At the invitation of Summer Classics, Sally and I spent several days last week at their Pelham, Alabama factory, meeting with their designers and marketing staff as they introduced their 2017 additions to the product line.

While we have been regular specifiers and feel we know the product well, this was an opportunity to dig deeper into what makes Summer Classics so special.

We quickly learned that much like Wilson Kelsey Design, they are obsessed with design, have relentless attention to detail from concept thru creation and are committed to responsive client services.

We first toured the factory floor and encountered their commitment to design and quality during our visit to their quality control center where prototypes, new products, finishes and materials are tested. This is good stuff…

Quality Control.

Checking that the finish coats were bonded properly.

Sally and were very impressed with the computer aided fabric cutting. NO waste whatsoever.

Our second day was spent taking a close look at 2017’s new product with our New England rep, Amy Katz. With our New England climes in mind, our favorites were the Haley Teak Collection, here shown with the Club End Table. I see this on a terrace on the Cape.

Summer Classics Haley Collection; Photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

Summer Classics, photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

The Regent Collection, shown with the Clarice End Table on the left and Marco Coffee Table. The Marco table top is a synthetic stone. The base comes in a variety of heights, including a hi-top height. Extremely versatile! Location? The Lakes Region in New Hampshire or Maine.

Summer Classics, photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

The Peninsula Collection shown with Club Dining Table in the foreground and Croquet Teak Coffee Table. LOVE the ottoman! The synthetic open weave fabric is on both sides of the chair frame and is gorgeous! Here, I sense a Martha’s Vineyard/Nantucket vibe – overlooking the beach.

Summer Classics, photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

 Del Ray Collection chair shown with Teak Pedestal Table. The teak insert in the stainless steel chair arm is a delight, completely changing how the chair feels to the hand. I’d find a Boston roof deck for this chair.

Summer Classics Delray Collection sling chair: photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

Sally and I were very impressed by Resysta, a new line made from a compound of rice husks, salt and mineral oil as the chair frame and table finish. Looking remarkably like weathered teak or oak, it is perfect of those locations prone to exposure to salt air. Can you say New England coastline? Cape Cod?

Summer Classics, Resysta; photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

Looking closer at the chair Sally was sitting in, it reminded both of us of furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames. It turned out the chair’s designer was very familiar with their work.

Summer Classics, Resysta; photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

By now you’ve noticed how easily products from the various lines can be mixed beautifully. It’s one of the reasons Sally loves Summer Classics.

Another reason we love Summer Classics is their commitment to detail and construction quality. For example, only marine grade teak is used in the fabrication of their teak wood lines. Manufacturers of lesser quality furniture will use a lower grade teak that is prone to rot. Every joint is a mortise and tenon joint.

Summer Classics mortise and tenon joint; photo by Wilson Kelsey Design

Summer Classics mortise and tenon joint; Wilson Kelsey Design

The corner blocks in the chair frames are glued and screwed in place. Even the screw holes are bunged! (See how the head of the screws are covered with a small piece of wood?)

Summer Classics corner block; Wilson Kelsey Design

This attention to detail was evident across the entire product line and gives Sally and me a great deal of confidence in the durability of their product.

 The Summer Classics installation Wilson Kelsey Design is most proud of is the terrace of our Prides Crossing project. Photos by Laura Moss.

Terrace furnished with Summer C;aspics Furniture by Wilson Kelsey Design; photo by Laura Moss

Terrace furnished with Summer C;aspics Furniture by Wilson Kelsey Design; photo by Laura Moss

Terrace furnished with Summer C;aspics Furniture by Wilson Kelsey Design; photo by Laura Moss

Terrace furnished with Summer C;aspics Furniture by Wilson Kelsey Design; photo by Laura Moss

Photo by Sally Wilson, Wilson Kelsey Design

Summer Classics Installation by Wilson Kelsey Design; Photo by Sally Wilson

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. If you have questions or would like assistance planning your new terrace/outdoor kitchen, please give us a call.

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Please contact us here.

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This 1670 antique colonial had undergone multiple modifications and additions over it’s lifetime, resulting in awkward room layouts and circulation. Our client asked us to design a home suited to casual living and entertaining, where one room flows into the next. Working collaboratively with Bob Weatherall, a North Shore contractor specializing in timber frame construction, particular attention was paid to the connection of the kitchen and family room to the front of the house and the construction of a small powder room on the first floor. In addition, Sally guided the family through furnishing the newly renovated home with a combination of new and reconditioned family heirlooms.

1670 antique colonial historic house marker; Wilson Kelsey Design

The dining room during construction.

