American Folk Art

After a wonderful client meeting in Milton this past Friday morning, Sally and I gave ourselves permission to taken part of the afternoon off. It was lunchtime and while the air was humid, the temps were comfortable and the sky hinted of a Dutch Master’s hand.

Farnham's saltmarsh view; Wilson Kelsey Design

We drove straight to Farnham’s in Ipswich for fried clams and a lobster roll. While other’s may say Woodman’s or the Clam Shack up the street have the best fried clams, Sally and I have always loved the lightly breaded style of Farnham’s. And the view of the Essex Salt Marsh is beyond compare.

Farnham's, Ipswich, MA

Farnham's fried calms

Farnham's lobster roll

Our appetites satisfied, we hopped in the car and drove a very short distance north on Rt. 133 for a walk on the Allyn Cox Reservation, headquarters of the Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust. The reservation consists of 26 acres of land, salt marsh and river frontage on the Essex River.

Greenbelt, Allyn Cox Reservation

We took the short walk to the Essex River, where we could see Choate Island and the back of Crane Beach and the Crane Estate, a Trustees of Reservations property.

Choate Island

Crane Beach, Essex River front from Allyn Cox Reservation

We reminded ourselves to take the Essex River cruise next time…

Essex River Cruise

Back at the car, we decided to drop in on one of favorite North Shore antique shops, Andrew Spindler Antiques.  Allen has an eye for  the very special and unique, regardless of period or style. Visiting his shop is always a wonderful adventure of discovery and surprise. We never know what we will find when we walk thru his front door.

FAB bronze brackets on the front stoop!!!

Bronze Brackets, Andrew Spindler Antiques

Devine regency Style painted chairs. Mmmm!

Regency Style Painted Chairs, Andrew Spindler Antiques

How about these rare Folly Cove Designer prints? When the designs ceased to be produced, their sample books, prints and remnants were donated to the Cape Ann Museum.

Folly Cove Designers, Andrew Spindler Antiques

Or this early two piece table? Might fit perfectly into the Belgian Style kitchen we’re designing.

antique two piece table, Andrew Spindler Antiques

If mid-century modern is your style, he’s got you covered…

pair of mid-century modern chairs, Allen Spindler Antiques

My absolute favorite was the huge French horse racing poster, in perfect condition.

French horse racing poster, Allen Spindler Antiques

And these little painted rocks…

I really wanted to bring them home with me…

Hand painted rocks, Andrew Spindler Antiques

We drove back to the office refreshed and recharged.
I wonder where our next drive will take us?

Cheers,

john

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One clear singular thought emerged in my mind as I worked on Sally’s and my living room design vignette for this May’s Wenham Museum Show House. While color fashions and trends come and go each year, neutrals have a staying power that can not be denied, regardless of style or period.

They can be used as a neutral background against which a designer develops and expresses his or her details and color color palette, as in this project done by Boston’s own Richard Fitzgerald. (New England Home, July/August 2009, Interior designer, Richard Fitzgerald, Photographer, Michael Paternio)

 

Brooke and Steve Giannetti us neutrals as a stylistic and lifestyle expression. (Veranda, July/August 2011, Interior design  by Brooke and Steve Giannetti, Photography by Steve Giannetti and Lisa Romerein)

 

English interior designer John Carter shows us we don’t have to stick to whites. We can use browns, dark taupes – even wallpaper with wonderful success.  (2009 The English Home magazine, Interior design by John Carter, month of issue and photographer unknown)

 

Here’s an eclectic/modern living room done in 2008, an artful collaboration between the owners and Tate + Burns Architects. (New England Home, September/October2008, Interior deign a collaboration between the owner and Tate+Burns, Architects, Photography by Michael Paternio)

 

Finally, a page from John Saladino’s book Style, published in 2000.

 

What do you think of neutrals. Classic? Boring?

How do you use them?

 

Cheers,

 

If a person were to ask me to offer an off the cuff phrase describing Sally’s and my style, I would say “classic traditional with an enticing European influence”. Having said that, there’s a piece of me that that will sit right up and say, “Whoa!” when I come across the right modern interior – an interior that uses form, surface, light and shadow to define and shape form, function and volume. Add an exterior that offers up not a clue as to what you are walking into, you have a formula that spells magic. Such is this project – a house with a stone exterior built in 1937 and an interior renovated to feel like a modern gallery in New York City.

Wouldn’t you expect a charming rustic interior?

 

The central fireplace has been reworked as part of an open floor plan.

 

Tucked around the corner… Antique keys.

 

Fantastic!!! A 1769  schrank & 18th century church pew play vs. tuxedo style furniture.
What’s a schrank you ask??? The short answer is it’s an antique wardrode.

 

Love the sweep of the shelves and counterpoint of modern tufting and practical  period furniture.

 

What a compostition – modern island between antique painted chairs and rustic shelves – brilliant!

 

 Look at the different thicknesses of the shelves. Real understanding of scale and weight!

 

 

Cantalevered shelves again. The antique windsor chair looks so alive! Context!!!

 

Saarinen Womb Chair, modern quilt, folded tin sand pipers, antique basket having a conversation.

A singular vision throughout. Beautiful!

 Could you live here?

 All images from Architectural Digest, Architecture by French & Crane and Jeanne Scandura. Interior Design by Lauren Sara.