Happy First Day of Spring! I thought and thought about spring for months now, right after Christmas to be exact and finally it’s here. Technically at least. We started off spring break last Friday, which means students are away and hubby and I have the campus all to ourselves. I just love how calm everything feels and that I get to chose my favorite seats in cafés. We have a few fun trips planned to Chicago and Galena – House Beautiful recommends this little town for all our antiquing needs – so yaay!

In the meantime, I got inspired over the weekend by the beauty of Nantucket cottages. Clad in cedar shakes and shingles that weather so beautifully in the salty air, the contrast with the crisp white window trims is made even prettier by some of the most amazing window boxes one can ever see. What better way to celebrate spring?

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Yesterday I wrote about a charming Cape Cod beach property designed by Kathryn M. Ireland and mentioned how it comes with a glorious past. I thought it would make a great post to delve into more detail and show you the property as it was in its previous life.

It used to belong to the late Rachel ”Bunny” Mellon and her banking heir husband, Paul Mellon. The couple, whose exceptional wealth was paired with remarkable good taste, used this as their summer retreat, entertaining famous friends like Jack and Jaqueline Kennedy, Hubert de Givenchy, Noel Coward to name just a few. Known for her impeccable style, Bunny Mellon however was not your typical heiress and socialite. She led a discrete, almost reclusive life, with minimal public exposure.

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With a degree in architectural history and a lifelong passion for gardens, landscape designer Glenn Hillman devoted 17 years caring for his family’s historical gardens in Litchfield County, Connecticut. His appreciation for color and love of traditional structures resulted in an exquisite, historically accurate property.

When his parents bought the 18th century house, two decades ago, Hillman went immediately to work in redesigning its outdoors. One of his first decisions was to remove the swimming pool – it didn’t fit with his plans for a classic New England garden – so it had to go. In the process of designing the landscape plans, Hillman drew inspiration from visits to Colonial Williamsburg and analyzing many colonial gardens.

In its current state, the garden is symmetric and traditional in feel. It includes a potager and herb garden, and is surrounded by brick paths connecting its different corners. Hillman placed focal points throughout: bee skeps, an armillary, crisp white picket fences and birdhouses. The herb garden in particular is a place of beauty and unexpected plants: parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme blend in with perfumed perennials like lilac and roses, geraniums and irises. Unlike any other herb garden, this one is filled with colors and textures. I find it extremely beautiful!

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With a vast portfolio that is as diverse as it is beautiful, the Manhattan-based firm Carrier & Company has cemented its status as one of the best design firms in the country. Their clientele includes Anna Wintour, Jessica Chastain, Jason Wu and Annie Leibovitz to name a few. Their aesthetic is a fun mix of old and new, best described as timeless sophistication. This Southampton project is no exception. Many years after its publication in Vogue, this home remains a fresh inspiration.

The interiors are a canvas of neutrals on which a subtle story of blues unfolds. From delicate prints and fabrics, to chinoiserie jars and wallpaper, the different ways in which blue is used make the home unexpected, layered and colorful. The fact that the landscape design was imagined by the talented Miranda Brooks is a wonderful bonus. Enjoy!

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Listed as one of France’s most remarkable gardens, La Louve (She-Wolf) is a private garden in the Luberon area of Provence created by well-known textile designer for House of Hèrmes, Nicole Vésian.

Started in 1986, the garden is Mediterranean in its planting – with lots of junipers, lavender, rosemary, cypresses and citrus box, but has the sensibilities of a Japanese garden, designed in complete harmony with its surroundings.

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