See How Interior Designer Bunny Williams Hosts In Style - The Gloss Magazine

See How Interior Designer Bunny Williams Hosts In Style

American interior designer Bunny Williams likes to party. Steal her style …

Bunny Williams, American interior designer extraordinaire, and her husband John renovated their 18th-century manor house in Connecticut over many years with Williams tackling the gardens. Those gardens now include a parterre, year-round conservatory, extensive vegetable garden, orchard, woodlands, an aviary with exotic fowl, and a rustic poolside Greek Revival-style folly. In her new book, Bunny Williams: Life in the Garden, she admits creating this garden was not a seamless process. “As an interior designer, I arrogantly thought that designing a garden for myself would be easy. I had to take a step back and become a student again. Although I made many mistakes over the years, it was never dull. The joy was in the process.”

Bunny Williams with her husband John.

An enthusiastic entertainer with ‘a moveable feast’ approach to hosting – guests might find themselves dining in the conservatory, the formal dining room, the hall, the kitchen – Williams also brings the garden into her beautifully decorated home, via stunning floral arrangements, tablescapes and elaborate seasonal vignettes. “I am not a master florist; in fact, I like my arrangements to be loose and to feel as though I just went outside with my clippers, gathered a bunch of flowers in my hand, and dropped them into a vase.”

Over time she has amassed a huge collection of containers. “Some of my favourites are antique lustreware pitchers and Chinese mugs. There are new pieces from one of my favourite ceramicists, Lila Francis Pottery, and from Astier de Villatte. I get the greatest pleasure from the simplicity of a beautiful branch in a tall glass vase.

“Entertaining is very easy when you are prepared. I confess that, after many years of collecting, I have three pantries filled with china, glasses, napkins, tablecloths, and silverware. What is amazing to me is that if you are enthusiastic shoppers like John and I are, you can find such interesting things in secondhand shops and at auctions.

“My stacks of vintage white damask dinner napkins have been collected over time from various sources. One thing I try to do to control my buying is to keep to a colour scheme or two, as I like to mix things together. When they’re all layered together, it not only looks fabulous, but we have enough place settings for eight or 48. I do the same with floral pieces, always combining colours and patterns that work together. We have a mixture of colourful pottery pieces for informal lunches and a large collection of tablecloths, everything from repurposed Indian bedspreads to simple white linen, in many colours, patterns, and sizes, to fit different tables throughout the house and gardens. Mixing patterns and colours, it is as close as I can get to painting. I use family silver and modern bamboo flatware, and glasses come from many sources – from crystal for dinners to hand-blown glasses from Morocco.”

Bunny’s table setting.

Bunny Williams: Life in the Garden, is published by Rizzoli.


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