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The Story Behind the New Bunny Williams Home Collection

In the first few pages of Bunny’s book An Affair with A House, she remembers her initial encounter with the house she’d come to love and lives in to this day. She writes of the home’s peeling paint and overall state of disrepair, only to mention how unfazed she is by these imperfections. Instead, her eye settles on its best features: large windows that allow ample light to enter; original moldings and mantels that remain intact. 

Stepping foot into the house upstate where we photographed the new Bunny Williams Home collection, we were charmed by similar features. Peeling paint revealed patches of forgotten wallpaper and eighteenth-century frescoes, sun streamed in through a large Palladian window, and original mantels conjured up visions of its original early nineteenth-century grandeur.

Early on when the pandemic hit, Business of Home profiled the efforts of Bunny and Kyle (BWH’s Creative Director) to move the collection forward in the face of travel restrictions and workshop closures. Months later, when it finally came time to photograph the collection, the string of delays and obstacles had seemingly been overcome.

A talented and trusted team comprised of Stylist Howard Christian, Photographer Reid Rolls, and Kyle ventured upstate, masked and ready to shoot fifty pieces in two days.  But a few hours into the shoot Hurricane Isaias began to roll through, leaving the house with no electricity, let alone running water. Oil lamps lit (and ironically only adding to the atmosphere) they continued the shoot undeterred for the next one-and-a-half days with camera equipment charged via car battery, guided by opportune doses of natural light.

Shortly after the photo shoot wrapped, Bunny put pen to paper to write another introduction: that of the new Bunny Williams Home collection catalog, which you can view in its entirety here.  Print catalogs are currently being bound and should begin arriving in your mailboxes the second week of October. Please also feel free to request one by reaching out to contact@bunnywilliamshome.com. In the meantime, we’re happy to offer a closer look at the inspiration behind a few of the new pieces. 

The new Rosamunde Cabinet with brass rosettes and brass George Lamp with stepped base.

Despite the title of this post, there is no single story behind the collection, and this is by design. Bunny and Kyle draw from a wide range of references and time periods when approaching a new collection. “We do not design the collection to have a uniform look,” Bunny wrote in her introduction. “Rather we trust the designers and clients to add it to their own unique spaces.” As a result, each piece takes on a timeless and transitional quality, and versatility prevails.

The new Delano Side Table with Dawn Lamp and Lafayette Shade. New Garbo Bed with Flora Throw folded at its foot.

Some new pieces, like a painted wood and Lucite bed dubbed the Garbo Bed, are over two years in the making, having been refined numerous times to finally achieve the desired effect.

Lord Berners, left, and his friends on the steps outside Faringdon House. 

The bed takes inspiration from one that belonged to the eccentric composer, writer and painter Lord Berners and lived at his country home Faringdon House in Oxfordshire.

Built in 1780 for the poet laureate Henry James Pye, the house set the scene for Berners’ extravagant parties while he resided there until 1950. It played host to a cast of characters including Salvador Dali, author H. G. Wells and poet John Betjeman & his wife, whose horse Moti scored an invite to tea after having its portrait painted.

Berners’ bed had posts made of glass. He used it in a guest room (undoubtedly serving as a resting place for some of the names mentioned above) and hung its tester with swags of cream-colored fabric. Our version further refines the early 20th-century interpretations of tester beds that switched glass or mirror for wood, favoring Lucite instead. You can read more about the history of tester beds in our recent post on the topic here.

The new Delano Side Table with flambe glaze Dawn Lamp and block printed Lafayette Shade.

The introduction of three new ceramic lamps to the collection brings another one of our recent posts top of mind; one that focused on traditional Chinese glazes. Our new Dawn Lamp, seen above, is hand-glazed using age-old flambe techniques. The resulting color effect is a jewel-like purple, with an undercurrent of warm red beneath a milky glaze of cool white-blue. We invite you to learn more about the traditional glazes that have inspired lamps in the collection here.

The new Alix Desk in red (also available in blue), paired with new Sebastian Chair upholstered in leopard fabric with a mahogany leg finish. The Dawn Lamp rests on top, this time with our Prickly Poppycape shade.

Just outside the bedroom, a wide landing with a large Palladian window was the perfect place to capture the new glossy lacquered Alix desk. Available in red or blue, the desk has an inset brown faux leather blotter and wrapped brass handles. Five drawers for storage are set atop squared brass legs and stretchers.

A view of the top of the blue lacquer version. Our new Garnet Lamp wears a classic Oxblood glaze and is paired with a Brown Paper Bag Shade.

The desk has practical lines inspired by campaign furniture, which was historically designed for military personnel and meant to be broken down and easily transported.

Interesting surfaces feature prominently in the collection, often coming in unexpected forms. A large living room downstairs served as the backdrop for photographing two new coffee tables, which have durable finishes that mimic linen or leather. The Zola coffee table, seen above, is available in red or brown and has a unique faux finish that closely resembles leather but is nearly impossible to scratch.

A closer up look reveals how its minimally-shaped top sits inside a brass frame with refined reed detailing.

Our Emilia Coffee Table rests in front of the new Grant Sofa, one of two deep-seated sofas introduced in the newest collection.

What the Zola table lacks in curves, the Emilia Coffee Table makes up for in spades. Its exaggerated, scrolled Ming-style shape is finished in a durable cream lacquer that mimics beautifully textured painted linen.

Lacquer also frames our new Peabody Mirror. Gold flakes are suspended in a rich blue lacquer and lined with more gold detailing, surrounding an elongated octagonal mirror.

“We dedicate a great deal of time to developing interesting details and finishes for each piece. The furniture has a transitional quality that allows it to be mixed with antiques and modern pieces alike. They can really go anywhere one can imagine.”

If you caught our post on furniture finishes from early in the year, you’ll know that Bunny and Kyle give great attention to creating the right one for each piece. 

A close up view of the finish on our Agatha Side Table.

The new Agatha Side Table, with its seemingly modern geometric design, is actually inspired by Northern European 18th century ceremonial furniture. The faux painted finish, executed in a clean palette of whites, blues and blacks, evokes inlaid lapis lazuli and ivory.

A full view of our Agatha Side Table, which would be equally at home in contemporary or traditional rooms.

A favorite styling moment occurred when Howard placed a bulbous blue glass vase on its top, a perfectly unplanned complement to the piece’s bun feet. A plant plucked from the roadside nearby leans toward light coming from the Palladian window.

A new Page Garden Stool wears a tortoiseshell lacquer finish, next to our Bowen Chair upholstered in washed green linen.

Despite the many challenges we have all faced this year, we are happy to be looking to the future with the launch of this new collection. We hope it can bring a bit more beauty into the world for what feels like a welcome break in the storm, and we long to see you all very soon.

The new Gustave Pedestal, available in a washed White or Pine finish, with our new Brushstroke Cachepot.

Explore the new Bunny Williams Home collection here. 

View the new Bunny Williams Home catalog here. 

All collection photography by Reid Rolls. Styling by Howard Christian. Creative Direction by Kyle Marshall.

Posted to Collection on September 15, 2020

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