Lighting

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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I fell in love with this image the moment I saw it. It’s intimacy. The sweep of the floating stair. How the bureau is tucked in under the stair. The gold framed sunburst mirrors and table lamp on the bureau scare the shadows away. The rose quartz beckons to me, while grandfather presides over the proceedings. The zebra stripe adds a touch of the exotic.

foyer accessories; source unknown

Mmmmm! Delish!

Cheers,

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

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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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If you would like our assistance on your design project, contact us here.