Chairs

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.

Adventure at South Front Architectural Antiques; Wilson Kelsey Design

At about 18″ in diameter, I saw this copper pot as a planter in an urban loft.

copper pot; Wilson Kelsey Design

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!

Period Mantel; Wilson Kelsey Design

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.

Large Gilt Mirror; Wilson Kelsey Design

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.)

small arm chair; Wilson Kelsey Design

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.)

Art Nouveau Chair; Wilson Kelsey Design

Art Nouveau Chair; Wilson Kelsey Design

Art Noveau Chair; Wilson Kelsey Design

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.

Foundry Patterns; Wilson Kelsey Design

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.

Foundry Patterns; Wilson Kelsey Design

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.

Corner bench seat; Wilson Kelsey Design

I guess Sally and I are going to have to find a few good projects in order to put these finds to good use!

Cheers,

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

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There was no Sunday Drive today, not even a Friday drive as happened last week… This weekend the construction drawings for a Belgian style kitchen took precedence…

Belgian Style Kitchen construction drawings; Wilson Kelsey Design

So… I’m going to circle back to the weekend of August 1, when Sally and I drove to Lenox to meet her brother Pat and and his daughter Stephanie. Pat is hiking the Appalachian Trail and his daughter was joining him on the trail the coming week. The weekend was an opportunity for much needed R&R for the 4 of us. We took in  TWO Tanglewood concerts – one from the lawn, the other under the shed roof.

Tanglewood Shed at night

shed, day

While Pat and Stephanie were off restocking provisions, buying a new lighter tent and doing laundry… Sally and I explored the area, visiting Ashintully Gardens and Naumkeag, both Trustees of Reservations properties.

Ashintully Gardens, located in Tyringham, are the remnants of the grand estate Ashintully, a Georgian style mansion built in 1903 for Robb and Grace de Peyster Tystus. Amongst local residents of the Berkshires, the mansion was known as the Marble Palace due to the way the white sand in the stucco reflected in the sunlight. The home burned down in 1952, with only the front portico’s 4 tall doric columns remaining. After the fire, John S. McLennan Jr. moved into the farmhouse at the foot of the hill and subsequently began a 30 year effort designing and creating the gardens you can see today.

Ashintully Gardens; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson  Kelsey Design

Ashintully Gardens; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson  Kelsey Design

Ashintully Gardens; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson  Kelsey Design

Ashintully Gardens; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson  Kelsey Design

Ashintully Gardens; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson  Kelsey Design

Our other visit was to Naumkeag, designed by McKim, Meade & White for Joseph Choate in the late 19th Century as a summer retreat for the family for three generations. The gardens were designed by Choate’s daughter, Miss Mable Choate and Fletcher Steele over a 30 year period. If my memory serves me, when the property was bequeathed to the Trustees in 1958, it came intact with the contents of the house, including furniture and artwork. While I am not a big fan of Victorian Period architecture, I found myself truly admiring the creative and enthusiastic blending of classical architectural elements and details.

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Hand threaded wooden beads!!!

Naumkeag 6Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Silver leaf ceiling… Liking the border stripes…

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Then there was the garden… Took my breath away!!!

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Naumkeag; photo by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

And I haven’t even talked about The Kemble Inn in Lenox, where we stayed.

The Kemble Inn, Photo by John Kelsey

Better save that for another post…

Cheers,

John

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Sally’s and my presentation on “Creating French Style in your Home” on Sunday at the French Cultural Center was a HUGE success! We came away feeling there is still a place for elegant, classy and sophisticated traditional interiors in the world. During the post presentation social, while champagne and madeleines were being served by the staff from the fabulous Newbury Street French restaurant La Voile, a lady approached Sally and told her, “I’ve been waiting 20 years for someone to do a presentation like this!” Another came up to me and said, “Now I understand why and how the parts and pieces fit together!” Happy Dance!!! It made us feel like our hard work had paid off!

During the presentation, these slides in particular created quite a discussion. I was going thru my Mirrors and Mantels section of the presentation (We had 10 topics/touch points.), explaining and illustrating how and why mirrors were placed and used in 18th century French homes to reflect light and/or to visually expand a room. Using this picture I took of a room in the Musee Carnavalet, I asked whether we were seeing into another room or were we looking into a mirror?

carnavalet, photo  by John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

The answer is we are looking into a mirror. But you need to look twice to notice the picture hanging in front of the mirror. with the window and lantern appearing as they do, it is easy to think you are looking into another room with a window beyond. I asked the attendees to remember this picture.

A short time later I showed this picture of a Parisian apartment done by French designers Champeau and Wilde.

Champeau & Wilde

Then this one and posed the same question. Are we looking into a second room or are we looking at a mirror?

Champeau & Wilde

This is a tough one, no? Most thought we were looking into a mirror. But we are not. We’re looking thru a large hole in the wall between the two pair of doors into the room beyond! Fabulous! Look carefully at the crown molding. The closer room is simple with ornamentation in the corners only. The far room has brackets running the length of the molding. Look at the picture some more and you begin to pick up other details and clues. What else do you see?

Cheers and have a great week!

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

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