Belgian Style

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last posted. I admit, it has been a very busy time. In addition to the new construction Neoclassical home we’re working on, we have a renovation project in Newton happening as well. It’s far enough along that Sally and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I thought I’d share a few progress shots.

First, a floor plan for context.  We worked within the kitchen foot print, refining and reconfiguring the layout to respond to how they live today. The major change was converting the back entry area into a walk in pantry. We oriented the home office so it looks out over the back yard and swimming pool, while the mud room off the garage received a full makeover with more storage and places to put down “stuff”, hang keys, charge phones, etc.

For inspiration, we looked to the work of Gil Schafer

and my favorite blogger/interior designer from Belgium, Greet LeFevre.


Sally tweaked the Gestalt of these images as only she can. A little more modern/contemporary and styled to the American palette. Our client selected the hexagonal onyx for behind the range top and stainless steel/glass Miele exhaust hood. (which is not drawn in the sketch.) The walnut and glazed rift cut white oak at the bottom left were selected for the island and cabinetry respectively.

Working thru the exact wash/glaze took some time. Much depended on the color of the wood/veneer it was being applied to. None of these were quite right…


So… what does the kitchen look like?

One of the elevation sketches of the fridge/oven wall in the kitchen.

The kitchen island, with it’s integrated glass top table.

I took these two photographs late last week. The counter tops have just been templated and are in production at Cumar Marble and Granite. The glass table top is in storage and will be installed at the very last moment. The folks from King and Company in New Hampshire were a huge help in engineering and fabricating the table base. Cabinetry is by Detail Woodworking. The floor will be sanded, bleached, glazed and then a painted translucent stone pattern will be added  prior to the usual two finish coats of sealer. (Thank you dave Taubenaek and Zoe Design!)



Family room millwork is in the right foreground…

I’ll cover the pantry, home office and mud room in separate posts.

Sally and I have a few openings in our fall schedule for additional projects. We’d be delighted to chat with you!



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As I had mentioned in my previous post, our client wanted to know what an elaborate wrought iron stair would cost, based on these to stairs as conceptual starting points.


Using as many standard components as possible, we created a design that looked like this.


Our client was not happy with the look, so I sketched up another option which she found to be acceptable.

Working with King and Company, the stair fabricator, we priced the stair several different ways, all of which required drawings… (I now call Bob King The Stair Meister! The man id GOOD!) The above the stair priced out at about 3.5 times the originally proposed and budgeted wood stair, which used standard wood balusters from a company such as L. J. Smith, custom hand rail and exposed treads.

We then looked at what a stair would cost using simple individual wrought iron balusters, a custom hand rail and exposed treads. That was about 1.3 – 1.5 times the original budgeted stair. The price was right, but we could not find any balusters that were acceptable.

Our last option was a fully custom wood stair with a curb. This priced out at about 1.3 times the original budget. King and Company turned the custom baluster we used is on the left.


Every step of the way, Bob King showed us what the stair would look like. The final curb design looked like this.


Over, the effect looked like this.


King and Company turned 6 different baluster heights due to the compound curve of the defending stair!


Fast forward to the last month or so…

The walnut stain was selected for the floors and stair treads.


Fabrication was well under way in Bob King’s shop…


And then today’s installation!


With the stair in place, the arched opening under the stair leading to the living room can be completed. YES!!!

Tomorrow, the custom back stairs will be installed. Finally feels like things are coming together!

Note: We have some concerns about the paint color on the balusters and will probably be tweaking them a little, possibly “graying them out” somewhat.


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Great progress is being made on our French Neoclassical Style project. The roof and windows are in, stucco is complete.  The custom front and side doors are on site waiting for the door hardware to arrive. Life is good. If you follow us on Facebook, you will be familiar with a few of these images.

Merrimack Design Associates did a wonderful job designing the exterior of the house! Trim, copper, portico, still to be done…

Inside, blueboard and plaster are going up. Views of the living room and adjoining dining room. It’s always at this stage, when I see a really good plaster job, I find myself wondering,”Why bother painting?” And “Who needs crown molding, trim, etc. when a room’s proportion are right?”


View from the family room toward the mud room with blueboard waiting to be hung. The arched openings are a reoccurring theme throughout the first floor.


Off site, the custom stair for the foyer is well under way at King and Company’s shop. Bob King is the Stairmeister!

We finalized the floor and stair tread/hand rail stain today. Love it when a plan comes together! A full stair post will be for another day…



To visit our website, click here.

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