Mondays are when I typically post reviews on books, but I must admit that I got lost among the pages of Bunny Williams "A House By The Sea" and just finished reading it. I have been a long time admirer of Bunny's work, and I am a self-professed lover of the sea, so the combination of those two elements held me captive for much longer than I had planned.
Interior Designer Bunny Williams and her husband, Antiques Dealer,
John Rosselli built their home, named La Colina in the in the Dominican Republic. La Colina is a colonial villa along the Carribean sea, tucked away in lush tropical gardens. Bunny and John chose architect Ernesto Buch, a Cuban-born classicist who works between New Haven Connecticut and the Dominican Republic, to partner with them on this southern style raised cottage which borrows design details such as the roofline of the main house from Drayton Hall in Charleston, and oversized windows from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Ernesto also designed Oscar de la Renta's home in the Punta Cana. Described by Gil Schafer III as a modern day Palladio, Ernesto was the perfect partner with Bunny and John on this house.
Built on a hilltop in Punta Cana, La Colina boasts beautiful views from its second-floor living areas which were so perfectly placed to take advantage of the ocean breeze. Indoor and outdoor spaces were carefully designed to interact so that one can enjoy the beauty of the natural habitat.
Well known interior, society and portrait photographer, Francesco Lagnese, photographed La Colina in such a beautiful way, I think I could study the photography of the home and be happy but Bunny's commentary, along with that of some of La Colina's guests adds to the allure of the book.
Ten years ago, I vacationed with my family in the Dominican Republic at Casa de Campo in La Ramona. I fell in love with the people and the beauty the DR offered to its guests. I must confess while reading this book; I felt as though I was revisiting this beautiful place. A sense of calm washed over me while I perused the pages of this charming home and grounds.
Bunny and John's attention to detail is what makes this home so noteworthy. Their goal was to design the home for entertaining with large loggias for outdoor entertaining as well as views of the water from as many rooms as possible in the home. La Colina offers a way of celebrating life with comfort and hospitality for all who enter.
Throughout the book, Bunny offers helpful tips on entertaining and design such as chapters on "Layering Furnishings" as well "Making Guest Rooms Gracious" which gives Bunny's secrets on how to provide the little luxuries and necessities to make guest feel pampered. You will have to read the book to discovered what items make Bunny's well-curated list of guest room supplies. Bunny also shared a fun game that which played after dinner at La Colina called "Hide in Plain" Sight which sounds like so much fun. I won't spoil the surprise by telling you, but I'll let you discover the details for yourself when you read the book.
The book includes accounts of well-known guests such as architect,
Gil Schafer III, authors Page Dickey and Roxanna Robinson, who offer a glimpse of their stays at La Colina. It is interesting to see the house through the eyes of its guest. Bunny and John aptly named each guest room and carefully chose which guest will occupy The Biedermeier Room, The Bamboo Room or the Lavender Blue Room.
Bunny also includes a chapter on the Magic of Entertaining which shared a quote I found interesting to ponder:
"There is an art to being a guest, and we seem to have friends and family who have mastered that art."
Have you thought about how to be a gracious guest before?
Bunny and John are collectors as well as designers with a keen eye. I loved reading about their adventures visiting auction houses, antique shops and local haunts in pursuit of items for the house. Bunny says that anyone can order online but actually buying the items found on one's journey creates a story that is fun to tell over and over again. Those stories of adventure and quest are what weave the threads that create the tapestries of our home which Bunny and John have done so beautifully at La Colina.
As I mentioned before, Bunny loves to entertain and believes the joy of owning a home like La Colina is to have friends and family around to enjoy the house with she and John have built. One of my favorite quotes in the book is this one by Bunny
"What really makes all the planning...
worthwhile is family and friends."
Bunny said installing the house was like a well-orchestrated ballet. Each person had a role so the house was completely furnished in a week.
The best way to describe La Colina was written by Angus Wilke in his account of his visit which is included in the book,
"La Colina is a house to be livend in and explored, savored, swallowed, and digested."
This book is much more than a book about a vacation home. It is a book about the art of living well. After reading "Bunny Williams A House By The Sea" I am inspired to try to live well every day. Savoring the moments of life is what living well is all about. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a beautiful place to do so like a home designed by Bunny Williams and John Rosselli. To experience La Colina or any home designed by these masters would be a bucket list item for sure!
I loved every page of this book and highly recommend it to you! If you cannot wait to run out for a copy, click here and have it delivered to your door tomorrow! I know you will love it as much as I do. I love all Bunny's books.
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Bunny Williams A House by The Sea
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Disclaimer: Abrams sent me a copy of this book and one for a giveaway for my readers. I only review books which I think will be of interest to my readers. All opinions are mine. This is an honest review.