Award-winning Boston interior designers, Sally Wilson and John Kelsey of Wilson Kelsey Design, revealed their Monet-inspired bath at the 2018 DXV Design Summit held in New York City. Their directive from luxury brand DXV bath and kitchen collections, part of LIXIL, was to create a sumptuous bath based upon an artist, or art movement from the period 1875-1915, and to represent DXV’s Classical Era. DXV’s theme this year, “Art Infusion,” explores the shapes, color palettes, and styles from four art movements: Classic Impressionism, Geometric Abstraction, the Mid-Century Sculpture Garden, and Contemporary Photography.
A recent visit to the Orangerie Museum in Paris, where Monet designed two oval rooms to display his significantly oversized water lily panels, captivated Wilson and Kelsey and served as inspiration for their luxury bath. “We found the oval rooms to have a modern sensibility expressed by their simplicity,” notes Sally Wilson.
Adapting Monet’s concept, Wilson Kelsey Design created an oval room with an impressionistic, water lily leitmotif wallpaper, framed by authentic French paneling that was painted in a surprising “Chicago Blues” from Benjamin Moore. “A Monet hallmark is the reflection of light on water, and a bathroom is all about water. Our goal was to celebrate Monet and his Lily Pad Series within the context of that era’s architecture while adding a modern sensibility and technology via our fixtures, lighting and materials,” says John Kelsey.
Elements of the natural world, often depicted as pastoral settings in impressionist paintings, appear throughout the bathroom in graceful forms. The Lowell freestanding soaking tub and Contemporary floor mount tub filler echo the oval shape of the room. The Rem Collection of faucets were selected for their curvaceous form and their reminiscence of a waterfall.Impressionism was considered an avant-garde movement in the late 19th century; art was moving from classicism and realism toward expressionist and deconstructionist. The bath’s French paneling honors Monet’s early period when the leisure class looked to the classical as a source of inspiration. Wilson Kelsey Design then advanced this vision by infusing the space with 20th century modern detailing as realized in the lighting, tile work and plumbing fixtures. “Our mission was to merge classicism with modernism, so that they each enhance and honor the other,” says Wilson.
Capturing the experimental nature of the Impressionist Era, Wilson Kelsey Design complemented the traditional space with contemporary techniques and design elements. The magnificent water lily glass tile mosaic acknowledges Pointillism, an impressionist technique utilizing tiny dots to compose an image, much the way pixels, a minute area of illumination, are used on computer display screens. Artaic Innovative Mosaics of Boston, created the larger than life mosaic lily by juxtaposing the pixelated nature of a mosaic with their robotic-based manufacturing process. “Artaic’s in-house designer immediately grasped our vision of a floating water lily and its reflections in the water,” notes Kelsey, “and it became the focal point for the walk-in shower wall.” The experience is continued into the modern open shower and private water closet rooms via padded faux leather wall tiles from Nappa Tile.
French paneling is often inset with wallpaper panels, and Wilson and Kelsey envisioned an impressionistic landscape wallpaper. Their concept was brought to life by muralists Lena Fransioli and Brooke Sheldon of Zoe Design, also from the Boston area. Zoe Design photographed the original paintings created by their muralists, and then digitally transformed the images into wallpaper, thus creating a new “line” of wall-coverings.
Celebrating its 5th year, the DXV Design Panel, conceived and directed by Modenus CEO Veronika Miller, first selects four outstanding design teams from around the country, who then use their talent to envision luxury spaces that showcase the DXV flagship portfolio of luxury bath and kitchen products. The brand holds a distinguished 140-plus-year heritage of American Standard and reimagines the influential design movements of Classic (1890-1920), Golden Era (1920-1950), Modern (1950-1990), and Contemporary (1990-Today.). The ultimate creations are used to encourage and inspire professionals and consumers with the power of exquisite design. The 2018 Design Panel includes Sally Wilson and John Kelsey of Wilson Kelsey Design, Jonathan Legate, Laura Muller, and Alan Tanksley.