French Country Design

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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Last spring, Sally and I prepared and video taped a 90 minute presentation about French Style based on our trips to Paris that we presented as part of Boston Design Week. The premise was to share our knowledge and what we have learned about how to create French Style in Your Home. The presentation was broken down into 4 parts.

1. Differentiating French from English Influence

2. Architectural Elements of French Style.

3. Decorative French Style: Room by Room

4. Modern Examples of French Style

In Differentiating French from English Influence, Sally and I illustrate how different stylistically the United States was from the French during the late 18th/early 19th centuries due to our English influence and heritage.

First, the French are sexy.

Sexy French Style

While we’re reserved, stoic. (Especially we New Englanders.)

English stoic

French food has been turned into a high art form.

French food

While our Colonial/Puritan heritage tells us food is fuel.

Colonial food

French interiors are dramatic.

french interior; photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

Compared to our Colonial Period interiors.

colonial interior

Clearly, our English heritage sent us down a different fork in the road. This will become more evident in this video and those that follow.

Who knows what would have happened if the outcome of the French and Indian War had been different? We might be speaking French!

Enjoy…

 

 Part 2 explores the architectural building blocks of creating French Style in your home.

Cheers,

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

If you would like our assistance in creating your French Style Home, contact us here.

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Since our Paris trip, Sally and I have had opportunities to use what we learned and and absorbed in a number of our projects. (Posts can be seen here and here.) We have designed a paneled living room, and a chinoiserie style mud room, a Hall of Mirrors powder room, several hidden doors and pieces of furniture. Today, I will stick with a china cabinet. It was designed for a project in Chestnut Hill. Sadly, the two pieces that were commissioned were not built. So…, if you know any one…

For inspiration, we drew from a hutch we had seen while visiting Petit Trianon. Particularly it’s cabinet doors, fiches hinges and hardware.

Petit Trianon; photographer, John Kelsey

Petit Trianon; photographer, John Kelsey

 And the stepped corners from this display case in the Louvre.

Louvre, display case; photographer John Kelsey

I drew two different sketches. One showing the cabinet in the context of the room setting. The cabinets show the stepped corners. One aspect of the design I was looking at were the esthetics of two doors (left) vs one door (right). The one door solution was selected.

french style cabinet a & b; Wilson Kelsey Design

I then drew larger partial elevations to prove to myself that the stepped corner worked visually and to check it’s proportion.

french style cabinet a & b; Wilson Kelsey Design

The base cabinet door was a raised panel door. The door panel trim on the left wold have been exquisite, but a custom knife needed to be made in order to mill the shape of the trim profile. The cost proved to be too much, so we settled for the style on the right, using a slightly modified panel trim profile I was able to find thru a local cabinet making shop.

With an approved design, I prepared a set of construction drawings, which the cabinet maker used to price the project. If the commission had gone forward, shop drawings would have been produced by the cabinet maker. Shop drawings are important because they provide an opportunity for demonstration of the cabinet maker’s understanding of the designer’s intent. Questions can be asked back and forth, details worked through, etc., such that there is  a clear understanding by all parties as to what the final piece will look like and how it will be built.

You can see that the upper cabinet door was tweaked, giving the piece an updated feel. Yet the idea came from the circle at the top of the Petit Trianon hutch above.

french cabinet construction drawing; Wilson Kelsey Design

This is an example of one of the horizontal detail sections I drew at full scale in order to sort thru the finer points of trim profiles, hinge clearances, etc.

fiche hinge detail, Wilson Kelsey Design

At any rate, since the cabinets were never built, I found myself wondering what if the finish were jazzed up a bit, a la Grange. Not sure exactly how, maybe inside the upper cabinet interior with it’s glass doors? Pop the trim between the base and upper cabinet?

One inspiration idea from a Grange piece Sally and I saw in the Paris Grange showroom window. Liking the high gloss black paint as a finish, too.

Grange Sideboard: photographer John Kelsey

Or possibly a wallpaper theme…

Wall paper and screen; photographer John Kelsey

Any thoughts?

Enjoy,

John

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