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Five Questions for Paige Minear, Southern style setter…

Paige Minear

Paige Minear, the fabulous force behind The Pink Clutch.


John and I love meeting talented folks on Instagram who are the whole package–cool, smart, engaging, and, of course, color- and pattern-obsessed. Hence, we did a little dance when we came across Paige Minear, the visionary behind The Pink Clutch design blog, a few years back. This Atlanta resident (and Florida native, swoon!) is one to watch. But chances are, you are probably watching her already. If not, get to it.

 Here’s more about this southern spitfire in her own words:

 Paige Minear is the author, mother, and preppy creator behind the design blog The Pink Clutch.  Paige is known for her home full of color, Palm Beach style, and passion for antique treasures. With a love for all things design related, she writes five days a week allowing her readers to indulge in colorful posts and inspiration. Paige is a lover of a strong latte, champagne cocktails, a stack of magazines, crisp button downs, popped collars, a sweet treat, and a house full of fresh flowers and monogrammed linens. She can be seen most days in a gingham button down and pearls galore sporting leopard flats and ready for adventure. Paige lives in Atlanta with her husband and three kids.
MADCAP COTTAGE (MC): Tell us about The Pink Clutch and how you began your foray into the world of blogging. What was your goal when you launched the Pink Clutch?
 PAIGE MINEAR (PM): I began writing the blog ten years ago when I had small children. Our middle child was born with a rare genetic duplication which affected a lot of his motor skills. At the age of six we were told he would need quite a lot of therapy in a short amount of time to reverse the issues before he was eight.  Since his diagnosis wasn’t covered by insurance, we were out of pocket for all of the expense of our four-day-a-week commitment. It was extremely hard on our budget–and my emotions as a mother determined to do all she could for her little one. At the time I owned a monogram business out of our house, and I was selling all kinds of cute monogram gifts. I started the blog for two reasons: 1. To showcase all of the items for sale and 2. as a creative outlet for me. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I dove in head first.
As the kids got older and my needs changed, the blog changed. It evolved from a mommy blog to more DIY and into the design and lifestyle blog it is today. It was an organic change often times when large gaps between posts existed. I would burn out on what I was doing, take a break, and come back with a new plan.  I have been blogging consistently five to six days a week for three years, and I couldn’t love it more. The blog inspires me to stretch myself and challenge myself and my readers to try new things, to live a joy filled life. and to add fancy to every single day!
 MC: Facebook or Instagram or both? What do you use each channel for, and how do you target content to each channel?
PM: For me, definitely Instagram! I find I am drawn to the visual and love to follow along with feeds that inspire me. I have a number of people I check in with daily, and I love that it takes me just a moment to be caught up with their lives. I love sharing on Instagram because it is the closest to the blog for me. I share things that inspire me each morning as a “Inspiration du Jour.” I love that so many others connect with this idea and come to my feed looking for that morning post. For me, Facebook is a second post, something that is perfect to share so much more from the blog. I can carry on a larger conversation on Facebook which I love, and it is perfect for the followers who aren’t obsessed with Instagram like I am. I love the two channels for different reasons. Since Instagram is seen 10x more than Facebook, it is definitely where I start my day!
MC: Where do you find style inspiration? Favorite magazine?
PM: I literally find inspiration everywhere! Since I am a visual girl, I take snippets from so many places, so many of them I hold for later dates. I love Instagram and Pinterest, and I am a girl who finds so much joy in flipping through newly released magazines and design books! I only get a few magazines delivered to the house: House Beautiful, Veranda, and BH&G, and I can’t wait for them to arrive! I am the first in line at a new book release–books and magazines are so much fun for me. I would spend afternoons in the library after school in my elementary years and flipping through a book takes me back to those days of exploring so many fun areas as a young child.
MC: You grew up in Lakeland, Florida (P.S. This half of the Madcap duo hails from Tampa) and say that you live nine months of the year in flip-flops… How does that Florida sensibility spill into your life today? And how did growing up on the beach affect your color sensibility?
PM: I absolutely love my Florida roots! It is hard to be landlocked after spending every single Saturday at the beach as a child. I even chose UCF for its location which is why my first two years of school were not the best. I could leave campus and be sitting on Cocoa Beach in less than 40 minutes any given afternoon.  I can remember moving to Atlanta in the fall of 1993 and having to buy a winter coat for the first time, the cold fall and winter was so new to me. That first fall was almost magical with the incredible colors and the sound of the leaves rustling! As a Florida girl, I still wear flip flops every single day and think I always will, even wearing them at totally inappropriate times. So many things imprinted on me from my years in the warm, tropical weather and those things spill over into my daily life now. We always have citrus in the house, even when it isn’t in season. My grandfather owned a citrus harvest and hauling company and to this day I can identify the different types of oranges and tell you when they are in season. Our home is full of color, and it reminds me of so many houses I would see where color was aplenty. I would probably trade my Georgian home for a pink cinder-block home in a minute if it was an option! I am drawn to colors and porch living and alfresco dining even if it means I need a coat and a blanket.  It just feels like home to me.
 MC: What’s next for you and The Pink Clutch? Where would you like to see The Clutch in five years?
 PM: First and foremost to keep inspiring others through daily posts. I love researching new things to share with others, I learn so much in the process. I am currently collecting silver for our youngest child, and I have learned so much about each piece and what they all mean. My goal is to continuing writing and adding more contributing to my repertoire. I am currently a contributor to The Southern C blog on a monthly basis with my “From The Desk of…” series, and I would like to expand this to other publications.  My goal is to have a regular piece in a national magazine. Writing isn’t something I thought I would do, but it has grown to be a passion of mine and I find it relaxing and inspiring. Keep your eyes out for a byline one day!
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Five (Well, Maybe Six!) Questions for Sara Bliss, Design Writer

