced “Lecky,” not “Lucky.”

So we threw lots of possible new names out there, and we settled upon Madcap Cottage. “Cottage” is a niche that we think hasn’t been well-served: Whether you want a country cottage or an urban cottage, the term “cottage” conjures up a certain coziness, a warmth, and a diminuitive scale. And “madcap” is something of a throwback adjective that is just so fun, whimsical, and clever. And that’s exactly what our firm is all about. As we think about licensing and product deals, Madcap Cottage seems like the perfect name.

If you haven’t visited the Madcap Cottage website, look us over.

And let us know what you think.



For the Dogs!

Learn a little bit more about us, and check out the super-cute photo of Jasper and Weenie in the Madcap Cottage website's "About" section.

Read All Over!

Visit the Madcap Cottage "News" section to see where we have been published. We have been lucky enough to have been featured in publications such as Domino, House Beautiful, and New York magazine. And check out the feature that showcases our Brooklyn home in the April issue of British House & Garden magazine.



Powder-Coated Perfection!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012


Woodsy Wonders!

Our blog follower Mona, who lives in Waterville, Maine, sent us pictures of her vintage stools "before" and "after" powder coating them. Here's the atmospheric "before" shot.


I SO adore when our blog followers actually take us up on an idea and really run with it.

Take Mona, for instance, one of our blog devotees in Waterville, Maine…

Magnificent Mona recently decided to powder coat two old, rusty, tired metal stools that she found in her basement. And her decision to powder coat these stale seats came from our blog: As you know John and I simply LOVE to powder coat anything metal…

So Mona took these vintage stools to her nearby powder coater and selected a jaunty oyster-blue color. And, voila, perfection. If you have old patio furniture floating about that needs a kick of color, powder coat it!

And if John and I inspire you to tackle a project, DO send us photos.

We love seeing your handiwork…



Blue Period!

Here are Mona's stools after being powder coated a delicious oyster-blue hue. Natty, n'est-ce pas? Mona plans to tuck these under a coffee table and pull them out for cocktail soirees. Waterville, Maine seems to be a happening town... Go, Mona!


Before & After: Add Sizzle to your Staircase!

Monday, February 6th, 2012


Stairway to Heaven!

Here are the "transformed" stairs at a cozy cottage John and I designed in the Hamptons. The use of color and pattern took this previously boring space and made it brilliant. The wallpaper is from Thibaut; the photographs hail from the Conde Nast archives; the stair runner is from Dash & Albert. And note the jaunty valance hanging over the window... Scroll down to see a few "before" shots.


I hope you had a fabulous and frisky weekend… Did you watch the Super Bowl? Frankly, I loved Madonna’s performance.

To put on a show of that magnitude, wow!

But onwards and upwards: Let’s talk about staircases.

Stairs and hallways are often overlooked as mere pass-through spaces, and hence they lack a strong design vision. Why not make your stairs a focal point, a place for friends to linger and savor…

But how to add mystique to the mix?

Think wallpaper, artwork, carpet, and interesting and engaging paint treatments.

To inspire you, here’s a stairway that John Loecke and I designed in a tiny Hamptons cottage a few years back. The stairway was a boring white space until we kicked it up with color. And color made the space seem much larger, too.

So re-evaluate your stairway this week… And take it from banal to brilliant!



Dull, Dull, Dull!

Here's the stairs "before." Yikes. Dull on a dish. We ripped out the oatmela-hued shag carpet and threw loads of color and pattern and artwork at this forlorn space to create some drama.

Stairway Before!

Here's the stairway window "before." I am not partial to flouncy window treatments. The crisp, cool valance that we designed added a polished, tailored look to the window.

Foyer Fabulous!

Here are stairs where they meet the home's front foyer. The fabulous and fun Dash & Albert carpet runner is so inviting and plays off the colorful blooms on the Thibaut wallpaper. John and I installed the carpet runner ourselves with upholstery tacks.


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?