If designer Bunny Williams has any spare time, there is a good probability one would possibly discover her engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. As a longtime buddy, I can personally vouch that she by no means will get bored by the problem of an advanced hand-cut picket puzzle. It’s a pursuit that takes a eager eye, persistence, and a willingness to collaborate—the identical expertise Williams employs professionally, whether or not working for purchasers or herself.
On the non-public entrance her newest challenge, completed final August, is a brand new bed room addition for her home in Falls Village, Connecticut, the place she lives along with her husband, John Rosselli. “Since I wish to reside right here endlessly, the choice to make a downstairs bed room appeared fairly logical,” Williams explains. Designing the one-room addition consistent with the Nineteenth-century Federal home was two years within the making.
The one attainable website was to the fitting of the principle aspect entrance to the home, beforehand residence to a small laundry room, a flower arranging area, and a potting shed that must be moved. Understanding the significance of sight strains, Williams knew the brand new roof must be pitched in the wrong way of the roof of the prevailing home. She was additionally adamant that the addition not disturb a path that hyperlinks the parterre behind the barn to a proper sunken backyard on the far aspect of the home or encroach on three majestic 10-foot-high yew topiaries, planted near the home greater than 35 years in the past.
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Working inside these constraints Williams envisaged an area that measures 20-by-26 ft, with a ceiling peak of 18 ft “since John and I notably love peak in a room.” With area taken up by an adjoining dressing room and loo, the bed room turns into a dramatic dice, its classical proportions making reference to Seventeenth-century English architect Inigo Jones. 4 oversize home windows afford beneficiant backyard views whereas an imposing hearth, framed by an intricately carved Nineteenth-century interval mantel she discovered on Instagram (and just like these within the present home), provides a robust point of interest. And since the proportions of the room are strictly formal, Williams needed the whimsical phantasm of a marble ground. “Swedish, stylized, and imprecise” had been her instructions to Bob Christian, an ornamental painter from Savannah, Georgia, who has labored along with her on many fake flooring through the years.
The colour palette is a pale impartial grey, deliberately chosen since Williams knew that along with work, the partitions can be residence to many items of her husband’s beloved blue and white porcelain. A cushty sitting space occupies one-third of the room whereas the remaining area is dominated by a powerful mahogany four-poster mattress, the reward of Furlow Gatewood, a beloved buddy and for a few years Rosselli’s accomplice of their joint vintage enterprise. Williams thinks he should have guessed how a lot she had all the time admired the mattress, as sooner or later he merely introduced, “I believe it’s time you’re taking it.” Because the mattress’s toile cover was in tatters, an ornamental Cowtan & Tout cloth replaces it, with a classic patchwork quilt she discovered at Brimfield Vintage Flea Market masking the mattress. The room is elegant and exuberant.“It’s,” as Williams likes to level out to company,“the right bedsit.” Not surprisingly additionally it is the right venue for a jigsaw puzzle.
“Working for myself is typically arduous,” Williams admits. “John is the opposite a part of the equation, and he’s somebody with extraordinary style. Whereas we don’t all the time agree, this makes for an incredible interchange and collaboration.” Within the backyard this type of priceless collaboration comes from a detailed partnership with head gardener Robert Reimer. Since his arrival 4 years in the past, he has been modifying the prevailing backyard, bringing it to a brand new degree of professionalism. This has been notably noticeable within the greenhouse, which provides a wide ranging year-round show of tropical plant collections, together with scented geraniums, uncommon succulents, and a number of forms of begonias and pelargoniums. The potting shed has been efficiently repositioned subsequent to the greenhouse and the kitchen backyard, now underneath the skilled care of grasp gardener Tricia van Oers.
Williams, who approaches a backyard with the identical sensibility as she would an inside area, pays as a lot consideration to the linkages and transitions as to the backyard rooms they join. One instance is an undulating yew hedge that borders a big expanse of garden. I used to be with Williams and some associates in Belgium some years in the past, taking a look at gardens designed by Jacques Wirtz. Impressed by his use of hedging, she instantly planted the beginnings of an extended double-sided hedge with swooping wavelike contours. At first, her associates (me included) weren’t positive what she was as much as. However she knew what she was doing, and now, absolutely grown, it’s undoubtedly one of many backyard’s most dramatic options. One other transition is effected by an archway main from the formal sunken backyard to a burgeoning birdhouse village, set in a shaded glade of native bushes and planted with oat grass. “What I like is the strain between these two,” says Williams. And it’s little surprise: As with the rooms of a home, what notably engages her consideration is becoming collectively the contrasting areas of the backyard as neatly because the items of a jigsaw puzzle.
Featured within the March/April 2023 subject of VERANDA. Inside, architectural, and panorama design by Bunny Williams; Images by Annie Schlechter; Produced by Dayle Wooden; Written by Jane Garmey