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

Posts Tagged ‘London’

London Calling!

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Go, Go, Glamour!

Here's an image of our finished installation at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. All furniture is from Baker, and the fabulous wallpapers, pillows, and throw are from Thibaut. John and I want the Tony Duquette Abalone chandelier in our home, what a stunner!


It’s been a while, and I apologize. John and I have a zillion projects going on, and while they are all fabulous they have dramatically cut into the amount of time that I have to blog. Hopefully, you follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and enjoy our mad, mad, mad, Madcap ride.

The Madcap Cottage gents are just back from a week in London where we designed an installation at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre entitled “A Celebration of Archive 2013: Design Encounters Between Old and New.” Wow, we were lucky boys to be asked to participate in this event. In fact, of the seven designers represented, we were the only Americans! Yahoo!

The purpose of the exhibit? Leading interior designers and international design houses come together for the first time to showcase the influence, beauty, and diversity of archives on past, present, and future of design. We partnered with our dear pals at Baker Furniture and Thibaut Design and used “glamour” through the lens of the Tony Duquette Collection as our theme. Our mission statement: “Float high above the Hollywood Hills in this plucked-fromthe-silver-screen sanctuary. Shimmering metallics, technicolor-hued textures, and whimsical opulence come together in cinematic splendor.”

Thank you to Robin Richter and Heather Wiroll at Baker, Stacy Senior and Cortney Wilkins at Thibaut, Becky Metcalfe at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, our London agent Alice Barrington-Wells of Carter Wells, the lovely staff at Baker Furniture Chelsea Harbour, and design goddess Arabella McNie who helped make our long-distance vision into a stunning reality!

Here’s a look at the project coming together. Remember that we did all of this via email and over the phone. Happily, there was no drama whatsoever!


The fabulous Tony Duquette furniture for Baker arrives from the United States. The upholstered pieces had to be fire-proofed to hold up to British law.

Almost There!

The walls have been papered with a fabulous cork wall covering from Thibaut, and the furniture is in place. The electricity still wasn't working, and we needed to add one more piece of furniture to fill the space behind the Tony Duquette chairs. One day to opening!

Tube Time!

John and I jump on the Tube and head for Chelsea Harbour. We love the London Underground--it's so clean and the staff so helpful, unlike NYC.

Time to Tweak!

John and I visit the terrific team at the Baker Furniture showroom at Chelsea Harbour to tweak the display. We switched out a few props to mix it up a bit more. We loved this oversized white urn.

Takes Three to Tango!

John and I enjoy a glass of champagne at the opening night party with the dashing Nick Barrington-Wells, the husband of our London agent, Alice Barrington-Wells. Nick is the PR guru at London's Langham hotel just off Oxford Street.


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.


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!


A Visit to London’s Georgian-Era Brunswick House!

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover!

Here's John en route to Lassco and the Brunswick House Cafe, curiously tucked-away amongst modern buildings in London's Vauxhall neighborhood.


OK, OK, I have been a tad remiss in my blog posts… Apologies. But running around Russia and London tired me out! But I am back…

Last week, John and I paid a visit to one of our most favorite, tucked-away spots in London, Brunswick House, a tumble-down former stately home that is now occupied by Lassco, a fabulous source for architectural salvage items and antiques, and the Brunswick House Cafe. The Georgian-era manse sits in the middle of very modern buildings in London’s Vauxhall neighborhood–and just around the corner from MI6, the British secret service headquarters made famous by James Bond–and is a totally unexpected and magical delight. Step inside, and enter a world of inspiration and tatty glamour.

Here’s a little tour…

Cafe Society!

Here's the interior of the Brunswick House Cafe, a charming spot for lunch or dinner amongst the evocative antiques.

Stairway to Heaven!

A charming "moment" upon the stairs at Lassco. I love the sculpture tucked into the windowsill.

Parlor Games!

