Hello, gang! We’re guest bloggers John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of interior design firm Madcap Cottage. We’re just back from four days in the Hamptons, where we tackled the installation for the covered porch we are designing for the 2015 Hampton Designer Showhouse in partnership with our friends at Frontgate.
Whew, it was a busy few days! There is always a tad of drama at showhouse installs: Something invariably goes wrong, and the tension can quickly build up and spill over. Luckily, we finished each day with a glass of local Wölffer Estate rosé wine. Seeing the world through rosé-colored glasses is sometimes A-OK.
Here’s a walkthrough of our installation process in pictures. We hope you enjoy!
Here is the covered porch when we showed up in the Hamptons last week. The yard had been installed since our last visit. We were ready to get to work and make some magic.
The Madcaps love the Roaming Elephants Outdoor Lumbar Pillows. So chic!
The covered porch at the end of Day One. We are crazy about the various lanterns! Still lots to unpack and set up.
John adds further oomph to a pair of dining chairs with outdoor tassel chair ties in contrasting hues. Why not embellish a chair with some fun trim?
John takes a break amid a sea of outdoor lumbar pillows with tassels. “Very comfortable and stylish,” notes John.
Setting a lovely dinner table with jaunty yellow-and-blue plates atop a hand-painted dining table top.
And it’s a wrap … time for cocktails! Here’s John at the wonderful, low-key Townline BBQ in Sagaponack.
P.S. The 2015 Hampton Designer Showhouse is now open in Bridgehampton, New York. It runs through Sept. 7. View the video featuring our finished design – we hope you enjoy it!
See more designer spaces on our Pinterest board.
When your garden gives you mint, it’s time to make mojitos.
This fragrant cocktail is said to have been created in Havana, though its true origins are somewhat muddled. Savored for decades in Cuba, this highball gained international notoriety when Ernest Hemingway allegedly adopted it as his signature cocktail.
Now a favorite on the beaches of Miami, the simple combination of cool mint, crisp lime and as much or as little rum as you’d like is a refreshing antidote for a hot summer day.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
5 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig for garnish
1½ ounces chilled club soda
1½ ounces white rum
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
In a highball glass, muddle the mint leaves with ½ ounce of the soda. Add ice. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the rum, lime juice and Simple Syrup; shake well. Strain into the glass. Add the remaining soda and the mint sprig.
Makes about 1½ cups
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. The syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 1 month.
Stir up more refreshing entertaining ideas with inspiration from our Pinterest board.
Pool parties and leisurely outdoor meals are the hallmarks of summer entertaining. But feeding people through hours of swimming and socializing can spell trouble for your food and drinks. Here are four easy ways to keep it all cool.
On a hot day, no one wants a lukewarm beverage. Our Optima Beverage Collection chills drinks for hours – without messy condensation. The secret to this elegant collection is double-walled stainless steel, which delivers maximum cold retention and no condensation.
In the heat of the summer, it doesn’t take food long to spoil. With our Super Chill you can serve up food safely… and in style. Innovative double-walled construction, plus a gel-based inner layer, keep food cold for up to eight hours without ice.
When you need to keep a big party rolling, the Tommy Bahama Cooler is just the ticket. This 100-quart stainless steel cooler keeps up to 125 cans of beer or soda ice cold. A big upgrade from clunky plastic coolers, this handsome cooler elevates the look of any party and can easily be wheeled to sit exactly where you want it.
With our Portable Ice Maker, you’ll never have to send someone out for ice in the middle of the fun. This dazzlingly handy appliance makes ice faster than a top-of-the-line freezer – no plumbing required.
Looking for more outdoor entertaining inspiration? Consider “Six go-to tips for summer entertaining from Donatella Arpaia” or “How To: Host a Pool Party” found on Houzz.
Coconut palms silhouetted against neon skies. The perfume of Cuban coffee and the beat of steel drums. Endless ocean and velvet air … it’s all so Miami. No surprise that this locale inspired our favorite summer looks: The Seaside Sophisticate.
If we had only one day in Miami, we’d make Little Havana a must-see. Pulsing with Cuban authenticity, Calle Ocho (8th Street) is the main drag through this unforgettable neighborhood.
Begin where the refugees of the 1960s began—at the Tower Theater. (1508 SW 8th St.). Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro first tasted American culture by watching movies like West Side Story and Breakfast at Tiffany’s here, subtitled in Spanish. Take a selfie out front because this is where Little Havana took root.
Now, follow your nose next door to El Exquisito (1510 SW 8th St.) for a cup of fragrant cafesito. This dark, sweet Cuban espresso is just what you need to get your heart thumping the Little Havana beat.
A stone’s throw away is Gomez Park (8th St. & 15th Ave.), and it’s worth the wander. At first you’ll wonder if there’s an event going on—some sort of dominos tournament? No, Little Havana’s retirees play rowdy rounds of dominos and debate politics here every day and well into the night. Unless you’re over 55, don’t try to sit down and join them; they’ll politely tell you you’re just not old enough!
Local color is great. But the neighborhood brims with actual color, too. The door is casually open at Agustin Gainza Gallery (1652 SW 8th St.), but the art grabs you by the collar and yanks you in. Gainza, a Cuban-born artist, says he likes to “tell the story of color with madness and delight,” and his paintings and sculptures don’t disappoint.
It’s time for a medianoche, a pressed Cuban sandwich with layers of ham, cheese, roast pork, pickles and mustard at El Cristo (1543 SW 8th St.), Nearly every restaurant in Little Havana has a take-out counter. Catch snippets of the Cuban jazz, salsa and merengue music emanating from each kitchen while you grab a paper-wrapped sandwich, guava ice cream or hand-chopped coconut water. We dare you not to move your body while you eat.
More than anything, the scent of cigars brings images of the delicate Havana breeze and hot beaches of Old Cuba to the minds of the residents. So you’ll want to visit El Titan de Bronze (1071 SW 8th St.) to watch an expert cigar maker hand roll one and tell a story or two of home.
When the sun dips low, head back down Calle Ocho to where you started. Relax with a mojito and listen to pachanga music at the world-famous Ball & Chain Lounge (1513 SW 8th St.). It’s the perfect capper to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Little Havana.