"A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules,
or fits certain definitions..
It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness."
Hands down, the BUNNY WILLIAMS KIPS BAY SHOW HOUSE LIVING ROOM has been THE most talked about room at the 2009 Kips Bay Charity Event-& likely for years past and years to come. From all the wonderful press I have read about Bunny Williams- I'm not sure if she would adhere to the old saying " I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right"- but she definitely is the talk of the world of design and style blogs. Months after the room IS no longer, the photographs are taken-
the words "talk" on.
I hope to one day live in one perfect room. If it's perfect I only need one. This one could be a contender- I just need to decide where to put the bed.
No doubt Bunny Williams is THE quintessential American Designer right now.
Yes, I admire her- in fact- in a blog story about Designer Dogs I said " I feel I know Bunny Williams." Maybe it is because of her own intense love for dogs and her perfectly designed interiors- custom built for style, comfort and intimacy-and for her client's eyes only. It doesn't matter that the entire design world wants to watch.
I love this little spot in Bunny's own home- it says everything I need to know-I already know about her love of dogs:
Books- Look at all those Books!
Color- that inspires, Mellow Wood that gleams
Knowledge of the Legendary Designers
If I could sit down and chat with anyone about the Bunny Williams room other than the designer or her mentor- is my favorite writer at ELLE DECOR- Mitchell Owens. Luckily I could- Well practically. Lucky for everyone, Mitchell Owens writes a blog for the magazine (go here to read his take on Bunny Williams room.)
From my take on his views- I'd say He loved it.
Her Latest Book- POINT OF VIEW
Three Decades of Decorating Elegant and Comfortable Houses
A book from Bunny Williams that I refer back to again and again.
I asked Heather Clawson of the blog Habitually Chic about the scale of the room. Unfortunately- I did not have the thrill of standing there and seeing it- and that can make all the difference. Heather said " I don't know the exact dimensions of the room but it was quite large." Heather wrote an enlightening post with details and photographs that are must reads. I went back and did it too- using some of her photographs in this post. The intimate shots of the room; notepads and pencils, flower presses, books, magazines, all- further show the room's scale, proportions, color and the light and shadow in the space.
Judging from the photographs of Bunny Williams and Albert Hadley (above) that seems to be very much the case. In fact- though the two seem to me a bit larger than life- in proportion to the furniture-Not so. All the more extraordinary that the room feels down to earth!
SKY- EARTH- SUN
Another wonderful photograph of Bunny Williams from a beautifully written article from NYSD. You will want to read it- great insights into Bunny Williams- really so down to earth.
What's great about this photograph in terms of the Kips Bay room, is the COLOR. Check out the BLUE, OLIVE, BROWNS, GOLDS. Though the colors do not appear in the same strengths or surfaces -they are SKY, EARTH, SUN.
HOW TO LIVE
Sometimes when looking at published rooms- try one out- imagine your things in the room. Where would I put this OR How could I use this space? It might help you understand your own needs in a room and also help you begin understanding how the design of your favourite magazine room works.
I love- the Dining Area in the Bunny Williams room. I can see all of my design books spread about, laptop and an occasional pile of work on it and the tele tuned in to the cable news or an old movie running- sound down- but flashing inspiring visuals. For my use-I would consider this the Library. Though I don't have children- I could see them with studies on the table and laptops that could easily be monitored in the heart of a house.
& Yes- I think, importantly, the room is child friendly. A huge desire of many clients, " Kids" children, young adults, grandchildren are highly considered when it comes to practicality and performance in a room.
The large sofas, comfortable, and the JACOBSEN chair would be favourites of the young and the young at heart. In this case is not a CLIENT- but I am sure Ms. Williams would have learned a thing or two about what a room must be in order to be livable- and that RED chair- in a reality setting -could be THE thing the client insisted on- but more about that later!
Now I know the room is one I could happily live in when Mitchell Owens sums up the room's "end result" as "fresh but a little funky, bohemian but well-bred." from his Elle Decor stylemonger blog.
