Design & Architecture

Like many of you, I will spend much of my day in the kitchen helping Sally prepare our Thanksgiving day meal.  (Probably part of today as well if I am honest with myself…)  These past few days I found myself looking at different kitchens and saying to myself, yes, I could prepare our meal in that kitchen. I was surprised to note that many different styles appealed to me. Their common thread was their minimalism – lask of over ornamentation and detail, wonderful use of materials and finishes and pure functionality.


Let’s start with a kitchen that seems to bridge between modern and traditional. I say that because of the echoes of previous generations and cooking, when kitchens were not showpieces. Rather they were lean and functional, tucked away in the basement or a separate building. Yet this is clearly a kitchen of today – integrated into our modern lifestyle. it is stylish, elegant. The walls and ceiling, are finished in modern way using traditional materials.


In contrast, this Belgian kitchen is very contemporary.  Recessed adjustable down lights in the ceiling, very chandelier like in their location. Minimalist detailing of the cabinetry, etc. Yet … the plank like effect of the cabinetry recalls construction techniques of 100 or more years ago, as does the stone floor. Don’t you love the tiny window behind the stove? I do!


Then we move to entirely modern… Concealed hinges, No cabinet pulls. It’a all about materials expressing shape and form. Rigorous symmetry. I love the suggestion of the traditional chandelier over the table using very contemporary lighting. How it snuck in there.


I fell in love with this traditionally styled kitchen, designed by Belgian designer Evelyn Moreels. I know it’s all new construction. But the soft antique finish on the cabinets draw me in. The French oak in the island calls to me, as does the irregular layout of the stone on the floor. Lighting is where you need it. it feels like everything will fall readily to hand in a few steps. the crown molding repeats classical form and profiles. The panel details echo classic French paneling. Fabulous!


Have a wonderful weekend with family and friends!



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When Sally and I went to the Louvre, we were looking forward to seeing the fabulous art – you know, the Mona Lisa, etc., But I had another agenda. I wanted to get up close and personal with the wood paneling, door casings, over mantels and crown molding – to study profiles and proportion, take pictures and record my observations.

Arriving via the Metro was pretty cool.


And while seeing the classical order of the building’s exterior was exciting, I was ready to dig in.


Visually it was overwhelming – ranging from rooms and spaces that were so over the top with gilding they glowed to rooms that were rather simple and unadorned by comparison.


What was interesting was once you cut thru the gilt and overstimulation, common threads began to reveal themselves…  Stylistically, as the interior architecture simplified and evolved toward Neoclassicism, certain forms and patterns remained. How coves and crowns at the ceiling were expressed. How wall surfaces were trimmed and articulated. How soft sensuous door jamb profiles grew out of ornamentation. It was breath taking and validating. I have been telling my clients who want French style/trim profiles, you can’t find it or buy it in the catalogues. And I was right!

I can’t tell you how many times I was told, “Don’t touch!”


This was where I figured out the panorama mode on my phone… Loved being able to talk in a room in it’s totality!


But… The real treat of the day was dessert at Angelina’s! Fresh raspberry sorbet and whipped cream! Heaven!

Next post, artsy images…



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Ironically, I am going to start the series with our last 48 hours in Belgium and France. Sally and I awaken in Bruges in our lovely room in our guest house, Bonifacius.


We enjoy a lovely breakfast in the bay window overlooking the canal.


On the train ride to Charles De Gaulle airport, as the gorgeous countryside slips quickly by…


…I remember and replay in my mind the places I have seen and visited, the experiences Sally and I have had.

The canal boat ride in Bruges. I always see things differently from the water.


Lounging in the Luxembourg Gardens, trying to decide which bistro to go to for drinks before dinner with Sally.


Or a relaxing lunch at Les Deux Magots where we visited with the the lovely couple next to us. They had just arrived from Cannes. He to hunt for a week. Their irish setter sat quietly by their table the entire meal! She to visit family and friends.

But I digress.

We board the plane and settle in for the long flight home and then… An announcement is made, the plane has been damaged by a baggage truck and is unsuitable to fly, please deplane while arrangements are made for a new plane.


We are told a new plane will be available in about an hour’s time. I amuse myself by taking pictures of the airport sky.


Long story short, at 8:30 that evening the flight is officially canceled and we are all told arrangements have been made to put us up in a nearby hotel for the night. Our new flight is scheduled to depart the following day at 1 PM. We get our voucher at about 9:30 and are told the shuttle bus is at Terminal 2 Level 1 or something to that effect, see you in the morning. it is then everyone on the plane learns exactly how big Charles de Gaulle airport really is. Arrival at the hotel is somewhat chaotic with checking in and racing to dinner because the dining room closes at 10:30. The accommodations were in “sharp contrast” to the room we woke up in Bruges.

The dining room.


Classy plastic wine bucket…

Elevator lobby.

Nice hall decor…


Morning came and we arose full of hope! Our flight was scheduled to depart at 1 PM. (We were hoping our luggage was going to make it on the correct flight as we had not seen it since we checked in to our canceled flight the day before.) 1 PM, no plane at the gate. 1:30, no plane at the gate. 2 PM it announced we are to be bussed to the plane at the other end of the airport! 350+ people – 2 busses. Eventually the plane is loaded and we take off! (Air France, you had us all wondering…)

The flight was uneventful. Arriving in Boston and the cab ride home felt almost anti-climactic. We lost our day of rest due to the flight cancelation and Thursday was full of meetings. Re-entry was rather abrupt… On the other hand, now that we’re back, going thru the 3,500 plus pictures we took has turned into a virtual vacation.

(LOVE the pan function on my phone!)

Speaking of virtual vacations, our very talented design assistant Kathryn immediately borrowed our trip picture files and has given herself her own virtual vacation, which she will be doing several guest blog posts about – what images spoke/resonated with her and why.



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