Marc Langlois Sets The Scene for a Harvest Picnic

November 22, 2016

Text by J.P. Russell Smith

Greenvale Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Photography by Marc Langlois

A luxurious harvest picnic is the perfect way to enjoy autumn’s abundance.

The scent of rugosa roses comes wafting across the vineyard on the salt air. Boston-based interior designer Marc Langlois is making a few last brushstrokes on his latest exterior design. He has been tapped by clients to throw a picnic amid the chardonnay vines of Greenvale, a historic property in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Langlois has long been known for his affinity for bringing the “outside in” in his design projects. He revels in the opportunity to work al fresco and frankly, to throw a party—anywhere, anytime.

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Bringing the same keen balance of light and color that we see consistently in his interior design, Marc’s events are vibrant, often whimsical affairs that draw on themes of environment, history, and sense of place. His “harvest picnic” evokes the luxury of the Victorian era luncheon on the lawn, but lends a modern twist. Eschewing packing up the house and assembling Persian rug, potted palm and a full array of crystal and silver, Marc packs his entire vision for the afternoon in his Jeep Wagoneer. The planning is careful and assemblage is quick.

Originally designed as a “ferme ornée” (or ornamental farm) for one John Barstow of Boston, Greenvale was originally laid out in the 1860s and is today owned by the Parker Wilson family, his descendants. The property gently undulates down to bluffs bordering the Sakonnet River. In the middle distance lays the “sparkplug” lighthouse off Little Compton and beyond, the vast Atlantic. In the late 1600s these lands were the sight of many a skirmish with the Wampanoag Indians during King Philip’s War. In 1863 Barstow commissioned architect John Hubbard Sturgis to design a stable and, two years later, the remarkable “Greenvale”, a Victorian Gothic house in the Stick Style. This “eminence grise” is wonderfully sited on the banks of the Sakonnet and seems to organically rise from the landscape.

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For the picnic in the vineyard, Marc has curated a wide array of charcuterie, cheeses and a particular pâté campagne, which he made himself from a recipe handed down by his French Canadian grandmother. The Jeep made a brief stop at the Bristol Oyster Bar to pick up a few dozen of the exquisite Poppasquash Oysters, harvested locally.

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The designer’s own picnic throws and pillows provide a spot for guests to lounge comfortably and enjoy the food and wine. This repast is complemented by Greenvale Vineyards’ award-winning wines: today, we have their Skipping Stone White, the Cabernet Franc and their highly-praised Greenvale Chardonnay.

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As Marc raises a glass of Greenvale Vidal Blanc, I ask for his initial impression of the bouquet. “Sea air” he says, “and roses.”

Designer Marc Langlois began his career as a fashion photographer, shooting all over the world for Vogue, this work led him to pursue interior design some fifteen years ago. His comprehensive design firm works on projects from  New England to Manhattan to L.A. 

Marc Langlois, mr-marc.com, (617) 959-1908