Hotel Chic at Home by design writer extraordinaire Sara Bliss.

John and I have known the fabulous Sara Bliss for years—ever since our early magazine editorial days before we moved into the wild, wild world of interior design. We have watched the brilliant Bliss morph from penning articles for shelter publications to crafting numerous, high-flying books—on topics ranging from beauty and style to travel-meets-design.

Sara is smart, fun, and really gets “it.” Plus, she is a bright light and a really kind soul.

Here’s her bio in her own words:

Sara Bliss is a freelance writer who covers beauty, inspiring women, design, and travel. Sara is the author of nine books including Hotel Chic at Home (The Monacelli Press) that launched in 2016. She is the co-author of Beauty From The Inside Out (Chronicle Books, 2017), her third book with Bobbi Brown. Other books include The Thoroughly Modern Married Girl (Broadway Books) and Exotic Style (Rockport Publishers). Sara is the creator and primary author of the weekly travel and design blog Hotel Chic. Sara’s articles have appeared in Esquire, Town & Country, Oprah, Domino, Travel & Leisure, and Refinery29. Sara is a former Senior Writer for Yahoo.

Sara Bliss on the streets of her hometown of Manhattan.

1. MADCAP COTTAGE: Tell us about your background in magazines and how you came to be a go-to lifestyle writer.

SARA BLISS: I began my foray into magazines as an Editorial Assistant at House Beautiful magazine. I was on my way to interview at another magazine and in the elevator met editor Lisa Schlang who handed me her card and told me that House Beautiful was hiring. I bombed the interview I was headed to, called Lisa, and two days later I was an HB staffer working for the travel and architecture editors. I went on to be a staff writer with the amazing John Loecke at American Homestyle & Gardening magazine, but started freelancing on the side for City magazine. My editor was Christene Barberich who now heads up Refinery29. I went freelance way sooner than I should partly because I wanted to break out of just writing about design and write more profiles, which is what I was writing for City. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve managed to write about a really wide range of subjects–health, beauty, design, travel, and profiles. It is honestly partly due to editors like you (amazing Jason Oliver Nixon) who realized I wasn’t just one type of writer. I have written three books on my own and seven as a ghostwriter to high profile people like Bobbi Brown.. I’ve been a blogger, magazine writer, web writer. I was a Senior Writer at Yahoo for two years, and now I am back to freelancing again. It’s non-stop hustle, but I love every minute.

2. MC: What was the genesis of your last book, Hotel Chic at Home. How did you pick the people in the pages to discuss their favorite hotels?

