Richard and Audrey Boys’ English-Style Cottage in Wilmington
What was once a chauffeur’s apartment has been beautifully transformed into a comfortable stone dwelling. And the garden is a sight to behold.
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Magic by Moonlight
Boys enjoys her garden by moonlight as well as sunlight. The large trees that surround the patio have been outfitted with uplights, illuminating a canopy of leaves against the night sky. The ethereal blossoms of a peony tree look transparent, like cellophane.
“I like to plant white geraniums because the flowers sparkle in the dark, like little stars,” she says.
Slender trees behind a picnic table are wrapped in strings of white lights.
When she dines outdoors, Boys likes to cover the picnic table with a cloth textured like burlap that she found at Terrain in Glen Mills, Pa., a mecca for open-air aficionados.
She lights tall tapers in a pair of ornate candelabra to add glamour.
“The garden is as lovely at night as it is during the day,” she says.
To create the aura of an English cottage, dress your room in layers. Warm upholstered pieces with throws and pillows. Elevate the look with such details as fringe, tassels, cording and buttons. Arrange furniture with comfort in mind. Every seat should be in easy reach of a place to set a tea cup.
Hang a portrait gallery. In Audrey Boys’ home, photographs and paintings of loved ones from several generations are grouped together on the living room wall, a visual reminder of ties that bind. Smaller pictures of family members, set in a melange of oval and rectangular frames, are clustered on tables.
Use wallpaper to define architectural details. And that doesn’t mean only the walls. The sloping ceilings in an upstairs bathroom are highlighted with a boldly patterned paper depicting monkeys and other jungle animals. “It’s my own little circus,” she says.
Move plants like furniture. The sun-loving flowers that flourished in one plot might not be as happy years down the road as trees grow and form a shady canopy. If sunny spots are scarce, mix herbs with flowers to maximize natural resources. “If there’s a place in the garden where water accumulates, pick plants that like to get their feet wet,” Boys advises.
- Rethink your spaces as your life evolves. A small room on the first floor was ideal as an accessible bedroom when elderly relatives lived with the family. In recent years, the room has been transformed into a playroom for Boys’ grandson.