It is always with great pleasure that I come across a new project designed by Sarah Bartholomew. The Nashville designer and store owner has a distinctive way of combining timeless elements with fresh, contemporary details. The February issue of Southern Living magazine features a short tour of a Palmetto Bluff vacation home. It’s a new build designed after a Southern Living model floor plan, with interiors decorated by Bartholomew. Taking a cue from the home’s surroundings, the designer chose a breezy palette of neutrals, soft blues and ivories. Carefully chosen antiques are sprinkled throughout and I particularly love the dining room with its modern art by Catherine B Jones. I included a few images from Southern Living but I can’t help wanting to see more of this chic and serene home. Photography by J. Savage Gibson, captions from the original story written by Caroline Mckenzie.

“Palmetto Bluff has an organic beauty with the live oaks, Spanish moss, and tall marsh grasses”, says Bartholomew. She let the scenery influence her surface selections but refined the rustic touches with sleek modern art by Catherine Booker Jones. The simple shapes and quiet colors don’t overwhelm.
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Jeffrey Bilhuber is one of my favorite decorators. There’s no one quite like him to mix colors and different periods and styles with such ease. Everything he designs looks fun and original that I can, without hesitation, say that I’ve never seen a room done by him without being surprised by an intriguing wall covering or an ingenious way of repurposing design elements in unexpected, always fabulous, color palettes. I do not know Jeffrey Bilhuber personally but I’ve read testimonies of people who do, and it seems that despite his incredible success, he is a humble and kind, generous soul and a true gentleman. Very few people know, I know I was surprised to find out, that he graduated from Cornell with a degree in hotel administration. He started his hospitality career at Carlyle and while there, in the early eighties, he worked with Mark Hampton’s offices that were at the time responsible with the in-house decoration of the rooms. That interaction lead him to the realization of just how much more creative and fun an interior design business could be. And like they say, the rest is history.?

On Monday I posted a tour of his weekend retreat in Locust Valley, New York. It’s a four-centuries old farmhouse with a rich history that could not have found a better owner. Over the last decade, Bilhuber painstakingly restored the 30+ rooms within the home and the results were published in some of the best magazines around the world, including Vogue and House Beautiful. It was also included in his fourth book – American Master – and more recently, it was featured on One Kings Lane. I’ve compiled years worth of pictures saved from the above mentioned features and to my delight, I discovered quite a few more on Bilhuber’s Instagram account @jeffreybilhuber. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do, and that you too will find them inspirational to say the least. Bold colors, American antiques, a love of Jefferson’s Monticello and a light-hearted approach to decorating…it’s all here. When included, the captions are from House Beautiful and One Kings Lane.?

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I hope you’re enjoying a lovely extended weekend! With bitter temps and so much snow, it’s a winter wonderland here in western Massachusetts and I couldn’t be happier about it. We’re snowed in and cozied up in our living room with hot drinks and good books. Although the cold weather wreaked havoc on our plans for the weekend, it’s nice to slow down every now and then.

And on that note, the slower pace of life in the country, I’d like to take you on a tour of a lovely home that has been on my mind for years. ‘Hay Fever’ is the Long Island weekend retreat of design legend Jeffrey Bilhuber and his son, Christoph. Named after the No?l Coward play by its previous owners, the Hay family, the house sits on three acres of land in the village of Locust Valley, NY and dates back to 1668. It is said that the home’s first cornerstone was laid only 40 years after the British purchased the island of Manhattan from the Native Americans.

The builder was Captain John Underhill and although the home has had many incarnations over the centuries – it functioned as an inn and tavern at one point, as a Quaker school at another – eventually it returned to being a private residence. With three stories and more than 30 rooms, the house was deemed “uninhabitable” when Bilhuber decided to take on the painstaking project of renovating it. Along with his architect, the designer skillfully restored the home and its interiors and today the house is in full bloom, its rooms filled with a riot of colors and patterns, brimming with beautiful architectural details original to the house. It is living with a piece of history.

Over the years I saved every image I could find about ‘Hay Fever’. It was featured in Vogue several years ago in an article written by Hamish Bowles, and it has been included in Bilhuber’s fourth book –?American Beauty.?I’ll share the abundance of images in two separate blog posts – today and on Wednesday. I’ll devote today’s post mainly to images from Vogue’s August 2009 issue with photography by Francois Halard. Enjoy!

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One?of the prettiest homes published in a design magazine last year was a bright and airy Connecticut farmhouse designed by Timothy Whealon. Veranda featured the story in their May/June 2018 issue and it was among Café Design’s most visited and liked posts last year, here and on Instagram. Thank you! I happened to be perusing Timothy Whealon’s portfolio the other day and noticed new images of this lovely project that I think you’ll enjoy just as much!?

To remind you, the house sits on a two-acre property in Fairfield, CT and is as gorgeous as a 19th-century farmhouse can be. Surrounded by lush gardens and carefully manicured hedges, the architecture stands out even more. And the best part? The interiors match the very handsome facade.

Room after room, we’re greeted by beautiful vignettes, cozy nooks and timeless details. The furniture is a delicate mix of modern and antique pieces and I particularly love a corner of the living room with a Parsons table?surrounded by antique Flemish chairs.?The airy color palette is a modern element that keeps the low ceilings and quirky layout of a century-old house from feeling dark and dated. There’s a subtlety in pattern and a freshness of style that I believe will make this home stand the test of time.

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Through an old issue of The World of Interiors, I recently discovered Avenue House, a brick Georgian? townhouse in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England with a bitter-sweet past. It was the home of a prominent English architect, writer, teacher, historian and at times President of the Royal Academy – Sir Albert Richardson. Sir Albert and his wife, Elizabeth Byers, moved into the Georgian townhouse in 1919 and named it Avenue House. It soon became much more than a house. Enamored with all things pertaining to the late Georgian period, over the next four decades Sir Albert assembled an impressive collection of Georgian objects, art and oddities that filled their rooms to the brim. Avenue house became “a home, a museum, a university”, a window into the past. In addition to art and antique furnishings, this nostalgia for the Georgian period was also reflected in an eccentric closet full of period clothing which Sir Albert occasionally wore in public. In order to gain a better understanding of the Georgian way of life, he initially refused to install electricity but he was later persuaded by his wife. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, I find the interiors beautiful, storied and interesting. It is also very personal, in that it is a testament to a man’s lifelong passion. I am sure there is an exciting story behind each of his finds.?

Sir Albert passed away in 1964 and Avenue House was lovingly maintained for half a century by his grandson, Simon Houfe. Houfe desired to secure the property within the national registry of historical buildings and he offered both the house and its collection to the National Trust, with what were considered reasonable terms. However, his offer was declined and the family had found themselves in need to part with a century-worth of collections. The contents of Avenue House were auctioned off at Christie’s in September 2013. These following images were taken by Simon Upton right before the auction. The house had until 2013 remained intact, just as Richardson would have left it in 1964.?

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