When the second season of Downton Abbey expired on PBS Sunday it delivered in its uniquely English Romantic way, giving us a high-brow period drama that feels wickedly low-brow. The societal intrigue, period costumes, and those Edwardian insides all make my heart swell. Following is a brief glance at some essential characters and room elements that could be inspired by these as we see the story unfold during World War I.
Scenes at the literary halls of Downton Abbey, an English country estate, were filmed at Highclere Castle. The imposing structure is a part of its own on the series that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and the servants with whom they share close ties.
The majority of us will be fortunate enough to tour an Edwardian castle let alone reside in one, but we can take cues in the layouts of English country houses and their own grounds. Soft lawn spaces, meandering walkways, and massive trees accentuated by masses of annual flowers are all reminiscent of English country estates — ideal for a clandestine rendezvous from back at the main house.
Maggie Smith is smashing as Violet, the Countess of Gratham. She’s encouraged a lot of her foes and allies to get a proper English tea where she may discuss significant family matters while dishing out the zingiest back-handed compliments I’ve ever heard.
My Romantic Home
Get ideas from the Countess for hosting an English afternoon tea in your garden with layers of lacy tableware, a silver tea service, a rosy flower arrangement (with violets of course), and white wicker seating fluffed with lots of needle point pillows. An empty bird cage hung from above is the last bit for placing the scene.
In the center of our time drama is the hopeless love story of Lady Mary, the Earl’s daughter, also Cousin Matthew, the presumptive heir to property. Things aren’t black and white with both of these. There are many shades of grey to their own relationship.
Tracy Murdock Allied ASID
Wouldn’t it have been so much simpler if things were white and black between Matthew and Mary? If they had been, I see a bedroom like this representing those two at the modern age. Layers of white fabric and luxury linens enveloping a canopy bed, bits of black for the high drama that these two constantly invoke, with dashes of vivid velvety yellow.
Brandon Barré Architectural Interior Photographer
Lady Mary, Together with her sisters Edith and Sybil, is an English Rose through and through. In Season 1 she was adorable, even when she had her moments of snobbery or shortsightedness. Together with her”marriageability” called into question and her unresolved feelings for Matthew this season, we shall may see her soften and bloom. A lively mosaic mural of a rose close ups on a modern toilet look like an ideal décor for your Crawley sisters now.
Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, and his American countess spouse Cora possess a loving and enduring union that is surprising and welcome to see for those times. The demands of the real estate and uncertain times may put stress in their union, but you can be confident that they will make it through.
Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..
A candy detail in the series is that Cora and Robert maintain separate bedrooms for display, but spend nights together in Cora’s bedroom. Cora’s bedroom has been shown as super feminine, but when the Earl had a say, I’m sure he would love to see a few more manly colors, like darker wood tones and a black velvet headboard, one of the pastels. Do not forget a brass wall mounted lighting fixture for reading on both sides of the bed.
The Earl and Matthew, his sudden heir, create a sincere fondness for each other. Intense conversations happen between only the two at the Earl’s study or the library, a more private and masculine space.
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
You may produce your own grand library space without hundreds of leather-bound books. The background by English artist Deborah Bowness is a quick method to produce the look. With rich wood tones and a classic Oriental rug, a serious and academic tone is imparted to any area.
Besides caring for the estate and sorting through their societal crises, there isn’t much for the Crawley family to perform. Hunting weekends with guests turned into big events at the home (and ways to move the plot forward). The showmanship involved in both performance and dress is topnotch.
Wayne Windham Architect, P.A.
A love of the equestrian life and state weekends can be expressed in your own house with little touches like horse art, displaying a saddle, also making sure there is a casual charm to your space for visitors and canine friends to relax.
Let’s not forget the devoted staff toiling away downstairs. Mrs. Patmore the cook and her assistant Daisy are two of the very beloved characters due to their warm hearts, shown when they teach the privileged Lady Sybil to make a cup of tea and then cook for herself.
Tim Cuppett Architects
The ample and massive downstairs kitchen is model of efficacy. It has to be to support a home that’s 200 bedrooms! Today’s modern spin on the nation kitchen is simple and modest, with the very best company sensibility, quality wood finishes, cast iron hardware, and hardworking professional-grade appliances. Mrs. Patmore will be very happy in a kitchen like this.
Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abbey: Sundays, Jan. 8-Feb. 19, 2012
What is your favourite design detail in the series?