Crafting the Perfect Kitchen!


John and I have been lucky enough to own several homes together during the twenty years we have lived together, and we have always crafted kitchens that are inviting, warm, and welcoming.

Here, “snapshots” of several of our very own kitchens of the past and present that capture the Madcap Cottage vibe. They say that a kitchen is the heart of the home, so why create a space that doesn’t tingle with personality.

In a cozy cottage high in New York’s bucolic Catskill Mountains, John and I took a cozy cottage vibe and revved up it up with industrial influences, including stainless-steel appliances, black cabinetry, and a concrete kitchen island. When we purchased the home, the kitchen was dark and dreary, so we raised the ceiling, kept the original beams, and painted the ceiling a light blue to nod to the great southern tradition of painted porch ceilings. We added a slate floor, kept the tile work on the walls to a minimum to reduce costs, and layered-in a timeless kitchen farm sink from Kohler. The kitchen was designed in the early 2000s but looked fresh and timeless when we sold the home in 2018. Note the fabulous Roman shade crafted by Smith + Noble that hangs over the window, and the galvanized metal pendant light fixtures hanging over the work area that we purchased at our local garden store. The vintage, whimsical light fixture in the foreground hails from an antiques store in New Orleans.

Our Catskills kitchen after the head-to-toe renovation.

Here’s what the Catskills kitchen looked like during the floor-to-ceiling overhaul. That’s my dad, Jary, standing in what would soon become the soul of the original Madcap Cottage. Jary graciously drove up from Florida to play the role of project manager as he is a genius at construction. The ceiling originally was only as high as the beam directly above my dad’s head.

This is not a kitchen we owned, but rather John’s parents’ kitchen that we designed in Des Moines, Iowa–so the space is still in the “Madcap Cottage” family, let’s say. Designed in the early 2000s, the space has a timeless vibe that mixes white cabinetry, stainless-steel appliances, and whimsical details such as the blue-and-white vintage plates that we set into the kitchen backsplash to add visual interest. The historic home boasts shutters with an oak-leaf motif on the front facade, so we created stencils that matched the shutter “leaves” and painted them onto the kitchen floor with deck paint. The result is hardwearing and dramatic. P.S. We love using marble for countertops in a kitchen–so inviting and classic and only improve with age and wear and tear.

Here’s sadly departed Jasper in the kitchen of our former Brooklyn, New York home. Pale green cabinets mixed with a classic farm sink, marble countertops, “Bird & Thistle” wallpaper from Brunschwig, stone floors, and mismatched tiles upon the walls. The clock was from Target, and the vintage monkey sconces on either side of the dining-room door came from a flea market in Iowa and were named Sid and Nancy. We installed bead board from Lowe’s overhead and timeless schoolhouse-style ceiling light fixtures. Jasper loved this room probably because the stone floors from Ann Sacks stayed cool in the hot New York summers.

Another view of our former Brooklyn kitchen.

Our current kitchen at the House of Bedlam in High Point, North Carolina. When we purchased the 1930s-era home some five years ago, the kitchen was a bit dated and in need of a refresh. Our goal was to create an inviting space that also channeled the home’s history and captured an “English country house” vibe. Hence, we ripped out the fluorescent lighting overhead and the bisque-hued appliances and lined the walls with tile and added a pale yellow refrigerator and pale-green range, both from our friends at BlueStar Cooking in Pennsylvania. We found antique tiles while traveling in Lisbon, Portugal and had our tile installer place them into the green subway tiles behind the stovetop. The kitchen island is an antique piece that had raised to countertop height. Notice the mixed metals in the kitchen: You will find brass, oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, and nickel. We love mixing metals in a kitchen as it makes a space feel “accumulated” over time and not dated. We entertain quite often, and the kitchen works brilliantly for easy-breezy dinners with friends.

Here’s the House of Bedlam kitchen “before” we tackled the renovation. Check out “The Brady Bunch”-like lighting overhead.


  1. Sandra Winn

    All are beautiful. Am grateful I do not have to choose which I like best !!! Love your creative style.

  2. Lynn Sanguedolce

    Amazing! You have added such charm and character / love it!!!


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