Design & Architecture

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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Looking for kitchen design inspiration today, I came across a photo of a glorious kitchen – my guess is Paris or similar environ. While not right for what I am currently working on, it was instant kitchen love. I normally don’t like Ghost Chairs. But here, my first thought was Perfect!!! Cabinets become modern sculpture in the space, acting as a foil for the exuberance of the crown molding. Most of the time blue walls leave me cold. If this room gets evening light, I’ll bet the paint absolutely glows and changes color, mimicking the changing evening/night sky. Spot on!!!

Beautiful European Kitchen, Source Unknown

 My regret is I was moving so fast I failed to note the image source or if there was a designer credit.

So if you see this and can help me credit the designer, let me know who it is.

Cheers,

John

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I periodically post design sketches of the projects we’re working on on our WKD Facebook page. I thought I’d consolidate a series of sketches and mockups we have done on the interior renovation of the living room in an Antique Colonial/Federal Period Reproduction home to show the progression we go thru with a client when we’re working thru the design of the interior architecture of a room with them.

First it’s the ideas and inspiration.

Sometimes it comes from our own work, as in the paneling and mantel surround we designed for a home in Lincoln, MA several years ago.

Colonial paneling and mantel surround designed by Wilson Kelsey Design

Or it can come from from the traveling Sally and I do, as we continue to educate ourselves, learning about our profession and architectural heritage. These are pictures I took in the basement of the Swan House in Atlanta, Georgia last spring. They are of the paneling that was in Philip Trammel Schutze’s apartment, the architect of the Swan House.

Philip Trammel Schutze apartment, Swan House; Wilson Kelsey Design

Philip Trammel Schutze apartment, Swan House; Wilson Kelsey Design

We often turn to our library as a resource. For this project, I pulled Brent Hull’s, Traditional American Rooms off the shelf. It is a fabulous documentary of many of the Federal Period Rooms at Winterthur. I referred to this book recently as I worked on the mantel and cabinetry design for a project we are doing in Wellesley and Charlestown.

The Marlboro Room

Marlboro Room Winterthur

The Hampton Room

Winterthur, The Hampton Room

I reviewed these and other images with our client, went thru their own extensive library with them and began sketching, quickly coming up with 4 ideas.

I call these little sketches/doodles “cartoons”. They don’t communicate much detail, rather they express Gestalt – feel, emotion, a sense of place.

first Federal Period paneling/mantel sketches; Wilson Kelsey Design

Our client pounced on the bottom left because of the mantel. They asked that we keep the door frame assembly simple, as shown on the right of the sketch.

We then moved into more detail and larger scale, reconfirming the selected mantel design in the process.

Yes, the walls will be green – not this intense…

living room mantel elevation, WIlson Kelsey Design

Too leggy…

Federal style paneling and mantel; Wilson Kelsey Design

Next we drilled down to the panel trim.

This shows the panel trim within the confines of the stiles and rails of the paneling. Note how the door trim/assembly has been pulled forward, proud of the paneling, emphasizing it’s verticality, giving the room “lift”. (Lesson learned when visiting Paris last January.)

Federal Period Style Panel; Wilson Kelsey Design

Here the trim sits proud of the stile/rail assembly by about 1/8″. We liked the shadow line created by the difference in height.

Federal Style Paneling Study; Wilson Kelsey Design

We moved on to mock ups and what I call the “eyeball design” phase, confident of the outcome…

Six different mockups were done. I”ll keep it simple.

Here are the two finalists.

Trim proud of stile/rail; Wilson  Kelsey Design

Trim within the stile/rail; Wilson Kelsey Design

We got fooled. What we thought would be best was not. The trim that sat proud of the stile rail called too much attention to itself. You saw a series of picture frames as opposed to an integrated whole, which is what we saw with the trim that sat fully within the stile/rail assembly. it was softer, more delicate – in balance with the room.

Repeat after me.

Pencils are cheap. 2×4’s are expensive.

Mock ups, mock ups, mock ups!!!

Fractions of an inch actually matter – tremendously!!!

And so, the unfinished room awaits it’s final assembly.

federal style paneling and mantel in construction; Wilson Kelsey Design

Take a close look at the flu assembly – how it corbels to the right to pass steel beam supporting the second floor.

I wonder what happens on the second floor…

Cheers,

john

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