12 Chic Rooms: Bunny Williams Refines an Estate with Decorative Rugs

If you are about to decorate a home you can benefit from learning how Bunny Williams decorated an entire house in Virginia. Bunny told House Beautiful she begins a design project by asking clients, “How do you want to live in a house? That’s the most important thing to know before you buy or build.” “Do you cook? Entertain? Are you going to maintain it yourself?”

Bunny told interior design students in a talk at Parsons that while floor plans are essential, they should not be followed so rigidly that it hinders creativity. Bunny shared how she always knows what type of furniture will go in a particular place, but it often takes her months to find the perfect piece and even then she doesn’t know how it will all turn out until the entire room is done. Bunny sources pieces together with the client, from around the world, making sure the home will have a unique look that will stand the test of time.

Finally Bunny makes large spaces feel intimate by arranging several smaller seating areas and defines the spaces with decorative rugs, “That helps make a large room comfortable for two people or 20.” “A large room also needs furnishings and accessories that have scale and presence, as well as a mix of unusual silhouettes and finishes to delight the eye,” Bunny told House Beautiful.

The 12 stunning interiors below are from a Virginia estate. Bunny Williams had advised the clients to tear down the existing house and re-build it with advice from Bunny.

Bunny Williams Richmond Virginia house

Williams and architects 3north collaborated in re-building this Richmond, Virginia house which is influenced by England’s Georgian period.

bunny williams virginia home entry

“You have to break up a large space to make it intimate, with big mirrors, big moldings, and big furniture,” Bunny Williams told Architectural Digest.

In the entry hall a trompe l’oeil–damask was painted on a wall on which hangs an 18th century gilt-wood mirror. A rococo console is flanked by antique chairs covered in a fabric that resonates with the damask pattern on the wall. White and black accents add contrast and accentuate the beauty.

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The living room has a lot of windows and doors which meant that “There’s very little wall space, so all the seating had to float,” Williams told AD.

The large living room feels more intimate because of four seating areas which are unified by a large navy and cream oriental rug. Coral drapes and coral armchairs add warmth and create a pleasing contrast with the pale blue chairs and dark blue rug.

bunny williams virginia home living room detail

The double arches of the American console contrast with an Impressionist landscape and blue and white porcelain.

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In this room “you can wear jeans, put your feet up on the coffee table, and have Sunday supper with the grandchildren.” Williams told AD, and looking out from the huge steel windows,“feels like you are in the treetops.”

The great room has rustic ceiling beams and a cozy seating are defined by a cream, coral and green oriental rug. A cream and coral rug is placed between the seating area and the dining area at the back of the room.

At night the room turns into a cozy media room with a projection-screen TV descending from above the fireplace.

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A green and white trompe l’oeil trellis wallpaper brings a 19th century French ambiance to the sunroom which can also host small dinner parties. The 19th century burled-walnut dining table contrasts with the grey-green painted shell-back chairs.

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The entrance to the dining room reveals a pale coral Oushak rug and pale grey Neoclassical dining chairs.

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The large, formal dining room has pale coral Venetian-plaster walls and watery hand blown-glass mirrors. White antique Italian chairs contrast pop against the dark mahogany dining table and coral Oushak rug.

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Antique Italian tiles were used for the backsplash. The red and gold stove, wood floors and rustic beams contrast with the white cabinets.

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A gold geometric patterned runner rug adds warmth and pattern to the stairs and hallway.

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In the master suite a pale blue hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and a pale blue and apricot Neoclassical Aubusson rug contrast with an elaborately carved white canopy bed. Tan-apricot fabrics add warmth and contrast with the blues.

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A detail of the master suite shows the resonance between the gold motifs in the Aubusson rug and the gold accents in the vintage French mirror, the 19th century chest and the Neoclassical chair.

bunny williams virginia master bath

A Neoclassical painting adorns the master bath’s barrel shaped ceiling and the Lucite legs of a pale blue borne (rounded ottoman like sofa) create a modern contrast against the classical Roman pattern of the mosaic floor.

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A pink and grey damask patterned rug anchors blue, white and gold fabrics and dark brown walls in a guest bedroom.

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A grey and red geometric rug anchors red fabrics and wallpaper with a pale geometric pattern.

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Another bath features coral and gold chairs and coral damask patterned wallpaper that pop against white tiles and a dark brown and black 19th-century French iron-and-marble sink.  

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