Bunny Williams

Trade Secrets 2016

Trade Secrets Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Show is an annual event in the gorgeous Litchfield Hills.  It raises money for Women’s Support Services (WSS) in Northwest CT, an organization that provides crucial services to women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse.  Trade Secrets is the foremost fundraiser for WSS, started by Bunny Williams in her backyard in 2001.

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Kips Bay
Decorator Show House

Philip Mitchell Stair Gallery

Philip Mitchell Stair Gallery

What better way to spend a hot, muggy NYC morning than popping into the Arthur Sachs Mansion to see the 2015 Kips Bay Show House?  I made it just in the nick of time, two days before it closed on June 11th.  Glorious designers and a landmark mansion = heaven in the city.

The mansion is stunning, as are all of the 25 rooms decorated by a wide variety of talent.

Dining area in Christopher Peacock kitchen

Dining area in the Christopher Peacock kitchen

Chic custom settee and pillows in this Bennett Leifer lounge with elegant gilded wallpaper by Degournay.


Mark D. Sikes Interiors created a red and white haven called “Up in the Villa.”


Tilton Fenwick took a small space and transformed it with their own Duralee fabric on the walls and ebony braid by Houles on the trim.

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The stair gallery by Phillip Mitchell Design was incredible.


Paul + Martha black and white paintings

Paul + Martha black and white paintings

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Looking down

Looking down

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Pavarini Design created a moody midnight blue office with an adjoining bar.  Very Mad Men.

Gold textured walls in the Pavarini office

Gold textured walls in the Pavarini office

Bar next to the office!


Michael Herold’s striped sitting room is adorable.

Thom Filicia designed “A Study in Style” complete with a bar.  Am I detecting a theme here?

McMillen Inc. recreated “Rio” in this lush bedroom with Pierre Frey wallpaper inside the glass bookcases.  LOVE a wallpapered bookcase!


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Black and White Monica Rich Kosann photos of Kips Bay Boys and Girls took up a wall, so cute.

Monica Rich Kosan photos

Monica Rich Kosan photos

Our own Peter Sinnot of Rye designed a beautiful bathroom on the third floor.


Philip Jeffries peeking through

Philip Jeffries wallpaper peeking through

Clive Christian Interiors used Maya Romanoff mother of pearl squares on the bathroom walls.  I have never seen that before!

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I wanted to move right into the David Pheonix master bedroom….


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I fell in love with this red series by Veronique Gambier and the portrait of Marie-Antoinette in “Le Salon Rouge” by Alessandra Branca.

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This year the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club celebrates 100 years of helping children.  With the support of this beautiful show house, Kips Bay can continue to build futures for more than 10,000 children.  Bravo!

the wry home

To Market, To Market

The Decorator and Design Building in New York hosted its 2014 Fall Market this week.  Great presentations, product launches, book parties and lots of design tips!

The event kicked off (for me anyway) on Wednesday morning at a keynote presentation by New York Magazine’s Design Editor Wendy Goodman and designers Lydia Marks and Lisa Franz.  If you like Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada, that is Marks and Franz set design!

Wendy Goodman (holding mike) with Marks and Franz

Wendy Goodman (holding mike) with Marks and Franz

Wendy spoke to the designers about how working in film, television, fashion and design helps this duo create extradordinary interiors and sets for all of their projects, including their new furniture launch for Lewis Mittman Atelier.

Pieces from Marks and Franz new furniture line

Pieces from Marks and Franz new furniture line

Their new furniture line is “refined traditional” with a twist.  It was important to the designers to create something with the perfect pitch, that was comfortable and timeless.  Also the right scale.  Not oversized, but not too small either.  Wendy Goodman was a fabulous MC and it was so much fun to hear Marks and Franz tell stories about their FUN projects!  I didn’t want it to end.

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Next, I wandered over to a fireside chat with Bunny Williams and Alexa Hampton.

Alexa Hampton and Bunny Williams

Alexa Hampton and Bunny Williams

Chesney’s has introduced beautiful fireplaces by both of these interior designers.  Modern and chic, with gorgeous accessories.  Bunny Williams told the audience that she sees the trend moving toward gas fireplaces.  She has converted all of her own fireplaces over to gas and left one wood burning fireplace in her barn.  Bunny also thinks the decor on the mantle should always be changing, as it is the focus of the room.  Not static.  Like mine….  Rut row.

