Fall. The best. I think we can all agree. The leaves, the air, all the pumpkin crap. Spring is a tease, Summer is fabulous, Christmastime is also very popular (I've always been one of those people who gets a little depressed around Christmas but I've been actively trying to change that for a few years), but Fall is tops. This weather makes me want a rolling, sprawling country estate, surrounded by changing forests, and filled with elegant but cozy finishes. BEHOLD, the late, great Brooke Astor's "Holly Hill" estate in Westchester, NY. Actual, old school, autumnal perfection.
Perfectly manicured lawns surround the inviting stone manor. The home is set upon 65 acres of picturesque, rolling hills.
The rear facade is stunning with forest green shutter, crisp white dentils, and perfectly pitched pediements. Also, yes, any northeastern estate must have a stone wall. Its a rule.
The foyer is supremely elegant yet unassuming at the same time. It has such an old school "oh I'll just throw this here" charm that is so so hard to duplicate. And, most importantly, prominently displayed is an enormous collection of dog portraits. This is the crazy-old-lady-hood I aspire to.
Yes, I know you'd think this house would have a rich red, or deep green living room, but - surprise! - its a sunny, bright, yellow and white delight. So ladylike and and happy, its giving me lemon meringue pie vibes.
Oh man, this one bay window sitting around is tugging at my heartstrings. Symmetry like this just makes me siiiiiiigh with relaxation. Also, those lemon chiffon drapes remind me of dress that Grace Kelly would wear, you know what I mean?
The dining room is similarly lighter and brighter than one might expect. I always adore a pedimented arch or door inside the home, and that gigantic Aubusson rug is not messing around.
THIS LIBRARY. Another room lighter and brighter than you think it might be. The bleached wood paneling is so beautiful and the yellow-blue-pink Toile de Nantes style fabric (Scalamandre, right?) is a totally unexpectedly Easter-y colorway for a library. And I love it.
I guess Mrs. Astor favored a lemon chiffon yellow and she wasn't shy about it! You wouldn't expect it with such a large, wood paneled library, filled with such elegant antiques, and large window treatments, the space is so undeniably feminine and charming.
Even more yellow reigns in the guest bedroom. Although here it is a warmer, more saturated, fuzzy baby chick shade.
I think this bedroom was the master as it leads out to a balcony. The pale pink walls and all-over floral upholstery is, again, surprisingly cottage-charming for a room of this scale in a home of this size. Also I have never met a gilt mirror topped with a bow that I don't like, and this one is no exception.
Guys, this sunroom. So casually elegant, so perfectly poised. That dang Brunschwig chintz is still one of my all-time favorite fabric, and the Brighton bamboo chairs are so pretty and relaxed. Coral skirted round table, faux bamboo magazine stand, furry throw blanket - the mix of obviously personal effects makes this space so lovely.
The fall foliage on the property is stunning, as is the home's expensive view out over the Hudson River.
"Holly Hill" is such a wonderful example of the old school style of furnishing that is once so buoyant and so restrained. I love the undeniable feminine charm of the light and bright colors and patterns throughout the home (and the dog portraits!), that show Mrs. Astor's personal stamp on the house. Don't you just want to light a fire in the fireplace and settle down for a crisp, late October evening?