The English Cottage Charms of Podge Bune

I have been just about to bust to post my darlin’ English friend-designer-artist Podge Bune’s house in East Hampton. It is in the June issue of House Beautiful, and it’s one of my favorite houses ever.

Podge Bune Rose Garden
The entrance to Podge's Hamptons cottage is a riotous mass of roses, chosen, Podge says, more for their scent than their color.

It should be noted that somewhere in there is the color of Podge’s riotous red hair, which explains a lot.

As a contributing editor for the magazine it is my privilege to “scout” for projects to publish, and every now and then I find one. Podge’s wonderful, slightly eccentric, higgledy-piggledy and utterly artful blend of furnishings, fabrics, prints, paintings, and mementos surrounded by gardens, hammocks and water–is just plain heavenly.

Podge Bune Living Room
Podge Bune Living Room. Pictures are hung salon-style, nearly floor to ceiling, but with well-ordered method to their madness. The river rock hearth and fireplace surround is a Podge DIY special. She's very handy, that Podgy.

To me the best kind of decorating is the kind that doesn’t look it. The kind that looks as if one just chose the things one loved, accumulated them over time, added bits by necessity along the way, and didn’t always worry if they matched. From that comes a crazy, glorious mix that is exactly the people who live there. If anybody is crazy-glorious, it’s Podge.

Podge Living Room Vignette
Q: Who would put a pair of Chippendale mirrors at a beach house? A: Podge

This kind of decorating is also accessible and real. So full of heart and soul you can’t help but be drawn to the people who live here lest they be as guilelessly charming as their house.

Podge Bune Dining Room
Knocking out a ceiling and painting everything white made this otherwise non-descript ranch house pretty snazzy. The dining room is open to the living room and kitchen, and a repository for Podge's vast store of scrapbooks.
Podge Table Vignette
A sofa table separates the main living room from another seating and dining area.

It should also be noted that the House Beautiful-watermarked photos are by Francesco Lagnese, and the others are by Podge and me. My photography skills need work, but I thought you’d enjoy seeing what the magazine doesn’t show.

For instance no self-respecting shelter mag today would show a Herend figurine (or not since about 1985 anyway), but I love how Podge is undaunted by the contemporary dictates of cool and displays hers in a beautifully patinated corner cabinet.

Podge corner cabinet with Herend
What to do with the things you don't know what to do with.

And what have you done with your little figurines and such? You know who you are… Rather than scatter them willy-nilly, group them together as Podge has done to give them credence as a collection.

Podge Bune pie safe
A old pie safe holds china and other items.
Podge Master Bedroom
The master bedroom, very English.
Podge's dressing room
Podge's dressing room. Every painting and picture has a story.
Podge guest room
How inviting is this simple, restful guest room.
Podge table set for lunch
Cue the tomato sandwiches...

And how bout this pink action?

Podge - Birdcage With Flowers
Old birdcages have such appealing shapes and styles. Podge fills hers with flowers.

Pink again.

Podge garden shed
The garden shed
Podge's garden
Podge's estimable vegetable garden, complete with swing at the end, to enjoy the view.
Podge garden fence
Deer are a menace on the East End - don't get me started - so a fence is imperative. Podge posts hers with birdhouses. A nature-win-win unless you are a deer.
Podge Bune Hammocks
L.L. Bean hammocks beckon to be napped in.
Podge - sunset over the bay
View from the deck - sunset over the bay

Read Christine Pittel’s excellent interview of Podge here, and find out how she got the name “Podge.” Hint: She was not a skinny baby. And see the House Beautiful photos here.

The House Beautiful watermarked photos are by Francesco Lagnese. The others are by Podge and Frances.


  1. Looks like our house on steroids. Which says, perhaps, exactly what we’re missing.

    My favorite thing you wrote here is: “To me the best kind of decorating is the kind that doesn’t look it. The kind that looks as if one just chose the things one loved, accumulated them over time, added bits by necessity along the way, and didn’t always worry if they matched.”

    Of course looking “as if” choosing what one loves is sometimes doing just that – Herend figurines and all (and I love Herend figurines and the display here).

    The hammocks!!!!

  2. So much drool…it’s embarrassing. From the omnipresent PINK to the hammocks to the books in the kitchen to the guest room…I am smitten. Wow. Can I peek over your shoulder on your next “scouting” trip? What FUN!

    1. Thank you Jennifer, Randall, and Hollye. You all have gotten it completely! Very gratifying and very grateful. xo

  3. The Brits always get it spot on along with you, Miss Scout. When I was born rather hefty…. I was called Pudge…. Podge is so much cooler…. Ditto Randall! It all makes me feel right @ home & happily comfortable.
    PS….Can not get the her Herend Collection out of my mind. Had no idea they were on the endangered design list. Cheerio.

  4. This was my favourite house in June’s House Beautiful. Thank you for the extra photos and your charming perspective. I want to copy the triangular bookshelf up to the eaves in my home.

  5. Wow! Magnificent — better than a manor house. There’s quite a lot of Pinterest here. And why no picture of her? I had to look all over the Internet to find one little image.

    1. Peggy, thank you for your comment, and you are absolutely right – a story about a house with so much personality should at least show a picture of the source! I shall hunt one down… xo Frances

  6. I was flipping through back issues of HB, when I came across Podge’s home again. It’s one of my favourites – very happy to find your blog with additional shots!!

    1. Oh thanks, Jen! Yes it is one of my favorites, too. Can you believe she has sold it and is now up to her elbows in a project in Dutchess County, New York. That one is sure to be a doozy, too. So glad you found us – welcome!

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