Essentials, note pads, pencils, great lighting,
umbrella stand, drink table
"4 simple rules to remember when creating a great room of your own:
Play with scale.
Do not be timid.
Dramatic, oversize furnishings can amplify a room's exuberance.
Tall pieces visually expand a room whose ceiling height is less that ideal.
Create excitement. Combine different periods of furniture.
Mix unusual colors, textures, and moods.
Juxtapose grand and simple.
Cultivate a sense of place.
You should know where you are -
city address, urban attitude;
country house, bucolic decor.
and smell delicious
(subtle lighting helps,too.)
She said of the room- "Everything was big.
The color, considered shocking in England in the 1950's, was a bold lemon yellow.
Most notable was the room's soul-elegant and warm, feminine yet strong willed." (BW)
Elle Decor photograph accompanying the Bunny Williams article
and an Elle Decor cover below of Albert Hadley's home.
Bunny Williams room has echos of the Hadley room above. All of THE RULES apply. Williams studied with Hadley- master of fusion with modern furniture, antiques and interior design. The wall color- shades of BUNNY? or HADLEY?
A gorgeous Sofa
(from The BeeLine facebook page-become a fan!)
(according to the BeeLine Home facebook page
advance orders are being taken (this posted July 15)
Sisal Rug with painted details
Mitchell Owens said " I want to copy the sisal carpet, which Williams had painted with a boldly graphic border of white squares enclosing a field of dark brown stars."
Though there is no great photograph of the curtains in the room, they are made from Indian bedspreads. I always like bringing "found textiles" into a room. Their presence gives a less studied, over thought, over wrought appearance. I adore this wonderful "hand embroidered and knotted Indian-style throw on pale, Dupioni Silk ground with olive ribbon technique encasing ottoman silk appliqué reserves and openwork."
It is a limited edition item from Williams BEELINE HOME Collection. The painted chairs in the room had their backs covered in a vintage silk Ikat. I will never tire of Textiles in rooms, be they suzani- as this one is reminiscent of- or the Indian Sari (see the dining table in the room). I will always want to live with them and they are no passing fad. Think about the wonderful Renzo Mongiardino rooms that are swathed in textiles and a recent Elle Decor feature story about designer Lisa Fine's rooms in Paris.
These pillows are from the line too.
"the designs derive from Italian, Indian and French inspiration"
(quote and photograph from the BeeLine Home site)
One of the pieces in the line that I would love to have is the "Naughty Miss Bunny" throw made of French Tissavel faux rabbit fur with choice of "decorative crimson or black grosgrain box pleated trim border." The box pleated border detail one rarely gets in pieces made on the market today. Leave it to "Miss Bunny" not to compromise on the touches that make an accessory standout. The throw appears on the red Jacobsen chair by the fireplace.
"Hand-carved Javanese mango wood, applied in a little village outside of Semarang, near the Java Sea. This bas relief mural depicts a stylized garden reminiscent of the plaster work of the 1930’s. Available in an antique white chalky finish over gesso ground." (description from the BeeLine Home website (here)
Bunny Williams imparted subtle yet suitable touches that pay " homage" to her mentor Albert Hadley in the room. Again, Toby Worthington said " Bunny's room was the only one that honored the theme to any great extent. The stars in the carpet, the note de rouge of the egg chair, etc, were subtle quotes from Albert Hadley's repertoire." Heather Clawson," habitually chic" blogger, said the red Egg Chair eludes to Hadley's beloved red signatures in many rooms and is also a part of his own personal fashion sense. "The chair is also an unexpected design element in the room that his interiors are known for. He has a modern red zigzag table in his own apartment that is also unexpected. The design on the area rug are stars that are the same that he has used in his wallpaper designs."
& DV talks about red:
"I can't imagine becoming bored with RED-
Peaking out of the corner is the revved up red ARNE JACOBSEN EGG CHAIR.
Hadley and his trademark RED, He's gotta love this Room!
additional articles to read about Bunny Williams
" Can Taste Be Taught?" READ THIS by Joyce Walder hilarious and delightful
"The Inner Sactum" by Carol Vogel