I almost feel as if Bunny Williams needs no introduction, nor can I properly do one justice. For more than 40 years Bunny has focused on design that embraces gracious living. She spent the first twenty-two years of her career with the iconic decorating institution Parish-Hadley, before launching her own firm in 1988.
Bunny designs rooms in which dogs are welcome on the furniture, and you long to put your feet up with a good book. Her own book, An Affair with a House, showcasing her meandering Greek revival Connecticut farmhouse, is my go to book when I am in search of inspiration. Although her new book, Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living, just might have me reconsidering.
I still think Stephen Drucker said it best when he wrote, “She [Bunny] is one of the great decorators in the classical tradition that goes back to the roots of the profession. She lives the life of her clients; she understands how a house runs and what makes a room work; and her rooms are not meant to be ends in themselves, but instead a comfortable, sophisticated background for a rich, full life.”
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is about creating a comfortable welcoming house for my family and friends. And of course our dogs. My tastes are totally eclectic and I love mixing old and new pieces, and pieces with different silhouettes and pedigrees. I am passionate about architecture and getting the bones of a space correct.
Scale is also something I think most people have trouble understanding. It is vital to get the scale and proportions right when creating a room and selecting the furnishings. I learned so much from both Sister Parish and Albert Hadley whom I worked for before I started my own business. My style is definitely a combination of their fabulous eyes for design plus so many influences from my travels and passion for the decorative arts.
What is your most prized possession?
A pair of paintings of our dogs Lucy and Elizabeth by Henry Koehler that hang on the wall in our house in Connecticut.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Everyone has a home to call their own.
What is your favorite luxury in life?
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Travel, books, and museums.
Who are your style icons?
Pauline de Rothschild, Syrie Maugham, and Frances Elkins
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I would love to work on a garden project with the superb Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
Memoirs of the Duchess of Devonshire, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
My Mother and Sister Parish.
Photo of Bunny by Miguel Flores-Vianna