Belgian Style

Inspired by Ocean Home magazine’s recent inclusion of Wilson Kelsey Design in their 2016 Top 50 Interior Designers list, we decided to enter Traditional Home magazine’s New Talent Search. Preparing the entry was much harder than I expected, particularly selecting 10 images that visually tell the story of our firm. It was much like answering the question we ask of ourselves when designing a project for our clients. “What is their story and how do we artfully tell that narrative?” Seeing pictures of a finished room or project doesn’t always relate the full story of transformation. With that in mind I assembled before/after pictures of the ten images we submitted.

Enjoy.

French Style Dining Room, After photo by Laura Moss

 Before/After French Style Dining Room ; Wilson Kelsey Design

 French Style Living Room, After photo by Laura Moss

French Style Living Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

French Style Master Bath, After photo by Laura Moss

before/after French Style Master Bath ; Wilson Kelsey Design

French Country Kitchen, After photo by Sam Gray

Before/After French Country Kitchen ; Wilson Kelsey Design

Belgian Influence Kitchen, After photo by Michael Lee

Before/After Belgian Influence Kitchen; Wilson Kelsey Design

Antique Colonial Dining Room; After photo by Michael Lee

Before/After Antique Colonial Dining  Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

Belgian Influence Living Room, After photo by Michael Lee.

Before/After Belgian Influence Living Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

Transitional Living Room, Back Bay Boston; After photo by Eric Roth

Before/After Transitional Living Room ; Wilson Kelsey Design

Casual Beach House Dining Room; After photo by Michael Lee

Before/After Beach House Dining Area; Wilson Kelsey Design

Contemporary Show House Vignette; After photo by Eric Roth

Before/After Contemporary Show House  Vignette; Wilson Kelsey Design

You can see our submission here. There is so much talent out there. We appreciate your consideration.

Cheers,

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Every home has a story to tell. We’d love to help you tell yours. Please contact us here.

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Recently, I had quite a response when I posted this image of a restaurant designed by Alex Van de Walle on the Wilson Kelsey Design Facebook page.

Restaurant Design by Alex Van de Walle

It first caught my eye because of the millwork design of the bar. The millwork junkie in me sat up and noticed.Then I took in the rest of the picture – floor, lighting, colors, textures and realized how inviting and intimate it felt. The space invited me in. I wanted to go there. Interestingly, Van de Walle has no website, so it took some time to find more images of the restaurant. It was well worth the search. The following is a “walking tour” of the restaurant’s interior.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

I can’t decide if the floor is tile/stone or painted concrete. Fabulous blend of antique and contemporary light fixtures. Love the exposed brick behind the shelves.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

View from the table above.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

Wainscot detail at a banquet. The attention to the littlest thing is phenomenal!

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

The cabinet doors are SO discreet! Note the wainscot in the background.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

I decided this was in the basement.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

Stairs to the upper level to what appears to be a large function room.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

I am drawn to the mix of modern architectural forms and the whitewashed old structure. The overall effect is very contemporary. Even with the high ceilings, the lighting creates a sense of coziness.

Restaurant Design by Alex van de Walle

I  hope to visit in person some day in my travels.

Cheers,

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Every home has a story to tell. We’d love to help you tell yours. Please contact us here.

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I’ve found another favorite – A Sense of Place Houses of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod. In the WKD library, it’s tucked right next to Axel Vervoordt’s Timeless Interiors. Both books speak the same language.

Mark Hutker, founder of Hutker Architects, has been practicing architecture on the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard and environs for over 30 years. His second book, A Sense of Place Houses on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, showcases 13 homes from his large body of exceptional work. Mark is a Modernist whose work draws from the history and vernacular of Cape Cod architecture and it’s communities. In doing so, his work is a 20th/21st century extension/expression of the region. The book is a wonderfully written and visually rich narrative that illustrates how breath taking and beautiful modern residential architecture can be when it draws from a region’s historical vernacular, creating homes that are “beautiful, personal, authentic and unique to their sense of place.”

You could dive right in and look at the photographs of the 13 homes in the book and believe me, it is beautifully illustrated.  But to truly appreciate those 13 projects, you must read the introduction and the ensuing pages that precede the homes.

In the book’s introduction Mark discusses his philosophy and approach to design. He talks of Purpose as being more than his client’s aspirations of home. The home needs to have/contribute meaning to where it is built. He speaks of Collaboration as having three components – Narrative, Meaning and Pattern of Use. He poses several very simple and profound questions. “What is the specific family story we are trying to interpret, and how does that narrative come out in each of our homes? What is the meaning of that narrative to our clients? How will the house anticipate the needs of it’s residents?” Other key notions Mark refers to are Cultural Context, Stewardship, Beauty and Craft – taking you from the larger scale question of how does the surrounding community and/or nature influence one’s design decisions to the equally important expression the littlest detail thru using the right material and the right way.

Let’s take quick look at the residence on Grey Barn Farm, a working organic farm in Chilmark. I’m going to pull words and phrases from the book’s description of the home.

“A new building designed to appear as though it began life as a 19th century barn and was repurposed as a contemporary residence.”

“…language and strategies of adaptive reuse.”

“… a muli-layerd architectural composition…”

“…livability from the best of history and modernity.”

“…reaching back in time to regional values and giving these values a freshness and relevance that is appropriate to, and at home in, the present day.”

Now the images, remembering the words…

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth.

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

Grey Barn Farm, Hutker Architects; photographer Eric Roth

From a personal perspective, having grown up in farm country of upstate New York, I easily see the story being told of blending old and new in the architecture. I can appreciate the honest straight forward use and expression of materials. Maybe this is why I am so drawn to Belgian Style which also artfully dances with old and new and whose story is of drawing from and reinterpreting their history and architecture for today’s modern lifestyle.

Cheers,

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

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