Did I entice you with my saucy title? I can assure you that nothing illicit is going on here–unless of course you count coveting another designer’s home–in which case my affairs are numerous.
This particular entanglement started when an ice storm provided the perfect opportunity to start making my way through a design curriculum of sorts that I’d created for myself. Second on my list: Bunny Williams’ An Affair With a House.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and hunker down, this is going to be a long one.
More than a decade old, An Affair With a House is a coffee table book that reads like a novel, chronicling the adventures of Bunny and her antiques dealer husband John Rosselli in restoring and decorating an 1840s Federal in Connecticut.
As the story goes, Bunny’s palms started sweating when she first drove up to the clapboard house. And can you blame her? The elliptical globe glazed window in the pediment is enough to send me over the edge, too.
Boxwoods line the path to the entrance–you get the sense that even Bunny’s rescue dogs recognize that they’ve lucked out. After devouring the book and searching for images to share with you, I was excited to find a more recent tour of the property and gardens (ohh just wait till you see the gardens) and thought it would be interesting to take a look at how some of the rooms have changed over the years.
But really, what’s more interesting to me (and instructive), is how much hasn’t changed. It may run counter to what’s in my best interest as someone whose livelihood is tied to people’s constant desire for change, but honestly, I want to advocate for timelessness and not trends. My hope is that rooms will be refreshed as time goes on, new treasures are found, but they won’t need to be overhauled in a year or two.
Bunny and John’s home, Manor House, is a testament to that sentiment. Throughout these photos–taken at least a decade apart–you can see many of the core pieces still holding court like the regency mirror above the mantle photographed above in An Affair With a House and more recently below.
Bunny reportedly painted these walls herself mixing a custom tint inspired by the Villa San Michele in Italy.
The view from the library through to the dining room. Bunny suggests: “always build as many shelves as you can–eventually you’ll fill them.” Words I’m taking to heart as we plan our own library.
One change I did notice is that the missing Prince of Wales plume on the antique chair above appears to have been restored (or photoshopped 😉 ) below.
A round table from Bunny Williams home is another more recent addition.
With the exception of new wallpaper, the dining room remains largely unchanged. The tole fixture is beautifully off-set by the new neutral strié paper.
I love how Bunny used seagrass rugs throughout the house. It cuts the formality of all of the antiques.
The biggest transformation can be seen in the master bedroom which opens out to the beautiful lattice porch shown in the last photo.
The formidable wooden four poster was replaced with a more graceful bone bed and the walls and fabrics were enlivened in shades of pool blue.
This guest bathroom (perhaps with the exception of the tub and window treatment) still feels very current. In fact, I pulled a sample of that exact wallpaper a few weeks ago!
The porch with its haint blue ceiling and mish mash of wicker furniture may be one of my favorite spaces in the house.
Again, looking much the same today as it did years ago.
This view wouldn’t get old, would it.
After admiring the many gardens on the property, Bunny’s gardening book: On Garden Style has without question been added to my reading list. Especially considering the sad state of affairs the landscaping is in at our house.
I hope you enjoyed this ongoing affair. Wholehearted recommendations for adding An Affair With a House to your bookshelves!
P.S I didn’t even get into the Greek Revival house across the street Bunny owns and uses as a guest house. Greek Revival is my love language so that property alone will keep my pages dogeared!