Interior Design: Tory Burch Takes On Bunny Mellon’s Antigua Get Away

The September issue of Vogue has an article about Bunny Mellon's storied caribbean getaway.  The cottage sits on the lush grounds of the Mill Reef private club just above Antigua's spectacular azure coastline.  Mellon is remembered as a legendary tastemaker and brought her considerable skills to bear in this idyllic setting.  Designed as a series of connecting pavilions by architect H Page Cross and decorated with Billy Baldwin there are customized elements throughout, including oak floors scrubbed with salt water to give the aged effect seen more typically in Swedish mansions.  Antigua's local artisans and craftspeople also contributed by making furniture that replicated antiques, wattle fencing and clay pots.

After standing empty for 20 years Tory Burch our own contemporary tastemaker, bought and restored rather than renovated the house to its former glory.  Daniel Romualdez, the architect-decorator who created the Tory Burch stores and has also decorated her other homes was involved in the restoration.  As Tory states to maintain that unpretentious vibe "he understands about that restraint and shabbiness. The idea of imperfection - like washing out fabrics to make them look old."

The main upgrades seem to have been restricted to the bathrooms, adding a kitchen pantry and making the property ecologically green with solar panels, a desalination plant and a huge rainwater cistern.  A smart move considering Antigua is prone to occasional hurricanes. 

As for the gardens, landscape designer Miranda Brooks was tasked with reviving them while maintaining their original sensibility.  I have family in Antigua and when I sent them photos of the house they all recognize it and are glad it’s been restored with people living there and enjoying it once again.  In fact my nephew recently inherited a beautiful property on a much smaller parcel of land nearby that I'm planning to help him renovate with elements from this house will serving as invaluable inspiration.   I see custom-painted floors...

 Tory Burch's bedroom - she successfully maintained the Bunny Mellon aesthetic 

Tory Burch's bedroom - she successfully maintained the Bunny Mellon aesthetic 

 One of Bunny Mellon's guest bedrooms - the decor is relatively spare yet inviting 

One of Bunny Mellon's guest bedrooms - the decor is relatively spare yet inviting 

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 Tory Burch reinterprets Bunny Mellon's living room adding pops of her signature orange

Tory Burch reinterprets Bunny Mellon's living room adding pops of her signature orange

 All the details in this room merit a close up

All the details in this room merit a close up

 Bunny Mellon's living room looks crisp, clean and relaxed - looks like Tory kept the original chandelier

Bunny Mellon's living room looks crisp, clean and relaxed - looks like Tory kept the original chandelier

 A vignette from Tory's living room with possibly furniture from the original  house

A vignette from Tory's living room with possibly furniture from the original  house

 Bunny Mellon's bedroom

Bunny Mellon's bedroom

 One of Bunny Mellon's guest bedrooms with island appropriate all-white cane and wicker furnishings - loving the custom painted floors

One of Bunny Mellon's guest bedrooms with island appropriate all-white cane and wicker furnishings - loving the custom painted floors

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 Custom painted floors a little distressed are perfect for this environnment

Custom painted floors a little distressed are perfect for this environnment

 Tory's entry

Tory's entry

 Tory Burch's library enjoys liberal use of a Dek Tilett fabric looking very much like the fabric that Bunny Mellon used for her library

Tory Burch's library enjoys liberal use of a Dek Tilett fabric looking very much like the fabric that Bunny Mellon used for her library

 Interesting use of the fabric accessorizing the bookshelves - personally would have preferred it just on the sofa

Interesting use of the fabric accessorizing the bookshelves - personally would have preferred it just on the sofa

 Bunny Mellon's library with the same Dek Tilett fabric

Bunny Mellon's library with the same Dek Tilett fabric

 Lettuce ceramics from the Tory Burch home collection displayed in the poolhouse...Dodi Thayer originally created this signature-style in the 1960's which Tory collected, expanded on and incorporated into her own line,..read the details from one of my earlier posts  here

Lettuce ceramics from the Tory Burch home collection displayed in the poolhouse...Dodi Thayer originally created this signature-style in the 1960's which Tory collected, expanded on and incorporated into her own line,..read the details from one of my earlier posts here

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 Landscaper Miranda Brooks manages to coax roses in the Caribbean heat!

Landscaper Miranda Brooks manages to coax roses in the Caribbean heat!

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 Tory Burch enjoys her veranda overlooking the spectacular bay

Tory Burch enjoys her veranda overlooking the spectacular bay

 Bunny Mellon famously posed on the same veranda 

Bunny Mellon famously posed on the same veranda