My lunch with Bunny Williams...

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was truly magical.
And, as if having lunch with Bunny Williams wasn't the best birthday gift ever, we had the great pleasure of meeting and spending the afternoon with her handsome and most-charming husband, antiques dealer extraordinaire John Rosselli.

To start off the day you must envision a quintessential New England Fall day: sunny, cool, crisp, leaves changing colors. It is a beautiful three and a half hour drive from our house to her country house in Connecticut, which took us through the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The leaf-peepers were everywhere!

Just driving up to Bunny's house takes your breath away, and as the gates magically opened upon our arrival I felt like I was arriving in the land of Oz! As we walked into the Barn we were announced by Lucy and Elizabeth- the resident pups! Bunny emerges, like a vision, from the conservatory and John from the kitchen. Their gracious hospitality made us instantly feel as if we there visiting with long-time dear friends. Within minutes of our arrival, there was a tray of fabulous champagne being served! Talk about feeling welcomed!

The Barn was even more beautiful than I had remembered it, and more beautiful than even the gorgeous photographs of it in her book. Bunny said that in her experience, no matter how beautiful the room, a photograph is never the same- a room is always better in person. She went on to explain that it's because in the photo you can't feel the room. At this point I remembered a comment I had received in a previous post from Daniel in NYC wanting to know what it felt like to be in the house rather than looking at the pictures- which I thought a wonderful query!
Here's the difference.... as you walk in, you see the fire in the fireplace, you hear the logs crackling, and smell the sweet smell of the logs burning, you hear and see and pet the dogs, you smell lunch being prepared in the kitchen , you see the sea grass rug and feel it underfoot, you feel the welcoming hugs from Bunny and John.... in essence the whole of the room envelopes you!


the gates opening!



The Barn.


Beautiful 16-year-old whippet, Elizabeth in her gorgeous bed.


Bunny then took us on a garden tour! Talk about inspirational... even at this point in the season, when plants are going into decline, the gardens were stunning!


Walking to the pool house.


Bunny in the pool house. The structure is amazing!




After the gardens tour we came in for lunch in the conservatory.
The room was stunning, and the table setting absolutely lovely. John is quite the chef, and had, in fact, made our lunch! We dined on shepherd's pie, brussels sprouts, salad, and a spectacular apple crisp made from apples from their own trees, a wonderful red wine and iced tea!
Lunch was delicious! The proclivity that Bunny and John have for entertaining, and making their guests feel like "old friends" is indeed an art form.



I have to confess to you that I had a moment of "intense realization" while sitting there in the middle of lunch.......
it was as if the world momentarily stopped, and I realized that.............
I was in Bunny William's conservatory, sitting across from and chatting with Bunny Williams about Mrs Parish, and sitting next to John Rosselli, who had just prepared lunch for us, looking up at that stunning mirror and plantings above the fireplace, and then......to top it ALL off, little Lucy, the dog, (who is elderly and has had a stroke and has difficulty walking) is laying- literally laying on top of my feet under the table! Seriously, I was done! I was over the moon....
I could have wept!!


After lunch we had a tour of the main house! After having seen photographs of the house in magazines and books for so many years this was a very cherished tour!


the front porch


details of the window



I adore this photograph of Bunny inviting us in at the front door!


I can not express to you how surreal it was to be standing in this stunning living room that I have admired and studied for years.


Love the lamp. You can see one of Bunny's BeeLine Home chairs in the reflection in the mirror. It was gorgeous, and so comfortable!



Bunny and Dan on the screened porch.


The master bedroom. I have never seen a more gorgeous suzani in my life. John had the bed made for Bunny. The room was absolutely breathtaking! I adore the rug.


the kitchen fireplace..... sigh!


the dining room






Ella got to meet Bunny too! She was actually a stowaway in the car, as her puppy-sitter canceled at the last minute. Ella was spied towards the end of the visit, and Bunny and John, being the dog-lovers that they are, told us that we should have brought her in!



So, Ella got to meet Elizabeth and Lucy, and this is Marco who is a Katrina-rescue owned by Bunny's Head Gardener, Eric Ruquist (hi Eric!) Eric has friends in our area, so we invited him to come visit the next time he and Marco are in New Hampshire. I hope he takes us up on that!
Marco loved Ella! He followed her around like this the whole time!
Also, please note the gorgeous design of that gate!



Ella and Marco in front of the barn. John invited Ella into the Barn and now, of course, she wants a bed like the beautiful Elizabeth!!



The gates opening for our departure....
Sadly (for us!) the fairy tale had to come to an end. The whole way home I told Dan I wanted a "do-over".... usually you want a "do-over" because something went wrong, and you want to correct it, but I wanted a do-over because we had such a fabulous time that I wanted to do it all again!!




I realize that just as the photograph does not do the real room true justice, my words can not adequately express the true magic of this day. . .
The love and respect that Bunny and John have for one another, for their home and their dogs is palpable... it is also infectious, as we left their beautiful home with hearts full!

My most sincere thanks and gratitude to Bunny and John for being the best birthday present, and for the gift of their time.



I also want to thank my sweet, dear husband Dan for being just crazy enough to know that this would be a gift I would love, and then being even crazier to act on it!
I also thank Dan for taking the photographs. I must admit that from the moment I walked in the door I was so "in the moment" of being there that the thought of taking a photo would never have occurred to me!
In the end, perhaps the best gift of all was that my sweet husband enjoyed every second of this day as much as I did! That I got to experience this with my best friend, and then that we discussed it for days is my gift forever !



xo,
joan




You must check out Bunny's new book that just came out....
Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living