With the impending magical spell of Spring quickly set to unfold before us, I decided to scour through magazines, the internet and various glossy books, to peruse the various “Springy” delights I could find in preparation. Just saying Spring is of course a colloquialism for all that it implies, alludes to, and symbolizes in our collective consciousness. I found a wealth of deeply inspiring and majestically beautiful gardens in several various English manor homes, estates and castles; such as Chiswick House, Stowe House, Tintinhull Manor and Athelhampton House. It goes without saying that gardening in the British Isles has been an obsessive and cherished past-time for centuries, so it definitely makes a great starting point to fuel your inspiration, know how, and gardening-gumption. Try Great British Gardens to get you started.
However, when I came across a past issue of ELLE DECOR (I’ve told you before how you should go back to previous issues of Elle Decor to see things you didn’t notice the first time), I was stopped DEAD in my tracks and riveted by every photo, concept and passage on their feature on Andrea Filippone and William Welchand and their magical 35-acre garden and home. The home in question makes you feel as if you are stepping into the imagination of a modern day Edith Wharton, albeit with an obsessive passion for architectural salvage and fantasy tinged English gardening. The couple had found the property in a deteriorated state as it was abandoned, but saw the immense possibilities and stunning “bone structure” that existed. Now 18 years later, the sprawling estate (there really isn’t another word you can use to describe the entity of the house and property) serves many functions; such as their private home, artistic inspiration, personal passion and the base of their work and business. The sprawling 11,000-square-foot live-and-work barns and structures are the home of their company Tendenze Design, showcasing their unique and expansive personal style. I adore the eclectic layerism nature of both the indoor and outdoor spaces. The beautiful impact and “Spring” connection in this case being the immediate tie to nature that exists in their indoor and outdoor design sensibility. Items are beautifully and subtly layered and everything has a cerebral and visual meaning. The spaces are a celebration of the power of Nature and the influence of history, but as well the magic of interpreting it in a modern context. Filippone says brilliantly that she “thinks of landscape as being completely integrated into building design” while I as well adore her determination to preserve the historical authenticity and flavour of the various structures. There are an endless array of inspiring Spring vignettes, concepts and looks you can take from this feature and interpret them in your own language for your home and garden. One of my favourites from the brilliant feature included the main converted barn with its epic scale, that is visually anchored by a huge plaster-cast mantel that was once in a Manhattan brownstone designed by McKim, Mead & White.
I ADORE every aspect and nuance of this simple yet breathtaking front courtyard garden. The space is a stunning blend of formal and informal garden design principles that create an inspiring yet completely welcoming garden that exudes the freshness of Spring. The usage of the English pea gravel for the walk is brilliant as are the vintage flea market urn finds and the salvage gate from Provence. The garden colour palette is fresh, edited and simple, allowing the form and function of the design to really pop. (The Dalmatian is of course the perfect colour to pop in this monotone garden)
A sense of structure and formality is created with the usage of the boxwood hedges in the inner courtyard. This soft edged design formality is further enhanced by the usage of the central garden fountain in the midst of a reflecting pool. The overall effect again is fresh, uplifting, elegant and SPRING.
The orangery was added on to the existing space and acts as a laboratory for their design work. This space speaks to me on so many levels… intellectually, artistically and spiritually. I adore the antique Italian chandelier and the epic proportions of the 19th-century French doors. The bench is a 1920’s farmhouse find from France, and the hand carved marble busts are of Diana and Caesar below a Venetian silk merchant’s table that grounds the entire space. (To say I COVET the table is an understatement)
The dining room is dramatic, large scaled and yet very inviting. The usage of the architectural salvage gives a wonderfully warm feeling to the design. The flooring originally came from beams in a Civil War hospital in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the walls are painted in a stunning soft modern gray tone (Benjamin Moore‘s Sag Harbor Gray).
Elegant and mentally transportive of a past era, Boston ivy covers the facade of the house. The overall effect of the space is gracious, calm and welcoming, yet with the ability to entertain grandly at a moments notice.
Seemingly awaiting the arrival of the Mad Hatter and gang, the outdoor dining space is quirky, eccentric and elegant. The large handmade, bluestone-top table is spectacular and plays off the airy feeling of the chairs beautifully.
One of the main living rooms is grounded with a spectacular 17th-century verdure tapestry, 19th-century wing chairs, and an antique bench from Provence. I ADORE the layered Eclectic Layerism of this space, sheer brilliance.
The above photo shows one of the many entry halls and is a beautiful example of Eclectic Layerism. Mixed into the styling are 1930’s ladder-back chairs, an American drop-leaf table, a stunning custom-made lantern, an Empire chest and a wonderfully casual display of photos, Art and vintage pieces. I love the casual yet abundant display of fresh flowers and especially the antique salvage items.