Archive for June, 2010

Rooms Filled with Love

The pace of all our work is picking up as we help our clients finish up their projects before Summer vacations. In the process, it’s caused me to do quite a bit of thinking about the design process and what it is that makes a room or home feel special to some one. What triggered my thinking was the word Love. I have heard the word love used with regularity in reference to a piece of furniture, artwork, rug; even a room. So I began asking a few questions of our clients and the responses were interesting. One client described how in the evening after dinner, she loves to curl up in a particular chair by a small table with a reading lamp and read; how she is able to unwind and find herself again. Another spoke of a console table in their living room that overlooks their patio and yard. He loves to have his morning cup of coffee there, read the morning paper and ready himself for the day. No one spoke about style or look. They spoke of peace, refuge and feelings of nourishment. I’m learning from my clients that when a room is filled with the things you love, the room is able to give back to you in a way that replenishes and recharges you emotionally and spiritually.


A Room to Dream

This spring I worked with my fellow ASID New England board members to create a bedroom for The Room to Dream Foundation’s Carnival of Dreams fund raising gala.  Room to Dream creates beautiful bedrooms for chronically-ill children.  The goal is to make children feel special and improve their quality of life by transforming their environments.  The rooms could be a hospital room, a bedroom at home or a facility for sick children and their families.

The ASID New England board was given the task of creating a room for a teenage girl.  Since we needed to create a room at very little expense and incorporate donated items – quite a bit of creativity was involved.  The jumping off point for the room was several yards of Ultrasuede that I had on hand for a custom headboard.  The chartreuse and orange fabric was perfect for a teenage girl.  We also used the fabric for an inventive window treatment.

The orange paint colors were chosen by Board member, Barbara Bradlee, and the horizontal stripe pattern successfully executed by Board member, Nigel Costelloe’s firm Catchlight Painting.

Each Board member helped procure donated items and worked to put the room together. It was amazing that with seven different designers our room came off with such a solid concept.  No divas here!

When the gala was over all the donated items were saved for installation in a lucky girls bedroom.

Here is the room with some of us from the design team.  Pictured left to right -Patti D’Angelo, Barbara Bradlee, Lynda Onthank, Sally Wilson, and Senofer Mendoza

Here it is ready for the gala.


– Sally

A Kitchen for a Penthouse

A number of years ago, I did a design for the top two floors and the penthouse for a law firm in 200 State Street here in Boston. The penthouse was occupied by the firm’s library. The ceilings in the penthouse were so high that we were able to design a mezzanine within the space. But that is another story, including the Darth Vader lobby…  But that’s a story for another day… This past week I came across a contemporary kitchen that would have been right at home in that kind of space. The designer had dealt beautifully with the issues that spaces with high ceilings bring with them. Issues having to do with scale, proportion, lighting and intimacy to name a few.

I estimate that the ceilings are between 13 and 14 feet off the floor. By introducing very pure simple forms in black, sandwiched between the light floor and walls and the not so light ceiling (Note that the floor and ceiling are both wood and quite textural as well.) the designer has immediately broken the space down into smaller visually manageable pieces. The top of the black fridge/cooking wall creates a strong horizontal line, helping to soften the impact of the high ceiling. The suspended stainless steel exhaust hood/light fixture over the island really helps anchor the cooking area, bringing the entire space right down to human scale. And I love the use of the stainless steel base to float the island off the floor.

On the other side of the cooking area, the three strong horizontal elements; base cabinets, back splash and upper cabinets, along with the large horizontal piece of art above also contribute the the sense of scale and place, making you comfortable in such a tall space. The other aspect of this particular point of view is how the horizontals draw your eye to the adjacent eating dining area and the view of the landscape beyond. Also note the connection to the dark window frames and the dark tree trunks. I find it quite pleasing.

The view to the small dining area. You see a change of scale toward smaller, more delicately shaped and detailed pieces, where people are going to sit and linger over a meal. Without the strong black forms or strong horizontal lines, the ceiling above is allowed to sweep outward and upward to meet the sky. Wonderful!!!!

Even at this scale, the strong sense of order prevails with the composition of the four pieces of art on the wall and then the cd player placed oh so thoughtfully and deliberately aligned visually with the front face of the HVAC cover and the bottom of the picture frames. The art is placed so that it can be appreciated while seated, helping to create a sense of closeness and intimacy. And then there are the chairs… The only soft forms in the entire space.  How wonderfully inviting they are, so feminine in this masculine room. I just want to reach out and touch the wood back and arms. Another aspect of the chairs I like is that all the elements of the design are in the chair; the color black in the seat, the metal frame, the wood in the back and arms. Repetition of the theme down to the last little detail. Gorgeous.

John Kelsey and Sally Wilson

Wilson Kelsey Design is an award-winning luxury architectural interior design firm serving discerning clients in Greater Boston and beyond.

With over 50 years’ combined experience, husband-and-wife team John Kelsey and Sally Wilson expertly manage the details while collaborating with you on every aspect of your design project, to create a beautiful home that reflects who you are and how you live. Our warm and approachable sensibility makes the design process an enjoyable and memorable experience, from initial design discussions through project completion.

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