SB: For years, I wrote about travel and design as separate subjects for completely different magazines. However, when the boutique hotel craze took hold in the late 90s and early 2000s two of my main beats really merged. Hoteliers realized that design was a way to stand out from the crowd and create a signature look and brand.  The result is that some of boldest, most innovative spaces in design, are happening in hotels, not in residential interiors. Hotel designers like India Mahdavi, Michele Bonan, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and Kit Kemp are creating one-of-a-kind spaces that are designed to feel like the rooms you wish you lived in. So I had the idea to write a book about all of these amazing hotel spaces and how to bring the look home. I started Hotel Chic as a blog and a few years later thanks to the persistence of my wonderful agent, Alison Fargis, Hotel Chic found a publisher and The Monacelli Press released the book in 2016.

In addition to design and travel, I write many profiles. I found that when I interviewed designers and tastemakers and trendsetters—they were often citing travel and hotels as the source of inspiration. I picked some of the best designers and tastemakers that I know—John Robshaw, Mary McDonald, Alessandra Branca, Tilton Fenwick, Christiane Lemieux, Joe Lucas, and, of course, Madcap Cottage—to find out what hotels inspire them the most.

3. MC: In your opinion, what makes a hotel great? What role does service play at a hotel? Your favorite hotel?

SB: When you step inside a hotel and feel like you have entered an entirely new world—that is perfection to me. There is a magic that happens only every so often where you just feel like you couldn’t have this same experience anywhere else and I think that is what makes a hotel great. Part of that magic is the service, of course, an experienced staff that knows your name and anticipates how you want to experience the hotel.  My favorite hotel is probably The Connaught in London. If I were a real life Eloise, that’s where I would live. I love the Connaught Bar with India Mahdavi’s fringed wing chairs and killer cocktails, high tea with champagne in the sunroom, and the suites filled with antiques—especially the mirrored bars fashioned out of 19th-century Chinese armoires. Plus, the service that makes you feel like royalty.

4. MC: How can someone bring the hotel experience into their own home?

SB: Next time you are on vacation and you are feeling completely happy and relaxed, look around and see what it is about the design or space that might be enhancing that. Is it the cool soundtrack? The unique dishes you are tasting? The gorgeous hue on the wall? The cozy dining chairs that make you want to linger over your meal for hours? The cheery wallpaper? The lighting that makes you look a decade younger? Then take one thing you could do at home. It’s not so much about copying the look exactly, just creating the same mood. Bring a little of the spirit of Paris to Poughkeepsie, and make it your own.

You don’t even have to travel to use hotels as inspiration. Click on your favorite travel site or, even better, pick up a copy of Hotel Chic at Home and look for design ideas that you love. Hotels often have the same issues that we do at home—small rooms, dark spaces, awkward layouts, and tight budgets. They solve those problems with design, so hotels can be a great source of practical ideas for making the most of a small space or creating a budget-friendly solution. In the book there is a whole section on chic bathrooms where clever applications of wallet-friendly subway tile transformed the space.

5. MC: Have you incorporated aspects of favorite hotels into your own home?

SB: Yes! Often! My favorite was doing a triangular color-blocking move on the wall in my son’s room. It took about an hour and transformed the space, all for the price of a can of white paint. I also tried to recreate the look of a green guest room at the Crosby Street Hotel in my own bedroom. I found my own floral print for my headboard and did a graphic pattern for curtains and loved it for a couple of years. Then I saw the dark inky walls of the rooms at the C.O.Q hotel in Paris, and the green got swapped for a deep inky blue/grey/green hybrid that makes it feel like a cocoon. I honestly have never slept better.

6. MC: What’s next for you? We hear that you are writing a new book, tell us about it.

SB: I write about so many different topics—travel, design, beauty, and health, plus I do a ton of profiles. My new book will be for Touchstone and comes out in the Fall of 2018: I feature inspiring people who have made radical moves in their lives. I am so inspired by these stories, and I can’t wait to share them.

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Five Questions for Natalie Reddell, Social Siren

Photo by Kathryn McCrary Photography

Natalie Reddell, the Golden Hastag Döppelganger.


All Hail, the Commander in Chic!

