Feb 15, 2013
Fab Friday: Bunny Williams
Photo Credit: Fritz Von Der SchulenbergRB: How do you usually start a new project? BW: The first question I ask a client is “How do you live.” Designing a home for others is like finding the perfect shoe—it must fit perfectly-- reflect their lifestyle and be of a style that suits their dreams. I ask my clients lots of questions. Do you give formal dinner parties or prefer more relaxed entertaining? Do you watch TV in bed? Do you collect art? Do you have young children or grandchildren? The honest answers to questions like these will inform my decisions about flooring, fabrics and lighting. Then we move on to the ever important floor plan. RB: What was your first-ever design job? BW: My first job when I moved to New York City was at Stair & Co., the best English antiques shop in the city. I answered the phones and wrote descriptions on the tags for every item that came into the shop. I learned how to identify different types of antiques. I learned about finish and proportion. RB: Is there something you’d consider your signature element? BW: I’d like to think my signature style is comfort. I always design rooms to be used, not just admired. My favorite houses are those where I can remember a scent – maybe tuberose or baking cookies wafting through the air, those where the seating is set for easy conversation, those where there’s a cashmere throw draped over an upholstered chair and a pile of books on a bench by the fireplace. RB: What’s your favorite room in your own home? BW: My favorite room in my home is the Conservatory in my home in Connecticut. Years ago, I found the beautiful arched windows leaning against an antiques store on Route 7. We put a huge stone table in the middle of the room that can easily seat twelve, and put plants all around. A large stone-topped console from France on the side of the room is perfect for arranging a buffet. In the winter, with the sun coming through the windows and the skylight, the room is a pocket of summer. In the warmer months, I love to open the doors and let the breeze blow through.
Photo Credit: from Affair with a House published by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.
Photo Credit: from Affair with a House published by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.RB: Who are your design icons? BW: Albert Hadley, Sister Parish, Pauline de Rothschild, Frances Elkins, Nancy Lancaster and Andrea Palladio. RB: What’s a quick fix to give any room a new look? BW: The layering of a home is so important. Without layering, a home can begin to have an anonymous, hotel feel. Surround yourself with things you love – book, porcelains, flowers, items found on your travels – whatever make you happy - and mix it up often so that your home never feels static. Sometimes, giving a room a new look is as easy as rehanging your artwork in a different configuration. RB: What’s your best piece of design advice? BW: My advice is to invest in quality, good bones, good floor plans, good materials, good basic pieces of furniture. Buy things you will not get tired of quickly. Then have some fun if you want to jazz up your rooms. Add accessories and small things. RB: Last but not least, what does fabulous mean to you? BW: Fabulous to me is when I’m working in the garden on a beautiful morning surrounded by the dogs and there is a quiet moment when I can really appreciate how lucky I am—my time to “smell the roses,” as the say. *Bunny Williams Head Shot - Photo Credit: Jade Albert