The sprawling second-floor parlor room at Lassco... The mansion not only serves as a trove for antiques lovers but is also available to rent for private parties...

Dining by Design!

Here's a fabulous dining area at Lassco packed full of treasures. John picked up some glorious antique prints of British fountains here for my birthday.


Paying a Visit to The Geffrye, Museum of the Home in London!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Ga-Ga for The Geffrye!

Here's John outside London's wonderful and tucked-away Geffrye, Museum of the Home. The museum sits within a magical building that was once an 18th-century almshouse.


John and I are lucky enough to visit London several times each year, and we are always hitting off-the-beaten paths spots such as far-flung museums and great houses. Think Syon Park, Dulwich Picture Gallery, and the Leighton House Museum

Our latest discovery is the amazing Geffrye, Museum of the Home, tucked-away in London’s increasingly hip Shoreditch neighborhood. Housed within a stunning 18th-century almshouse, the museum boasts a series of period rooms that date from 1600 until today. Plus, there is a lovely herb garden. And the museum is free.

John and I lapped up the Christmas-decorated spaces, including the living room from 1935, the parlour from 1790, and the hall circa-1630.

Next time you are in London, be sure to add The Geffrye to your must-visit list, it’s truly a treat! And after your tour, walk over to the nearby Spitalfields Traders Market for the flea market and wonderful restaurants…

Mod Squad!

A British living room from 1965...

Viva Victorian!

A drawing room from 1870 with its ebullient patterns and flourishes.

All for the Almshouse!

The almshouse room circa-1780 that shows how a married couple would have lived at the Geffrye back in the day.


Keeping Up Appearances!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Nunc est Bibendum!

John and I lapped up the cheap and chic holiday decorations that we spotted at the Conran's lifestyle store in London that is housed within the historic Michelin House, the French tire company's circa-1911 former headquarters. Next time you are in London, be sure to wander through the Art Nouveau-styled building with its shop, Bibendum restaurant (Bibendum being the name of Michelin's iconic mascot who is crafted of tires), flower store, and amazing cafe.


John and I are just back from our amazing trip to London, and we are not stopping to take a breath. Oh, no! There is too much fabulous work to be done. Who needs sleep when the world needs prettying-up, n’est-ce pas?

Today I strung Christmas lights in our Brooklyn front yard and hung a now-vintage Martha By Mail wreath on our front door.

But how do you feel about your holiday decorations?

Don’t even think you have to spend lots of money to make your home look fabulous at the holidays… Mais non!

John and I were so inspired by the tissue paper decorations that we spotted at Conran’s in London. Tissue paper is all the rage, and it’s cheap, cheap, cheap and so multi-faceted! One of our favorite sources for tissue paper decorations is Party Cheap, so check out their bells and balls and whatnot then get to decorating your home.

And be sure to send us photos of your holiday handiwork!

Scarlet Fever!

Inexpensive tissue-paper decorations create a magical moment in a window display at Conran's. Bring this look home: It's cheap and very glamorous!

Life is a Ball!

A gorgeous assortment of colorful tissue-paper decorations hang over a table at Conran's. Stunning, n'est-ce pas?

Table Talk!

Another view of the simple-chic dining table at Conran's with the assortment of tissue-paper bells and balls hanging overhead. What an easy holiday decoration, and yet so chic!



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!


Eastern Promises!

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Swatch Watch!

Here's John with the divine Lydia Pomey in the swatch room at Eastern Accents, a sprawling factory in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood that makes the most amazing pillows, bed linens, headboards, and other home goods.


I hope that everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

John and I were in Baltimore for the holiday are are now currently in London and loving every second of it.

But let’s backtrack two weeks (we certainly keep you on your toes, n’est-ce pas?)…

John and I flew out to Chicago to tour the amazing Eastern Accents factory in the city’s Avondale neighborhood and to discuss some possible business. Might there be private label Madcap Cottage pillows in the works?

