Oh la la Inspiration – Grandeur Meets Casual

I seem to be on a bit of a gilded kick.

First, last week I read The American Heiress, a novel about a wealthy debutante from Newport, RI who travels to England in search of a “title”. The novel is full of rich imagery about the lush estate homes in both Newport and English countryside.

The Breakers, a Vanderbilt Home in Newport, RI

Second, we were fortunate enough to score tickets to attend a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra last week. The symphony hall, built in 1900, is covered in interior detailed woodwork that Wikipedia refers to as “modest decoration”. (Hah!)

Boston Symphony Hall

Last, but not least, I recently saw the season two finale of Downton Abbey, most of which was filmed at the Highclere Castle in Hampshire. The sets are sumptuous. As is the future heir of Downton.


Now, I’m the opposite of a glamazon. And, while our house decor is pretty casual, I think there is a lot of architectural and detail inspiration in these fancy-pants houses.

I started to wonder how I could take this gilded inspiration and turn it into something I may actually put in my house:

Inspiration: Tufted chairs from Downton Abbey:

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Inspiration: Detailed woodwork from Boston Symphony Hall. Sans gold everything.

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Inspiration: Upholstered dining chairs from the Breakers mansion

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Inspiration: Candelabra Chandeliers from Downton Abbey (if only this weren’t a major fire hazard)

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I suppose we aren’t that different after all!

Do you watch Downton Abbey?

Who is your favorite character? I love Maggie Smith!


10 thoughts on “Oh la la Inspiration – Grandeur Meets Casual

  1. ❤ Downton Abby, and Maggie Smith is amazing in everything. PS. How did you know The Breakers is my fav of the mansions, with Marble House as a close second

  2. I hate myself for loving everything fancy in life. I don’t know what it is. I try not to. But at this point, I swear it’s genetic.

    “Oh 24k plated gold on the wall? I suppose that will do.”

    I know you’re laughing at the truth of this.


  3. Hah! I am laughing and I love it!

    The sad truth is that loving things that look unfancy can cost just as much : ( so I guess you just gotta do what you love!

  4. Love the tufted chair – and Maggie Smith sitting in it? Too cool! Love Downton Abbey – the clothes, the decor, the accents, the personalities! What fun! Just enough stuffy “upstairs” to be interesting and just enough crazy “downstairs” to be real. Glad to hear we have 2 more years! Hip, Hip!


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