Bunny Williams "Veneto"

Bunny Williams “Veneto”

Bunny Williams "Loire"

Bunny Williams “Loire”

 Over to Farrow and Ball to see their new wallpaper launch.

Farrow and Ball Wallpaper

Farrow and Ball Wallpaper

Inspired by the ties between traditional Japanese craftsmanship and British design, Farrow and Ball launched four new wallpaper patterns this fall.

P1050499Love the subtle designs and soft colors.  Beautiful.

Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart, an LA based interior and furniture designer, gave a fabulous presentation about who and what inspires her.  She took the audience through a stunning slide presentation of what influences her vision.  Among them, rooms designed by legendary designers Frances Elkins, David Hicks and Billy Baldwin.

Madeline Stuart Furniture Line

Madeline Stuart Furniture Line

Some other inspirations for her beautiful designs are fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, painters El Greco and Edward Hopper, singer David Bowie  and – my favorite – the movie “All About Eve.”  Her furniture line came out of client’s requests for specific designs in their home.  Fabulous.

The Intersection of Fashion and Design was a lively panel discussion with fashion designer Ralph Rucci, interior designer Julia Buckingham and LA Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising VP, Barbara Bundy.

Vogue Home Editor, Mieke ten Have

Vogue Home Editor, Mieke ten Have

Vogue’s Home Editor, Mieke ten Have, moderated the topic about how fashion and home design influence each other in so many aspects of color, texture and design.

Ralph Rucci, Barbara Bundy and Julia Buckingham

Ralph Rucci, Barbara Bundy and Julia Buckingham

Ralph Rucci designed a chair from a couture dress for Holly Hunt.  Julia Buckingham textured a hallway after seeing the picture of Audrey Hepburn (above).  An interesting comment from the audience asked why home design does not seem to influence fashion in the same way fashion influences the home.  Hmmmm……

the wry home

Trade Secrets


I began my trip up to Sharon, CT early on the Saturday morning of Trade Secrets.  Fortified by three cups of coffee at home and another giant one in a to-go cup, I jumped in the car.  My daughter’s junior prom had been the night before.  I drew the short straw and got the 3am post-prom party pick-up and not a lot of sleep!


Trade Secrets Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Show is an annual event in the gorgeous Litchfield Hills.  It raises money for Women’s Support Services (WSS) in Northwest, CT that provides crucial services to women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse.  Trade Secrets is the foremost fundraiser for WSS, started by Bunny Williams in her backyard over ten years ago.

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Over 60 garden and antique dealers come to Trade Secrets, and it is hosted on an incredible piece of hilltop property.

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I have a long and special history with this part of Connecticut.  My parents started coming to Sharon in 1978 and now live here full-time.  My husband and I were married here on an 11 degree, snowy January day.  Our reception was held at the charming White Hart Inn in Salisbury, CT.  I always love coming up here.


I grabbed my mom at her home and headed over to Trade Secrets.  Get there early (I was running a little late) because the parking lot fills up fast.

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It was a beautiful day to wander from vendor to vendor.

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Rumor was that Martha Stewart had been there early and Christopher Walken was wandering around too.

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I didn’t see either of them, but I wasn’t moving too fast either.  Word to the wise, don’t wear flip flops to this event!

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There was a delicious lunch catered by The Farmer’s Wife, book signings and fabulous things for the home and the garden everywhere.

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My mom was running into all of her friends, so I took the opportunity to sit on a bench and rest in the sun for a bit.

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Four hours later, it was time to hit the road.  I had an armful of great things for my garden and patio.


My FAVORITE peony vendor was there too, so I bought four new varieties to plant in my garden!


I look forward to Trade Secrets every year, but it also a fabulous excuse to spend the day with my mom.  The 2015 dates are May 16 & 17, so put them in your book!

January 25, 1992 ~ Sharon, CT

Tim and I ~ January 25, 1992 ~ Sharon, CT

the wry home


Using random.org, the giveaway winner popped up like a lottery number.  Congratulations!  Please send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will get the poster out to you right away.

#11 Amy H. said, “Such great pics and sentiments SP! Planning on same – delish suppers w good pals and enjoying life’s simple pleasures – time on the beach and water – lot of laughs and enjoying all Newport has to offer after this rotten winter and our little house now recovered from flood of ’14 after burst pipe!