Boston - Originally built in 1907, this former carriage house and stable was part of the historic Ayer Estate on the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts. The ocean front estate, then known as Avalon, was built for Mr. Frederick Ayer, whose daughter, Beatrice, was courted by and later married to General George Patton. In the 1980’s the carriage house was converted into condominiums, albeit uninspiring ones possessing the air of a developer’s white box. The homeowners purchased their 5,600 square foot condo in 2004 and commissioned the award winning Boston based interior design firm Wilson Kelsey Design to create an elegant, Old World styled home with inspiration from a French Country and European palette. It was interior designer Sally Wilson who discovered that although their original directive was traditional, it was really a preference for something more Continental that defined the homeowners.
One would imagine that a carriage house of this era would hold, at least to some degree, historic and beautiful architectural details. However, this was not the case. All of the home’s architectural features - moldings, millwork, cabinetry, fireplace, etc. were designed by Wilson Kelsey Design. “When the homeowners described their inclination towards French design, I referenced pictures of Versailles and used their inspiration to design scaled-back solutions that would mesh with modern living,” says interior design partner John Kelsey. And because most New England stock millwork profiles are Colonial, Kelsey had to find resources who would fabricate European details.
Features within the transformed home include an authentically styled French Country kitchen with exposed brick walls, shutters, and custom cabinetry and millwork reminiscent of antique furnishings and cupboards. The client wanted the feeling of a large European country kitchen with many amenities so that the family would want to cook and spend time there. A custom built-in sofa was designed to face the new gas fireplace, and encourage lingering at the table. The owner instructed the designers to hide all the technology.Two antique chandeliers, one from Newport, RI and the other from Charleston, SC, contribute to the old world feeling that the client wanted.
The living area is a stunning French-style salon furnished with a collection of new upholstery and antiques, a newly designed but centuries old-looking cast stone fireplace, French style paneling, intricate plaster crown moldings, and an ornamental ceiling. A collection of 18th and 19th Century antiques were acquired to add warmth and character. Antique lighting, antique architectural prints, paintings, and a wall-sized antique tapestry adorn the spaces. “They are quite happy here,” notes Sally, “They love the rich paneling and detailed moldings, complemented with Directoire and Regency furniture, gilded mirrors, Italian crystal and metal chandeliers, tapestries, and defining millwork. Here, finally, they feel at home.” As a reminder of the home's ancestry, Wilson Kelsey discovered the original blueprint for the carriage house/stable, and had it digitally re-mastered and framed for display in the new kitchen dining area. It shows a carriage room, cow stalls, horse stalls, hay area, carriage washing bay, auto washing bay, harness room, and groom’s room.
The renovation of this home has garnered Wilson Kelsey Design over ten regional and national design awards including The Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America New England’s 2011 award for Best Residential Interior Design and Interior Renovation. The Bulfinch Award recognizes individuals and firms who preserve and advance New England’s classical design tradition. The project appeared on the cover of New England Home magazine and is featured in the 2012 Spring issue of North Shore Magazine. Celebrated for creating elegant, yet genuinely livable homes, Sally Wilson, ASID and John Kelsey continue to garner acclamations for their design talents.
Source: Wilson Kelsey Design
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