John and I love making new friends on Instagram, and the very talented interior designer—and blogger-meets-social media force—Natalie Reddell (@nataliereddell), aka Commander in Chic, aka The Golden Hashtag, has quickly become a tastemaker whose opinion we truly value. She educates, she instructs, and she brings folks into a wonderful world that has plenty of ups and a few downs—and that’s part of her magic. Natalie carries us along on her colorful, insightful journey, and what a ride it is!

Living Room

A fabulous interior crafted by Natalie Reddell.

We recently sat down with the winsome, funny Reddell in her current hometown of Richmond, Virginia and sipped coffee in the lobby of the perfectly pink, quirky Quirk hotel. (Of course, I quickly segued on to cocktails from my latte, but that’s another story.)



So let’s learn a little more about this southern sensation.

Here’s Reddell’s bio, in her own words:

Natalie Reddell, Commander in Chic, is an interior designer and the social media queen behind The Golden Hashtag. Natalie, a Florida native, received her degree in interior design from Florida State University and studied the history of architecture and interiors at Parsons Paris. She now resides in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Scarlett O’Hara. Her only son recently left for college, so Natalie keeps busy with her design projects and presence on Instagram at @nataliereddell. Follow her and the Golden Hashtag for humor, inspiration, and all things fabulous!

1. MADCAP COTTAGE: Tell us about your background and how you came into the world of interior design.

NATALIE REDDELL: I have always been very creative and in love with color, pattern, fabrics, fashion, and art. My very first scar as a child came from a burn I acquired from a glue gun in an effort to “remodel” my dollhouse… Again! I was also very interested in psychology, though, and went to Emory University in Atlanta to become a psychologist. It did not take me long to realize that I longed for something more creative. I spent all of my free time browsing through Atlanta’s antique shops and fabric stores, and I decided to change my path. I am from Florida, and Florida State University has a wonderful interior design program, so I headed back to the Sunshine State and, as they say, the rest is history…

2. MC: How would you describe your interior design style? What sets you apart in the marketplace? What do you deliver to your clients that create a unique selling point?

NR: My home is definitely a mix of styles: I’m a traditional girl at heart but love to mix in modern pieces and bold color. My most favorite design style is GREAT DESIGN! I really love mixing pieces and textures and colors to create a space that reflects my clients’ taste and lifestyle. I am a bit of an art junkie and love to use art and rugs for inspiration and direction. And I never met an animal print that I didn’t love, and I enjoy all things glamorous!

3. MC: You grew up in Florida. What role did growing up in the south play in your design aesthetic and vision?

NR: My southern roots are important to me. My grandmother loved to entertain and decorate and my mother is the same way. My grandmother used to say that, “Home is a prepared place.” That really resonates with me. I am still sort of old-fashioned about setting the table and eating in the formal dining room, but mostly because I enjoy it. I love to use my silver, china, and crystal, too. I am a big believer in using your “nice things” everyday and will NEVER have enough china!

4. MC: What about the role of social media in your business? How did the Golden Hashtag come about?

NR: My most favorite thing about social media is the REAL relationships that have formed as a result of my VIRTUAL contacts. Instagram is my favorite social media platform. It is an amazing resource for sourcing product for my clients, getting fresh design ideas, and staying current in the industry. Instagram is also a great place to feature your current projects, and that has had a wonderful impact on my business.

Living Room with art.

A Reddell-designed living room that demonstrates the designer’s passion for artwork.

The Golden Hashtag was born when I found a rusty number sign in an antiques shop a few days before I went on a blog tour to KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. I had recently started on Instagram and thought the “hashtag” would be a fun prop for my Instagram posts at the show for my blog, Commander in Chic. Not long after, I was heading to Las Vegas for a furniture market and decided to doll “her” up in gold sequins. (When in Vegas, right?!?) I took the Golden Hashtag all over that market and staged photos in my favorite showrooms featuring products that I love. The posts were a big hit and by the end of that show, CEOs and marketing executives were inviting the Golden Hashtag to visit their showrooms and wanted to schedule a photo shoots. At that point, I realized that I might be onto something and decided to apply for a trademark. Now, the Golden Hashtag is really a reflection of my (pretty meets sparkly) personality, and my personality is my brand.

