Friday, November 19

Profile: Bunny Williams

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?
Fabulous sheets.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
A garden.

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


quintessence said...

What can one say - she is amazing!! An Affair With a House - perhaps my all time favorite house book. And the new Beeline collection is fantastic. She does it all with style, grace and fun!!

Karena said...

Bunny is a true icon in the design world...I too love her book An Affair with a House!


Art by Karena

pve design said...

I truly hope she gets her wish to design a Garden with Piet. One can only imagine it would be a colloborative celebration!
Again, a wonderful tribute and interview with "Bunny."
I always wanted a name like that, or "Happy!"

Splendid Sass said...

Thank you for sharing this nice introduction. Bunny Williams is not only the epitome of an interior designer, the best have learned from her. I can't wait to see her book.

John J Tackett said...

AN AFFAIR WITH A HOUSE is surely the best book of its genre, a must-have for all interested in decorating, residential architecture, and a civilized lifestyle.

Unknown said...


I love hearing about what's up with Bunny. Her book An Affair with a House haunted my daydreams for days after I discovered it.

I tearfully went through that book again and again what an absolute gem she is to the design field across the board.


Mona Thompson said...

I have both of Bunny's books and refer to them often. Can't wait to get this third one.

Urban Gardens said...

Thanks for this lovely post. Saw Bunny's vignette at Rooms With a View. It was quintessentially her and also infused with a wonderful sense of humor. said...

I have loved Bunny's style for a long time. What a lady. i can never get enough of hearing from her. Thanks for this interview. I would have loved to be in your shoes for this one (ok, most every one of your interviews!)

honeybeeandme said...

I agree I could not live with out a garden either...

I had a 30 acre estate in Connecticut for 17 years and garden with religious devotion...


Hill House Ramblings said...

I have all of Bunny's books and refer to them often. Her extraordinary talent, charm and down to earth personality are hard to beat! Plus she loves dogs. How could I not adore her??


Casa Très Chic said...

Lovely post.
I like Ronda's style, very eclectic.
Have a nice week.

Unknown said...

Bunny is an icon! So nice to read your conversation with her. I have the new book and it is beautiful. Thanks for the post!

Design Elements said...

I like "An Affair with a House" and "Bunny Williams' Point of View" much more but "Scrapbook for Living" is also filled with treasures and inspiration...

Luciane at said...

This is especial.. I love her and I am so glad to see her here!


Luciane at


Love her line about the idea of earthly happiness "Everyone has a home to call their own".Positive and cheerful attitude towards life that is HER..Bunny Williams is a truly icon in the design world.Love those spaces you've done posting.inspiring.

Kimberly Grigg said...

I LOVEEEE Bunny Williams! Thank you for sharing this interview via your blog. I can completely relate to her desire to create interiors that are pet and family friendly! It is definitely a constant goal of mine when designing for clients.