Georgian Style

After all the rain we’ve this past week, Sally and I needed to get out and stretch our legs. Recently, I attended Northshore Magazine’s launch party for their new publication, Northshore Home, at Willowdale, located in Bradley Palmer State Park, which reminded me that next door was the Mass Audubon Society’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. (A kitchen we designed for an Ipswich client was included in the inaugural issue.) So, on Sunday afternoon we took the opportunity to visit to the Sanctuary. Knowing that the Topsfield Fair was in full swing, we took to the back roads to get there.

The Sanctuary visitor center is located in the Samuel Bradford House, built in 1763. Georgian/Federal influence is clearly evident in it’s exterior details. We were both impressed by the size of the central chimney. Our guess is there are a minimum of 6, possibly 8 fireplaces in the house.

Samuel Bradford House, Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

It’s lovely front portico. I was interested in seeing how the window casing around the upper windows was integrated into the decorative trim under the eves, as I had been asked to help solve this very problem about two months ago. Based on what I saw here, I got it right! Whew!!!

Samuel Bradford House, Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

A first – a the bullnose window sill. File this away under Federal Window Details. You never know… Love the simple watertable detail and locally quarried rubble foundation below the window.

Samuel Bradford House, Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

The real purpose of our visit wasn’t the architecture, but to inhale the fresh fall air and savor the fall foliage and changing of the seasons. The vista from the front of the house did not disappoint, with an added bonus of about 50 bluebirds flitting about the field.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

Sally played peek-a-boo with me the entire afternoon…

Organic tree forms abounded.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

The Rockery delighted.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

The Sycamore impressed.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

The view of Rockery Pond reminded us of the Monet Water Lilies show we saw in the d’Orsay Museum in Paris last fall.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

monets-water-lilies

As did the stone bridge of our visit to Vaux le Vicomte.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

vaux le vicomte; photographer,  John Kelsey

These views trigger memories and we make connections to ideas, colors, patterns, textures and forms we were unaware of before.

As do the little things at our feet.

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

 Tigger’s favorite food, Haycorns…

Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

The contrast between vista and up close and personal was constant, reminding us of how much our spirit and soul need both to be complete.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

As we returned to our car, the path took us between two old overgrown stone walls. Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming her land… I find this reminder of her constancy comforting.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary; photographer, John Kelsey

Thanks for joining Sally and me on our walk. Until next Sunday…

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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Sally and I have been so busy this summer that we really haven’t taken/had time to appreciate the pleasures and opportunities that only summer can offer. Several weeks ago, we agreed we needed to make time to smell the roses. So… last Sunday we  went on a garden tour, visited the Sergeant House Museum in Gloucester and concluded the evening at the Rudder in Rocky Neck.

The tour offered access the several private homes’s gardens that one would normally never see. We chose the tour in Beverly because it was on the way to Gloucester and it touted 7 acres, much of which was restored to New England meadow. You arrived and parked in front of the main house, recently renovated/restored by the North Shore architectural firm, Carpenter & MacNeille, whose work we hold in high regard. Somewhat formal, but casual enough to not be intimidating. We immediately spotted several species plants we would love to have in our yard. (Uh-Oh…)

garden tour, Wilson Kelsey Design

The tall columnar Arborvitae in particular caught our eye.

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

Idealic walkway…

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

As you turned the corner of the house you came upon a lovely informal patio overlooking a casual rambling shade garden.

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

LOVED the boat shape picnic table!!!

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

Found several partial sun/shade loving plants to dream about.

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

I think this is a variety of Milkweed.

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

As you walked past the informal flower garden they landscape transitioned to a classic New England meadow. Tucked in it’s midst was a vegetable garden.

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

And as we completed the tour we came across this tub. We both found ourselves thinking, Montana ski lodge…

Garden Landscape, Wilson Kelsey Design

By then it was 3 PM and we hurried to Gloucester to pay a visit to the Sargent House/Museum, “built in 1782 for Judith Sargent Stevens Murray (1751-1820), a philosopher, writer and an early advocate of women’s equality”.

the home’s exterior is classic Georgian/Federal Period Architecture.

Sargent House, Wilson Kelsey Design

Sargent House, Wilson Kelsey Design

For such a diminutive structure, it is a powerhouse of classical details. The foyer stair, with its complicated turnings reminds me of the stair found in the now restored Shirley Eustis House in Roxbury, MA.

Sargent House, Wilson Kelsey Design

Sargent House, Wilson Kelsey Design

tour 17Sargent House, Wilson Kelsey Design

Fabulous how the window lite brings daylight into the interior.

Sargent House, Wilson Kelsey Design

High Federal Style was carried through the front bedrooms.

Sargent house, Gloucester, Ma; Wilson Kelsey Design

Sargent house, Gloucester, Ma; Wilson Kelsey Design

Then it was on to dinner on Rocky Neck, home of one of America’s oldest art colonies.

Rocky Neck, Gloucester, MA; Wilson Kelsey Design

You can not go to Rocky Neck without stopping at The Rudder for dinner…

The Rudder, Gloucester, MA; Wilson Kelsey Design

And finally, sunset on Niles Beach overlooking Gloucester Harbor.

Niles Beach, Gloucester, MA; Wilson Kelsey Design

I wonder where we will go next Sunday?

Cheers,

John

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