5. MC: What’s the five-year goal?

NR: My five-year goal is to still be absolutely in love with what I do. Running my interior design business is a full-time job. Building a brand for Commander in Chic with the Golden Hashtag is a full time job. It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many balls in the air, but I feel incredibly blessed to work in an industry that makes my heart skip a beat and still gives me Design Goosies every day.

I also absolutely love to travel for inspiration, and I dream about travelling the globe to curate the perfect pieces for my clients. It means so much to me to meet the artists, artisans, and designers behind the products I specify for my projects. Globetrotting would allow me to hand-select products and see first hand the back stories of the items I choose for my clients. Incorporating international travel is definitely a short—and long-term—goal for me AND the Golden Hashtag!


Home on the Range!

Home on the Range

The fabulous BlueStar Cooking range in the House of Bedlam kitchen.


John and I are so tired of sterile white-on-white kitchens with white countertops, white subway tile zipping across the walls, and stainless-steel appliances. B-O-R-I-N-G!

Who wants clinical when you can bring color and pattern into your kitchen. And, no, that was not a question.

“Oh, but white is classic and never goes out of style,” you say.

Well, frankly, color doesn’t go out of style either, just don’t choose “of-the-moment” hues such as the avocado and orange color ways that were so popular in the 70s. Choose colors that aren’t too bright and garish. If you need something “on trend,” go for it with your kitchen wallpaper.

As for colors to employ, think pale greens, buttery yellows, gray, inky blues, and more when it comes to cabinetry.

As for appliances, stainless is so 2007. Snore. Boring. Why not bring some color to your appliances such as we did at the House of Bedlam with our divine BlueStar Cooking range in a pale green shade.

So let’s talk about BlueStar Cooking.You can choose from over 750 colors.

And the configuration options are equally endless. Bespoke chic, we are crazy about customization in this decidedly un-customized world.

Plus, of course, the performance of the BlueStar ranges is exceptional and chef quality.

And the ranges are built in the United States, and we love that!

We asked our friends at BlueStar for a few testimonials from satisfied customers.

Here’s one from a gent in Vancouver, Canada:

“I was able to fire up my shiny new BlueStar for the first time yesterday, and I can’t thank you enough. Everyone who I spoke/emailed with at BlueStar has been outstanding with fantastic and friendly service, and the entire experience has really been top-notch. The stove itself really is an amazing piece of machinery. My contractor, who had never heard of BlueStar, couldn’t stop talking about how nice it was, and I think that may have turned him into a future customer as well. My 2 year old daughter walked into the kitchen and saw it for the first time and just said “cool!” She obviously has excellent taste.”

And here’s another from a woman in Newton, Massachusetts:

“Yippee! I just ordered my second Blue Star RNB. I own a 30″ RNB in a home in Wisconsin. I’ve had that for two years, and it is a workhorse and looks as good as the day I bought it. I did exhaustive product research before buying BlueStar. I focus on reliability and functionality instead of talk-show celebrity endorsements. This product hands down beats the competition. So, since we are moving to South Dakota, my new kitchen has to have a BlueStar range. So, Blue Star #2 will soon be on the way. Thanks for an outstanding product.”

So when it comes time to refresh your own kitchen, the Madcaps suggest giving BlueStar a once-over.

We are smitten.


Five Questions for: Anne Rainey Rokahr, Owner, Trouvaille Home, Winston-Salem, NC


Every once in a while you stumble upon a small slice of wonderland, a magical place where everything is chic, gracious, gorgeous, and welcoming. Such was the case a few years back when John and I discovered Trouvaille Home, an incredible, beautifully curated home and design outpost in the heart of buzzy, fun Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

So who was the brains behind this world-class casbah of chic, John and I wondered. We finally met the grand poobah of panache herself Anne Rainey Rokahr, the owner of TH, and, naturally, we were instantly smitten and have become fast friends.

Anne Rainey Rokahr, the style siren behind Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s chic Trouvaille Home.

So what makes Trouvaille Home so exceptional? The mix, folks, the mix, the mix!

  • Vintage furnishings!
  • Gorgeous new finds!
  • Scintillating vignettes!
  • Surprise and delight!

Trouvaille Home offers the perfect pairing of old and new served up with gracious, just-right service. Plus, we are crazy for Anne’s dog, Henry, who is always holding court at Trouvaille Home, but that’s just an added bonus to the all-around chicté.

