New England – Inspired by England
Tucked away on a hidden hillside in the north west corner of Connecticut, Bruce Glickman and his Partner Wilson Henley have taken a very rundown, practically abandoned home, built around 1938, and transformed it to create a magical landscape that transports visitors to a world of luxury and relaxation. For close to 10 years before the couple purchased the property, it had fallen deeper and deeper into neglect, leaving the dramatic bluestone terrace, small pond, and wooded areas unrecognizably altered from their original beauty.
Going into a project like this, it would be easy to get lost in the overwhelming amount of work that needed to be done, but Bruce and Wilson were not intimidated. “We had an overall vision, but we were able to break it down into individual projects, making it much more manageable.” describes Bruce “It told us what it wanted us to do, but we bent it, formed it and molded it to make it our own.” As antique dealers and avid European travelers, the couple took clear inspiration from some historical gardens from across the Atlantic in defining their vision. “We wanted it to look like some cottage garden out of the Cotswolds.”
The first day that Bruce and Wilson visited the house, they could not actually see the inside, but fell in love with it, from the moment they stepped onto the overgrown bluestone terrace and looked out, over the view. The stone and iron railings were original to the house, and though they have done a great deal to give the rest of the property a much more polished feel, they made the conscious decision to retain some of the soft and unassuming charm that they fell in love with on that first day, even encouraging the creeping thyme to grow between the stones.
One of their first, and most defining projects, was the classic motor court, with its boxwoods and loose gravel drive. This was something that truly offered immediate gratification, setting the tone for the projects that would come, and invoking an undeniably british feel to anyone upon their first arrival. Over the subsequent seven years that the couple has owned the property, they have taken on project after project, culminating in the pool and pool house, which was just finished in the past year.
The whole four acre property is terraced down a hillside, creating separate zones, each with its own entirely different feel and use. The terraced design is reminiscent of homes and landscaping in California. Towards the top of the property, there is a small pond with a waterfall and small stream that moves into a wetland shade garden. Here the couple has leaned into the watery and pastoral theme by planting a weeping willow tree, which has, over the past five years grown to hang romantically over the pond. The garden then passes through treed, park-like areas, finally opening onto the back terrace over the pool. The through line throughout all of these zones is the color scheme and style of the garden. No matter the area, or type of plantings, be it allium, iris, agapanthus or foxglove, the couple has chosen to maintain a blue, lavender, and purple pallet.
Bruce and Wilson opened their first antiques shop over 20 years ago in Washington Connecticut, where they did much of their shopping in France. There they sold lots of country french garden things. Later the couple moved to New York City, opening the renowned design shop Duane Modern and changed the focus of their business to Europe and American Mid Century design pieces. Their newest endeavor, George Home, located in Washington Depot, Connecticut is something new entirely. Here they combine antiques and new home accessories evoking a very graphic and masculine style, where the through line is texture and patina. To this day, the couple enjoys shopping on their travels, yet they still frequent local estate sales and markets.
Many of the things we see around their garden are things that they have sourced over the years at estate sales and abroad. The bamboo furniture on the bluestone terrace is by McGuire from between the 1960’s and 70’s. The white patio furniture is 1966 Richard Shultz for Knoll. The antique oil jars placed around the property were sourced from local antique dealer Michael Trapp.
The most important aspect of a garden like this is how it is used and how it fits into its inhabitants lifestyle. This couple truly their uses their bluestone terrace as an extension of their house, serving lunch and dinner out there almost daily as weather allows. They also love throwing dinner and cocktail parties, which they host outdoors. With the newly finished pool house, that has become even easier with better access to those amenities.