Inspired by Ocean Home magazine’s recent inclusion of Wilson Kelsey Design in their 2016 Top 50 Interior Designers list, we decided to enter Traditional Home magazine’s New Talent Search. Preparing the entry was much harder than I expected, particularly selecting 10 images that visually tell the story of our firm. It was much like answering the question we ask of ourselves when designing a project for our clients. “What is their story and how do we artfully tell that narrative?” Seeing pictures of a finished room or project doesn’t always relate the full story of transformation. With that in mind I assembled before/after pictures of the ten images we submitted.
French Style Dining Room, After photo by Laura Moss
French Style Living Room, After photo by Laura Moss
French Style Master Bath, After photo by Laura Moss
French Country Kitchen, After photo by Sam Gray
Belgian Influence Kitchen, After photo by Michael Lee
Antique Colonial Dining Room; After photo by Michael Lee
Belgian Influence Living Room, After photo by Michael Lee.
Transitional Living Room, Back Bay Boston; After photo by Eric Roth
Casual Beach House Dining Room; After photo by Michael Lee
Contemporary Show House Vignette; After photo by Eric Roth
There’s a must stop Sally and I make every Christmas when we visit her mother and step-dad. It’s South Front Architectural Antiques, We’re always filled with excitement and anticipation because we never know what we will find or discover. This year did not disappoint.
At about 18″ in diameter, I saw this copper pot as a planter in an urban loft.
If I had been working on a Federal Period renovation and needed a mantel, I would have scooped this up in a hurry. Totally pristine!
This 5′ x 7′ gilt mirror probably isn’t the right piece for over the mantel. But I could see it standing on the floor in the right foyer or in an edgy living room.
We found this delicately scaled arm chair tucked in a corner of the second floor. All it needs is a small Mid Century Modern glass top coffee table beside it. (I wanted to bring the chair home even though we have no room for it.)
But the chair I truly lusted for was this one. This Art Nouveau chair, in need of full restoration, could be the centerpiece of any room. (I might have to commission a second one.)
The old foundry molds were incredible. Very West Elm… The large panel-like mold was for the front of a boiler or something of that sort. I find myself wondering how I could incorporate a fireplace into it as part of a feature wall.
I can see the potential with the collage on the wall behind for one of two applications. Very stark modern where the patterns become very sculptural or in the quintessential brick and beam warehouse/loft.
And last but not least, this corner bench. I’d love to be able to incorporate it into a breakfast nook in a Belgian Style inspired kitchen.
I guess Sally and I are going to have to find a few good projects in order to put these finds to good use!
Every home has a story to tell. We’d love to help you tell yours. Please contact us here.
The holiday break is over, the new year has begun and we’re back at it at the WKD Ranch. I have projects going into construction and new ones on the boards. Sally has completed designing several little and one large decorative gems and has new ones in the works. The year is starting off well.
To start 2016 on the blog, I want to circle back and complete the Elements of French Style video’s. I had posted the first in mid December and then ran into technical difficulties that prevented me from posting the remaining three before Christmas.
In this segment Sally and I will discuss the building blocks of classic French Style interior architecture. We both feel strongly that you you need to get the bones right. (Video 3 explores the French Style’s decorative elements and video 4 covers today’s modern interpretation of the style, of which there are many.)
I’ll post a few pictures and let the video “do the talking…”
Starting in the foyer, you need a black and white checked marble floor, a beautiful wrought iron stair with a curb concealing the stairs treads and rises and a lantern for lighting. The lantern is a must…
Look carefully at the proportion of the black checks in relation to the white squares. The checks are often too small.
From Petite Trianon. Fear not, the stair does not need to be this ornate with gilding.
Interior room floors are typically wood. Versailles parquet in formal/public front rooms and less formal patterns in the private spaces. This is the entry to the hall of Mirrors in Versailles. Note the other classic architectural element seen in this image – large windows, allowing maximum light into a space.
And the far less formal floor here…
In the above photo you see two other critical elements of French Style. The large mirror over the mantel and the coved ceiling. The mirror is intended to reflect light and expand the room visually. Curved crown molding and coves are used to either visually bring the ceiling down to the wall as above, or extend the wall up and out on to the ceiling, as below. We also see the beginnings of another very critical component of French Style, the chandelier and lighting. Note how it is reflected in the mirror…
Many times, there is another large mirror on the opposite wall, and the chandelier and candelabra are placed so light would be reflected back and forth to infinity, as in the image below.
In the midst of this, I dare not forget door hardware. In our travels, I thought I would find very orate and fancy hardware and I did on occasion. But, surprisingly, more often than not the hardware was very unadorned and simple.
I’ll close with the same image that concludes the video because it shows many of the basic components of French Style (and it’s beautiful). Large mirror over the fireplace, large windows, chandelier, cove/crown at the ceiling, etc. It also expresses the masculine/feminine dynamic I felt in many of the rooms Sally and I visited. The strength and weight of the fireplace mantel balanced by the softness of the tapestry for example. What other examples can you find?
Enjoy the video…
Just a reminder, you don’t have to replicate the ornate details and gilding. That’s just stuff. What is important to remember are the ideas and concepts and their relationships one to the other.
Have fun French Styling…
If you would like our assistance in creating your French Style Home, contact us here.
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.