So how did the ravishing Madame Rokahr hone her spot-on sensibility?

Here’s Anne’s bio in her own words:

“After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia, Anne landed in NYC and began her career as a film and commercial producer in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her documentaries and features have premiered and been nominated for awards at the Cannes, Tribeca, and Dubai International Film Festivals. Anne relocated to Dubai in 2006 as the Head of Production for film company Desert Door Productions. While in Dubai, Anne was voted one of Ahlan Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Dubai.” Anne was also Agency Director of NYC Fashion and Beauty PR firm RED PR and named a top 25 Publicist by Women’s Wear Daily. Anne returned to her hometown of Winston-Salem, NC from Dubai in 2008 where she settled in working as a consultant for clients in NYC. In 2009 she purchased The Snob Shop, a high-end consignment boutique where she had once worked as a girl of 13. In 2014 Anne brought to fruition a longtime vision and passion by founding Trouvaille Home, an extraordinary interior design and home furnishings store in Winston-Salem, NC.”

So let’s learn a bit more about this peripatetic style maker:

The exterior of Trouvaille Home.

  1. MADCAP COTTAGE (MC): What sparked your passion for design? Did you rearrange your room as a child or teenager?

ANNE RAINEY ROKAHR (ARR): When I was around 7 or 8 years old my mother snuck into my room on Christmas Eve while I was sleeping. She somehow managed to put a new comforter and pillowcases on my bed and hung curtains that she had made out of a set of matching sheets. That Christmas morning—and that Springmaid riotous floral print—is etched in my memory. Waking up to a transformation of my little room was so magical. I think I’ve spent my life trying to recapture that feeling and deliver the same to my clients.

  1. MCC: You were in films for many years. How did that background shape your eventual foray into owning a home design store and crafting bespoke interiors?

ARR: Yes, my first career was as a commercial and film producer. I was always drawn to the art department. The way that a great Set Designer and Director of Photography can create such a depth of emotion with color, texture, and light—before the people, words, or music even come into play—is remarkably powerful. A well-designed room should evoke feelings the moment you enter. Creating an interior design shop in which every piece is selected and staged with the same level of passion and attention to detail was manifesting itself in my brain as early as I can remember. It took me years of experience, travel, living abroad, entertaining, historical reading, and conversation to develop the full vision and execution of the shop.

3. MC: Tell us about Trouvaille Home and the magical mix of new and old. What are you trying to accomplish at TH? What makes TH so unique and special?

The charming Henry, Trouvaille Home’s scampish mascot.

ARR: What makes Trouvaille special is the fact that every piece in the shop is selected by me. I only buy what I love, with no particular bent towards contemporary, antique, or mid-century. Each piece in the shop is inherently well proportioned and specific in its beauty. I sit in every piece of custom upholstery we consider to make sure it’s comfortable and functional. I don’t carry complete collections of new furniture, I carefully select my favorites. I never build a room or a setting from a neutral. I start with a spectacular piece and fill in the rest. The result is a pleasant tension between old and new, glamour and comfort, texture and form. It’s a complete departure from the pre-fabricated, neutral, and fearful design that unfortunately saturates the market currently. Plus, we serve champagne.

  1. MC: Favorite room?

ARR: My porch

MCC: Hotel?

ARR: Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf in Dubai

MCC: Cocktail?

ARR: Old Fashioned

MCC: Destination?

ARR: Any capital city in Europe

MCC: Favorite interior designer of the past?

ARR: Tony Duquette

  1. MCC: Describe your perfect room.

ARR: A giant parlor with tons of French doors leading to a slate garden area and a vista beyond. Sunny and bright during the day and moody incandescent lighting at night. Citrus trees by the windows in winter and a baronial fireplace.  Dedicated to entertaining friends and family. Tons of intimate, lush seating areas. Sparkle and gold. Antiques and family heirlooms. Hand-painted scenic wallpaper. No TV. And a fully stocked bar, of course.


