Archive for September, 2010

Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival Report

Sally and I spent this past Friday evening and Saturday at the Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival. If you’re and wine and food lover, events such as this need to be put on your “bucket list”. Friday evening we attended a private preview party in the main cooking demonstration tent where Champe Speidel, Chef/Owner of Persimmon, located in Bristol, Rhode Island did a series of food and wine pairing demonstrations. Then it was on to the Gala opening event at Rosecliff Mansion, where the food and wine continues to amaze (especially the deserts…).


While we were at the Gala, we met a most delightful and very accomplished artist  Thomas Arvid. For the past 20 years he has done only work relating to his passion, wine. The entire evening was so exciting that Sally and I forgot to take pictures! We were also pleased to find other members of the Boston design community represented, running in to Bob Ernst of FBN Construction, Debra Clark of Clark Kitchens, Guy and Glenn Murray of Stone Technologies, Chris Zizza of C&R Floors and several folks form Scandia Kitchens.


Saturday, we spent a leisurely morning walking up and down Thames Street, taking in the scenery before we headed back to the Festival. We arrived about noontime and had an opportunity to check out the Infiniti tent before wandering in to the main tasting tent. We were delighted with how it all came out! (I’m already thinking about next year…) We caught up with Thomas, our favorite artist, and of all the wines we sampled; the most memorable wines were from the Loire Valley. If you’re looking for white wines that are delicious alternatives to chardonnay, you need not look further.



By the time we left at 3:30 PM, the main tasting tent was mobbed. Our final stop before heading home was a polo match. Jen Driscoll, who produces the digital design magazine, Perspective New England, had invited us to join her family and friends at the match. It was Hat Day and all the ladies dressed the part. It was the perfect way to end the day before heading home.

Inspiration – Philip T. Siebert, Jr.

I’ve been checking in on the Design Sherpa website periodically to see what is the latest featured entry for the “What Inspires you Contest”.  It is interesting to see what inspires other people when it comes to design and architecture.  Today’s posting really struck a chord with me because Debra LaPorte’s entry was about being inspired by Philip T. Siebert, Jr from Stubbins Associates.


Photo credit Warren Jagger

I second Deb’s sentiments about Phil. I had the privilege of working for and with him on some amazing projects in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He had an uncanny ability to push and inspire you to achieve things you didn’t know that you were capable of doing. He taught me how to “see”, sketch and think three dimensionally as I design a space. At the time, I never quite understood his thinking about how a space might photograph while the project was still in design. Over time, particularly now as a business owner, I’ve grown to appreciate and understand why that was so important. Not a week goes by that I don’t realize that he’s still influencing my work today.

Your Questions Answered

We promised some answers to your design questions –  so here we go!  Our first question is from Nash:

Hi and thanks so much for taking the time to answer our design questions! Here’s my dilemma: I’ve got an old non-working fireplace in my home and, while I don’t plan on turning it into a functional one anytime soon, I’d really like to know how I can make it a little prettier. Right now it’s simply a dusty, dark hole in the wall. Any suggestions?

Our Advice:

We have a fireplace in our dining room that we rarely use. We think of it as a small stage set. What we did was find a pair of gorgeous andirons and stack beautiful birch logs on them. It’s all flanked with two Boston ferns. Over the years we have done seasonal arrangements.  This fall we’re considering replacing the logs and ferns with over-sized gourds, tall pillar candles and some interesting cement acorns intended for the garden.

For a Designer Show House we placed a large carved soapstone turtle in the fireplace flanked by two antiqued ceramic balls. Hope these thoughts plus the photos get the creative juices flowing.

For the Bibliophile


Photo credit Canadian House and Home

Sculptural drafting paper

Summer Fireplace Design Sponge

Photo credit Design*Sponge

Stacked wood fills the space with earthy textures


Photo credit Kay Douglass

Distract with a propped photo or painting


Photo credit House Beautiful

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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