With a background that has focused on
the essence of style
in the richly diverse lives of tastemakers,
Bettie Bearden Pardee
illuminates the private side of her fabled town,
Newport, Rhode Island.
Meet Bettie Bearden Pardee
Author, lecturer, garden connoisseur, former magazine editor and television host/producer, BETTIE BEARDEN PARDEE calls Newport, Rhode Island home, the inspiration for her most recent books on lifestyle and design, and her new website, “Private Newport.” She’s also the designer of the Parterre Bench, designed for and named after her home on Bellevue Avenue.
Her newest coffee table book, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style (Glitterati 2014) is the subject of lectures, appearances and book signings scheduled around the country. (See the calendar of events for more information.)
Previous titles include Private Newport: At Home and in the Garden (Bulfinch 2004), for which Bettie received an award for a “commitment to excellence” by the Horticultural Society of New York; the reissuance of an iconic garden book first published in 1979, Newport in Flower: A History of Newport’s Horticultural Heritage, (Harriet Jackson Phelps/The Preservation Society of Newport County, 2nd Edition 2010, with an introduction by Bettie Bearden Pardee); and two on entertaining for young marrieds, Pardee Guide to Great Entertaining and Pardee Guide to Great Weekend Entertaining (Peachtree Publisher 1991 and 1992).
Bettie has been catering to the lifestyle interests of the upscale consumer for the past 40 years. After growing up in Beverly Hills and receiving a degree in Fine Arts from the University of California/Los Angeles, Bettie founded Papillon, a needlepoint shop in Atlanta that grew into a major mail-order catalog of fashion and home furnishings, carrying the byline, “The Art of Living Graciously.”
The magazine and media world brought her to Boston and New York, during which she worked as a Bon Appétit contributing editor for eleven years, featuring everyday sophisticates and tastemakers in “Entertaining with Style.” While at Bon Appétit, Bettie served as a creative producer and host of the entertaining segment for the 15–part PBS television series, “The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House” (offering a rare glimpse of United States Presidents at home, the show centered on the reminiscences of First Chef Henry Haller, who ran the White House kitchen for 22 years, from Lyndon Johnson to Ronald Reagan). Bettie also produced segments for, and has appeared on many TV spots including, “Good Morning America” and “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”
Bettie and her husband, Jonathan, like so many, were drawn to the beauty and charm of Jonathan’s childhood home, and decided to make the illustrious City-By-The-Sea their year-round home. Bettie’s design talents and love of landscape were put to use in the design and building of their Newport retreat, Parterre, which is the heart of Bettie’s creative endeavors. Parterre’s often-toured gardens are documented in the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution and are featured in the Garden Club of America’s Gardens, Private and Personal, in which the frontispiece highlights an elaborate bench designed by Bettie, inscribed with her initials. The bench is now the centerpiece of Bettie’s new logo for Private Newport. (Click here for more information on the bench.)
An accomplished hostess and active community leader, Bettie has chaired many events that are the staples of the social season, including 8 years with the Newport Flower Show, during which she received the Laurel Award for “creative, devoted and effective leadership” from the Preservation Society of Newport County. She has lectured extensively in the garden club and design world around the country for such venues as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Santa Barbara Historical Society, the De Young Museum (San Francisco), and the Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America, among others. Bettie’s popular lectures on lifestyle topics include, “Entertaining, Newport Style….when Grace Kelly was a Guest;”
“Wit and Whimsy in the Garden;” and the recent, “Newport, A Fabled Destination,” premiered at Rosecliff as part of the Preservation Society of Newport County’s Summer Lecture Series, “Great Escapes.”
Bettie embraces the ethos of giving back, especially to the Newport community, from historic cultural institutions such as the Redwood Library and Athenaeum (1747) to the vital social services (the Boys and Girls Club of Newport County). In addition to the boards of these two, her board positions have included the Aquidneck Island Land Trust, the Newport Architectural Forum and the Hope Funds for Cancer Research. She is a past president of the Newport Garden Club.