How To: Refresh That Interior


The Madcap Cottage gents believe that good design should be available to all, whether you have access to an interior designer or not. Hence, the Demystifying Design blog is all about bringing good, accessible—and yet always-aspirational—design home and thinking outside of the box to craft interiors magic. If you want to look like your neighbors’ home, go read another blog. But if you want to create bespoke interiors that overflow with personality (not ours, but yours!) and pizzazz, then you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we are taking you down a short path to a few fun tweaks that can quickly and easily transform your home and take that “nice” and make it a knockout.

  1. Layer, layer, layer! Use antiques and vintage pieces to bring decorate with layeringyour home’s storyline to life. Rooms that feature all-new furnishings and accessories look like showrooms, and who wants that? In the former Madcap Cottage front hall in Brooklyn, an antique English hall tree mixes with vintage and contemporary art. The ottomans tucked under the faux bamboo table offered the perfect occasional seating at the frequent dinner parties.
  2. Add a game table. Why always sit in your dining room at dinner parties? And the kitchen can become such a mess withadd a game table cooking and whatnot, so you might want to always pull up to the kitchen island. Our suggestion is to find a vintage game table that you can place in a cozy corner of the living room where you can segue from cocktails to dinner, board games to more cocktails. Here, the Madcap gents’ House of Bedlam living room with a vintage chinoiserie game table that we painted to give it new life.

  3. Use wallpaper to hide a room’s architectural flaws. wallpaper in decoratingFor example, here’s a 1950s-era bathroom that the Madcaps are designing in Sarasota, Florida. We kept the original pink tile and added a fun tropical wallpaper not only to play up the tile—but also to mask the soffit that runs along the ceiling. The wallpaper tricks the eye into not noticing the soffit thanks to the profusion of traveler’s palm leaves.
  4. In the same Sarasota, Florida design project, we used a jauntydecorate with stripesgreen-and-white cabana stripe paper from York Wallcoverings to lend visual interest to a long hallway that had anything but pizzazz. Thanks to the paper, the hallway now has architectural élan and seems much larger than it truly is. Some artwork upon the walls, and the space will be complete.
  5. The Madcaps are huge fans of catalogues and big-box stores: Good design resides everywhere. Here, we took the Naples

    chair updateRattan Chair from Grandin Road and custom upholstered it in the Mill Reef pattern from the Madcap Cottage for Robert Allen @Home collection. A rich blue contrast welt adds the perfect punctuation mark to the seat. Lesson to be learned: Take the “store bought” and tweak it to make it your own.

Raleigh, North Carolina Showhouse

2017 Raleigh, North Carolina Showhouse

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls:

Recently, we were asked to participate in a showhouse in our backyard—well, Raleigh, North Carolina—that would benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs Serving Wake County, and we decided to jump in.

John and I have designed several showhouses over the years, and we love using our passion for interior design—and our love for telling a good story—to help a great cause.

Soon thereafter, however—and over multiple martinis—we questioned whether we were taking on too much…

Raleigh, North Carolina Showhouse

We arrive at the stunning custom home crafted by DJF Builders that would soon transform into the Boys & Girls Clubs Serving Wake County Showhouse.

The Pros:

  • The wonderful team behind the showhouse asked us to design the home’s main public space, the Family Room, hurrah!
  • We would showcase our fabrics for Robert Allen @Home, including the just-released A Collector’s Eye collection
  • We love the Boys & Girls Clubs, a great cause that can really change a child’s life!
  • We are crazy about the quality and vision of DJF Builders, the Raleigh-based custom-home firm that was building the showhouse.

The Cons:

  • John and I had heaps of travel planned just before the showhouse opening, so would we be able to pull off a showstopper?
  • Honestly, we are a bit nutty with the workload right now, so, again, could we pull it off with grace under pressure?

Well, John and I rallied—and aligned ourselves with amazing partners—and our Family Room has come together swimmingly.

Stay tuned for updates from the gala party on March 23. Will we see you there?

Here’s the storyline that we wrote and some behind-the-scenes images from the work in progress:

Step inside the Family Room, aka, the Rumpus Room, and you are whisked off to the isle of Mustique, that glorious British enclave that mixes a spirited dose of tropic-luxe tempered with continental chic.

“Would you care for a libation,” she offers. “Call me Canasta. Canasta Jones. And how about a rubber? A rubber of bridge, you naughty boy!”

Raleigh, North Carolina Showhouse

Of course, we broke out our watercolors and set to work sketching our vision for the Family Room.

