Name: Jason & John of Madcap Cottage
Location: Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
Size: 2,800 square feet, Tudor-style single family home
Years lived in: 4 years
"Green is our neutral," explains Jason, as my jaw drops. Everything in Jason and John's house that can have color does. And every color is saturated. I can't stop smiling and sometimes I have to laugh out loud for the sheer joy of it.
John and Jason have a long history and familiarity with design. After years of working as editors for major design magazines, they have joined forces to form an interior design firm. Their home is their test lab.
Four years ago, John and Jason decided they wanted more living/entertaining space. Their realtor, aware of their limited budget, took the couple to an architecturally significant Brooklyn neighborhood to see a Tudor house that hadn't been lovingly cared for over the years but hadn't been destroyed either. Over its century long life, the house did not get subdivided into multiple units and, other than in the kitchen, no owner took the time or interest to make major changes. John and Jason appreciated the original layout and saw its 'English Country House' potential. After fifteen months worth of plumbing, electrical work, a new roof, new windows, the restoration of the existing moulding, a gut renovation of the kitchen, and a complete build-out of the raw attic and basement spaces, they moved in.
In the four years since, furniture has come and gone, slipcovers have dressed and undressed vintage sun room couches, lamps have been custom-shaded and 're-shaded' with an ever rotating cadre of fabrics, window treatments have been swapped around the house or replaced outright, and pillows have been plentiful but always on short term residency. Rather than experiment on their clients' homes, John and Jason are happy to explore patterns, the mixing of colors, and the handiwork of upholsterers on home turf. As Jason put it, he and John like to "throw bologna against the wall and see what sticks."
As broad reaching interior designers, John and Jason are well versed in the high end as well as the low. Their home is a seamless blend of garage sale finds altered to their precise specifications alongside limited edition pieces, expensive fabrics, and mass-produced products. Every object, regardless of its origin, is treated equally — recognized for its important role in contributing to the final vision! These are two really talented guys who aren't afraid to design out loud. As professionals, they take whimsy very seriously. John and Jason's efforts, witnessed here, should put the final nail in the coffin of beige as a fall-back design solution. This home is simply awe-inspiring.
NOTE: There is just too much of John and Jason's masterpiece to cover in one post. Today's slide show includes the living room, guest bedroom and guest bath. Parts 2 and 3 of Jason and John's home walks through their den, dining room, and master bedroom suite. And check out their kitchen on thekitchn.com.
Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: We wanted to create something of a British country house feeling in the city, a place that showcases eclectic influences but feels like it’s been lived in for dozens of years. There are patterns everywhere and gobs of color and lots of whimsy: The goal was to keep the eye constantly engaged and entertained. And comfort is king: This is a house where you can put your feet up and relax.
Inspiration: Nancy Lancaster. Auntie Mame’s Beekman Place apartment. The gardens at Hidcote. The Beverly Hills Hotel coffee shop. Manhattan’s Indochine restaurant. The film, The Women (the orginal — not the remake). Dorothy Draper. John Fowler’s hunting lodge. Bern’s Steak House. The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Tony Duquette. Clearwater, Florida’s sadly departed Kapok Tree Restaurant.
Favorite Element: The comfort. The wallpaper that covers nearly every square inch of the place — including many ceilings. And the fireplace that we have going all winter long.
Biggest Challenge: The living room was awkward thanks to the traffic pattern, so we couldn’t use rugs. Our solution was to paint the floor with green-and-white stripes, and that pulled the whole space together.
What Friends Say: Our friends love it: They come all the way from Manhattan for our dinner parties (and on multiple occasions to boot!). We get “fun!” a lot and “I love the color and patterns!” quite a bit, too. Jason’s mom — more of a Calvin Klein minimalist — calls our house the “knick-knack shack.”
Biggest Embarrassment: None. Any “mistake” can be tweaked or re-painted or propped or slipcovered. (Although I almost once Be-Dazzled our duvet, but then I thought twice.)
Proudest DIY: We are super handy, so we are always changing out light fixtures and painting. We look at our home as a design lab, so it is constantly in a state of flux. We landscaped our backyard ourselves — including the installation of some 20-foot birch trees that we had to drag down an alley and over a wall.
Biggest Indulgence: The wallpaper that covers every square inch. And the custom-made lampshades and window treatments that we are constantly switching out.
Best Advice: Be bold or you just may grow mold. Or, put a smile on your style.
Dream Source: World Market mixed with a Marrakesh soukh. Or style guru Marian McEvoy’s storage unit.
• Wallpaper from Matthew Williamson for Habitat
• Floor paint by Farrow & Ball
• Sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, slipcovered in a green cotton from Calico Corners with seat cushions in floral Decorators Walk fabric from Schumacher
• Floral print armchairs slipcovered in floral print Decorators Walk fabric from Schumacher
• Marrakech side table from Baker Studio
• Regency-styled chandelier from Shades of Light
• Day bed from Mitchell Gold, slipcovered in bamboo print from Decorators Walk for Schumacher and cushion in printed cotton fabric from Thibaut
• Wall paint, Glidden
• Stair runner from Dash & Albert
• Grasscloth wallpaper from Seabrook
• All frames from Larson Juhl
• Bed from the Milling Road collection from Baker
• Wallpaper on walls and ceiling from Thibaut
• Window treatments fabricated from cotton fabrics from Calico Corners
• Wall paint, Glidden
• All tiles from Ann Sacks
• All plumbing from Kohler
• Wallpaper from Hinson
• Wall paint, Glidden
WANT MORE? Part 2 of this House Tour is now live! Jason & John's Hyper Saturated Home, Part 2
Re-edited from a post originally published 2.17.10 - JL
Images: Jill Slater
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