Designers like myself come across all kinds of inspiring work by our peers. One portfolio that has made a big impression on me is that of Les Ensembliers. What I love about their work is the way they manage to dodge all the trends and craft stylish spaces that are unique to each project. They are a great example of building homes and spaces people will love and are not just “on trend.” Naturally, there is a nod here and there to design trends because it is only natural to find inspiration in what is currently happening, but not once do they buy into the entire look. Each space is thoughtfully layered with artistry and carefully selected heirloom pieces. Individuality is the strongest voice in their spaces.
Creating a home you love takes time — time to incubate ideas, collect inspiration, and acquire the elements that truly bring you joy. If you rush the process, I guarantee you will not get as rich an outcome. The best way I can make my point is through example, so read on and let me take you on a tour of one of my favourite of their projects.
Les Ensembliers Portfolio
In this post, I feature a stately Georgian home that is part of the Les Ensembliers portfolio of work. Specifically, a Georgian Revival. One of the most common Colonial Revival subtypes is the Georgian Revival. A home of this style always looks stately with its symmetrical design, brick exterior, and pediment at the front entry with pilasters or columns to add importance. Not only is it stunning but it reminds me of my grandmother’s house.
However similar in façade and exterior influence, the similarities end once you step inside this incredible home. Inside, we find an artful mix of loved pieces layered and playing with the tension between a classic Georgian envelope and modern geometric edge. There is a thread of repetition (a sign that a pro is at work) without ever striving to match elements. These elements seamlessly relate in a poetic way.
A home should have a grand welcoming entrance, don’t you think? Note the Kelly Wearstler textile (an ‘of-the-moment’ favourite) on the cabriole sofa. This textile weaves its way in the story again later so keep your eye on that. The key feature of a cabriole sofa is the curved legs and the show-wood frame. The back is always tight upholstered with no back cushions. These are characteristic of Queen Anne, Louis XV, and Chippendale furniture. My grandparents had a very similar piece that complemented the pieces they manufactured at the factory. These add a terrific note of history and eclecticism to any room. A bold graphic treatment updates the look beautifully here. Don’t overlook the sculpture in the corner! Far too often we focus on two dimensional art but a piece like this can add interest to an overlooked corner.
The iconic “Harvard University chair” set the tone for an academic inspired concept.
Playful geometric forms stand in as a coffee table or a perch for a drink or tray. Innovative selections like this are what makes the result individual and special.
Modern elements in a traditional envelope get me every time. It is masterful mixes like this that set my heart aflutter. The inverted angles repeat on the molding, the candle holders, and are offered in the pattern on the plates. Repetition gives this room the rhythm that makes the result harmonious.
The scene is set for engaging dinner conversations. That Kelly Wearstler fabric again, but notice how judiciously it is used only on the back of the chairs. The ‘chandelier’ is everything here. I just spotted that piece in a showroom and have not found the place to use it yet. Could that place be your home?
Elegance at every turn dressed here for a special occasion. Even a vintage cut crystal pattern can look very current when given a place of prominence.
In a home like this, an open plan is not expected. I don’t know about you, but I like a dedicated kitchen. I know open space designs are still going strong but there is something to be said for a distinctly separate room where all the action really happens.
Tactile elements make for a cozy place to sleep, but I adore that one feminine accent pillow. It just makes this room for me. The drama of a high headboard is also an eye-catcher, but that one pillow is so perfectly elegant especially in contrast with the fur throw. A magical combination like this is not easy to pull off!!
To see more of this gorgeous home, visit Les Ensembliers’ portfolio here.