Ah, but that’s a tale for another day, n’est-ce pas? To bring our whimsical storyline to life in glorious, cinematic Technicolor, we turned to our friends at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams for a mix of crisp, chic upholstery, upholstered in Madcap Cottage for Robert Allen @Home fabrics. All upholstery will go to Raleigh’s Green Chair Project after the show house wraps up to make a family in need’s life that much sunnier! We layered-in our Cove End pattern in Daffodil upon the window treatments from the Madcap Cottage for Smith + Noble collection. The case goods from Woodbridge Furniture shimmer in the sun with their bespoke brilliance, from the Linwood game table and the Merrion side chairs to the Montecito Etagere that holds far-flung accessories courtesy of Ballard Designs. The lighting was plucked from Currey & Co., and the shimmering Mansion chandelier that dangles overhead offers just the right mix of tall, tan, and absolutely terrific.

“Hello, stranger, peel me a grape,” you coo, and he obliges.

The heaven-sent wallpaper, the tantalizing Bali Leaves from York Wallcoverings, pairs deliciously with the Stonington Gray hue from Benjamin Moore.

Welcome aboard, close your eyes, and dream of balmy, palmy afternoons. “Destination unknown,” she purrs, and you follow her lead, visions of endless, sun-kissed legs and Cherries in the Snow lips filling your head. Dream, dream big. Bold. And bespoke. For no one remembers the shrinking violets, mon petit chou. “Share the fantasy,” she says, the sound of thunder, the crash of a far-off drum, a whiff of opium and Fracas, mixed, and night fell like a shade.

See some of the details of our room:

fast, fabulous, and fun design

Design: Fast, Fabulous, and Fun!


We hope you are having a great week! The Madcap Cottage gents are in Sarasota, Florida working on the overhaul of a mid-century ranch home as part of our “Fast and Fabulous” interior design program, a flexible program that allows for a design overhaul at a reasonable cost and fast-tracked time frame.

fast, fabulous, and fun design

The Madcap Cottage gents understand limited budgets and tight time constraints, so we have developed an interior design program that makes getting a piece of us easy…

Have you heard of this Madcap Cottage offering?!

No? Here’s an overview:

The “Fast and Fabulous” scheme allows us to create the home of your dreams from a distance, on a controlled budget, within a retail-ready framework, and on a narrow time frame.

Instead of meeting in person, we schedule a series of Skype calls and email questionnaires that will allow us to get inside your head to bring your design vision to life. You will need to be quite involved in the process and provide us with detailed measurements, etc. All items that we select will be retail available so that you can order furnishings, accessories, window treatments, etc. on your own.

The Timeline:

  1. Pre-Virtual Meeting #1
    1. You provide us with the following:
      1. Detailed measurements: we provide a template that delineates exactly what we need
      2. Description of a story line: i.e. How do you want the home to function and how do you see the home being used
      3. Design likes and dislikes
      4. Any inspiration pictures you want to share
      5. Overall budget broken down by category: from construction & finishing to furnishings
  2. Pre-Virtual Meeting #2
    1. We collect all information from Pre-Virtual Meeting #1 and send a package of inspiration interiors to you
    2. After you receive the package, you give us your feedback and comments
  3. Virtual Meeting #1
    1. We send a presentation with initial broad thoughts on the space and how it would be used
      1. This includes suggestions for:
        1. Wall treatments
        2. Lighting
        3. Other matters that impact construction, remodeling, and space planning
    2. We delve into furniture placement, but not specific pieces
    3. You give your thoughts and responses, and we discuss via Skype
  4. Virtual Meeting #2
    1. We present a final design plan using the information and discussion from Virtual Meeting #1
    2. You give your feedback and we cover one set of major changes/revisions
  5. Virtual Meeting #3
    1. We present any revisions, budget and numbers from the selections made from Virtual Meeting #2

Your final plan includes:

  • Specifications and pricing on all products
  • Ordering information on all products
  • Detailed drawings of each space based on client’s measurements
  • Detailed paint and finish plan

Are you ready to get fabulous fast?

Learn more about the Fast and Fabulous design program by emailing us at jason@madcapcottage.com

We can’t wait to get started!