Tables

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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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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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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