Dining room during construction: Wilson Kelsey Design

The family had stored all their antique and inherited furniture, art and accessories prior to construction. Sally inventoried and made recommendations on all the stored items, helping the family determine the best use for each piece. In some instances, new furniture and lighting was added to the mix, as in the dining room, where two high backed chair now sit at the dining table while a new reproduction chandelier hangs from the ceiling.

(Note: All the following photographs are by Michael Lee.)

Antique Colonial Dining Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

Two wood burning stoves provide heat in the winter. One in the family room adjacent to the kitchen.

Antique Colonial Family Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

The second in the living room at the opposite end of the house. A new hearth was added to accommodate the stove. Note the old Hunt Horns Sally found in storage…

Antique Colonial, wood burning stove, Wilson Kelsey Design

In several instances, Sally had pieces of existing furniture modified and reupholstered for re-use. An example is the antique sofa in the living room. Originally, it had a flat back. Sally had it modified to a soft camel back profile, making it more graceful in appearance. Other family pieces in the room are the bureau, sculpture and accessories on the tray. The new French doors and sidelights look out over the Great Salt Marsh behind the house.

Antique Colonial Living Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

The Great Salt Marsh.

The Great Salt Marsh; Wilson Kelsey Design

The new powder room was windowless. Sally designed a First Period Colonial Style leaded glass window between the powder room and mud room, in order to borrow light from the exterior of the the house.

Antique Colonial Powder Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

View of window from the mud room.

Antique Colonial Mud Room; Wilson Kelsey Design

There were ample opportunities to simply “Have Fun”, like finding a perch for a small ceramic bird that had been in the family for years.

Ceramic Bird; Wilson Kelsey Design

To read the Old House Journal story in full, click here.

Every home has a story. What’s yours?

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Please contact us here.

To visit our website, click here.

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Sally and I frequently receive calls from home owners who tell us they have purchased a newer home based on location, school system and or look of the home’s exterior, etc., but they don’t like the interior architectural detailing and decor. As one client related, “The interior has no gravitas.” And they ask us, “Can you help us upgrade the design of the interior architectural detailing, hardware, decorative lighting and decor?” We, of course, say yes.

Presently, Sally is working on a project on the North Shore of Boston in which she is helping a client undertake a phased major cosmetic overhaul of a newer Colonial Style home, converting it to the look and feel of a French Country estate. The project has been broken down by phase based on looking at logical architectural breaks and transitions, the client’s travel plans and what they intend to invest on an annual basis in the house.

The first phase was the renovation of a small foyer and powder room. Originally designed around a masculine “hunt club” theme, Sally and our client collaborated to create a gracious welcoming experience for owner and house guests. The very awkward powder room was expanded and reconfigured.

Here we see the existing conditions. Dark wood, dark paint and cramped dysfunctional powder room.

foyer existing conditions

Note the inexpensive door hardware, six panel colonial style doors and hunt scene drapery…

foyer existing conditions

powder room existing conditions

The powder room was expanded by eliminating a closet. New two panel doors and crown molding were selected. The bi-fold doors were replaced with flat panel doors to be covered with wall paper. The entry is on the right. The door on the left leads to the kitchen.

Existing Conditionsproposed floor plan, Wilson Kelsey Design

In order to create the desired French style our client was asking for, Sally worked with our friends from Zoe Design to create a custom chinoiserie wallpaper for the foyer, including covering the bi-fold doors concealing of the washer/dryer. (BTW: Zoe Design’s new website is Inspiring!!!)

Zoe Design chinoiserie wallpaper

In the powder room an antique mirror feature wall, custom hand painted vanity, marble vanity top and mirror were proposed.

proposed French Style powder room elevation, Wilson Kelsey Design

vanity sink base, Wilson Kelsey Design

Door hardware, powder room faucet set, vanity mirror and lighting throughout were thought of as jewelry a woman might wear when she attends a cocktail party – that final touch pulling everything together.

Mudroom style board, Wilson Kelsey Design

door hardware, Wilson Kelsey Design

For the floor, collaborating with Zoe Design, Sally and our client designed a grid with a fleur-de-lis at each intersection.

Floor & Mural by Zoe Design; Design by WIlson Kelsey Design


When the work was completed, the new foyer looked like this! Fresh, welcoming, and inviting. Love the tufted upholstered wall!

Mudroom:Foyer; Wilson Kelsey Design

Mudroom/Foyer; Wilson Kelsey Design

The powder room became a little jewel, fit for a queen!

French Style Powder Room; Wilson Kelsey Design


Sally recently produced a short video describing the renovation of the foyer/power room in more detail, which can be seen here.

Every home has a story. What’s your?

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Please contact us here.

To visit our website, click here.

To follow us on Facebook, click here.

To follow us on Pinterest, click here.

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