Do stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here’s a little tour of Eastern Accents.

Trim Time!

John goes bananas for the vast selection of trims to be found at Eastern Accents, including the myriad ribbons.

Fabric of Life!

Eastern Accents boasts massive machines that cut the fabrics with lasers.

Sew What?

Here's the immaculate and light-filled sewing room at Eastern Accents. John and I love anything Made in America.

Details, Details!

An Eastern Accents worker sews delicious details into a pillow.

Don't Give a Down!

Here are bundles of down feathers ready to be stuffed into pillows.

Fabric of Life!

John and Lydia peruse Eastern Accents' vast fabric library. We unearthed some real treasures that reflect the Madcap Cottage duo's passion for color and pattern.


A Trip to London’s Decorative Fair!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Park It Here!

John heads into London's verdant Battersea Park to pay a visit to the thrice-annual Decorative Fair. The Fair is truly a treasure trove of delicious finds!


This past week John and I made a pilgrimage to the fabulous Decorative Fair that takes place three times each year in London’s stunning Battersea Park on the south side of the Thames.

And, wow!, we were so inspired, and not only by the fabulous goods but also by the very approachable prices. I am not one for “important” antiques unless you inherited them, so it was great to see that there were so many pieces at the fair that John and I could actually afford.

Here’s a little tour…

Floral Fever!

A pair of floral-patterned armchairs that felt very "Madcap Cottage," n'est-ce pas? There's nothing like multiple fabrics and delicious details to take furniture from ho-hum to super-ho.

China Syndrome!

A gorgeous Chinoiserie-styled lantern. Swoon!

A Nice Big Basket!

John and I adored this oversized concrete basket, one of a pair. These baskets would be perfect for sitting atop pilasters at the back of a yard.

Tip, Top, Tole!

A stunning tole metal palm tree! If John and I could have carried this back to NYC with us on the plane, we would have snapped it up!

Green Goddesses!

A very yummy pair of green chairs with terrific nailhead detailing.

Pets, Please!

There were lots of dogs at the Decorative Fair. We wished that Weenie and Jasper could have been in attendance, too.


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.


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.


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.


Finding Inspiration in London!

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Subway City, Baby!

Here's John aboard the Tube in London en route to the Old Spitalfields Market. I love the upholstery that they use in the London Underground--and how about that marvelous mix of emerald green and rich blue. Glorious! And that bright green support in front of John? Um, a delicious jolt of color.


Happy Monday!

As John and I always say, keep your eyes open and your iPhone or digital camera in-hand at all times. You never know where you might some inspiration–from a walk down the street to a journey aboard the subway. Snap photos to create a visual lexicon that you can use later.

John and I have been bopping about London, and here are some “moments” that have excited and inspired us as we  hightailed it around the city.

Stripe Tease!

John and I spotted these vintage metal French chairs at the Old Spitalfields Market. See what a bold stripe can do for a piece of furniture? These chairs would be nothing without that bold statement of color... Why note stripe an old chair next weekend?

Batter, Up!

Our pal Kit Kemp runs--and designs--the stunning Firmdale Hotels' properties in London with her husband, Tim. Here, Kit has crafted wallpaper from old French school charts at the Dorset Square Hotel and employed cricket bats as artwork. The hotel is situated on what was once the city's premiere cricket ground, so this "nod" is brilliant. Lesson to be learned: Take ordinary objects, and employ them as artwork. Cheap and chic!

Sitting Pretty!

A fabulous wing chair--with built-in newspaper holder (genius!)--at the brand-new Dorset Square Hotel in London's super fun and cozy Marylebone neighborhood. I love furnishings with a dash of whimsy, n'est-ce pas?

Frankly, Scarlet!

A rich red wall wall at the Tate Britain museum... This gallery showcases Victorian artwork, but the deep scarlet walls give the space a very contemporary spin. Why not anchor a wall in your room in a big, bold color?