Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oak Spring Farm

Few invitations were as coveted as those to Oak Spring Farms, the Mellon's 4,000-acre estate in Upperville, Virginia - an hour outside of D.C. Guests such as John & Jacqueline Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and the scarlet-coated members of the Piedmont Foxhounds found arguably the most understated refinement this country has produced, when joining Bunny & Paul Mellon at Oak Springs. While the couple collected masterpieces of art on par with the Medici and bred some of the world's finest Thoroughbred horses, the backdrop of such 'grandeur' was sublimely low-key.
The Mellons were the crème de la crème in American high society, with Paul as the scion of Mellon Banking and Bunny, the heiress of the Listerine fortune; however the couple preferred the private life rather than the glitz and glam. Owning properties throughout the east coast, in addition to homes in Paris & Antigua, the couple prioritized the simple luxuries of life, especially their privacy. As such, their estates were a place for them to establish a serene, peaceful and fulfilling existence - and often provided a sanctuary for those in desperate need to escape from the public eye.
No place was a better representation of the unique and envious balance of the Mellon's lifestyle than Oak Spring.
Bunny Mellon once said of her vision for Oak Spring: "Nothing should stand out. It should all give the feeling of calm. When you go away, you should remember only the peace."
As you can see from the images below, Oak Spring truly evokes Bunny's vision to a tee. The couple filled their home with an impressive art collection, but relatively simple, relaxed and effortless furnishings. At Oak Spring, it was less of what their home was filled with, but more about their passions outside of the home.
Bunny dedicated much of her time to horticulture, maintaining her expansive and impressive grounds, as well as, designing gardens for the the likes of the Kennedys and iconic designer Givenchy. Bunny was a self-taught gardner and horticulturist, and tt was in nature that she found her happy place. Up until her final days, she oversaw Oak Spring's three heated greenhouses, planting workrooms, planting and cutting gardens and orchard of fruit trees - in addition to a one-of-a-kind collection of books and manuscripts on gardening.
Bunny Mellon died last March at 103 years old. While a portion of the Oak Spring property was donated to a charity established by her father, the rest of the estate (including guest homes, cottages, horse stables and a farm) was listed at $70M. Bunny's possessions, including an incomparable art collection, was auctioned by Soethby's this past fall.
Jackie Kennedy described Bunny as "an arbiter of good taste, a perfectionist with an unerring eye for beauty." What a graceful - and desirable - legacy. I'd love to be remembered in such refined and classic sentiments and, frankly, I couldn't think of a better aesthetic than Oak Springs to exude that distinguished testament.




















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Friday, May 8, 2015

C.Z. Guest

The 10 Lessons I Learned From My Mother, C.Z. Guest, by Cornelia Guest for Town & Country.


1. Manners - She taught me that manners are one of the most important things in life. 
2. Your Handbag - My mother never carried a big bag, especially at night. 
3. Stay Fit and In Shape - The two of us loved to walk and play tennis together. 
4. Own Lots of Dogs - Dogs are great company, and always keep you laughing and smiling.
5. Learn How to Make a Great Bloody Mary 
6. The Guest List - When hosting a party, always mix up the group you have invited - it makes it more fun. 
7. Leaving a Party - You should always elegantly leave a party without breaking it up. 
8. Chocolate Chip Cookies - One should always have chocolate chip cookies around. 
9. Bring a Jacket - One should always be prepared. I never leave home without a jacket.
10. And Most of All, Remember to Laugh and Love - It keeps you young. 











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