Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style.
Billy Baldwin

Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.
Sister Parish

30 September 2012

Return to Eaton Place-An Encore and a New Season

  "This house is going to see such life! Lady Agnes Holland

Tonight Masterpiece Theatre returns to Eaton Place once again-165 Eaton Place to be precise.  To keep us preoccupied as we wait for January 6 and the Third Season of Downton Abbey, Masterpiece re-runs the first season of the sequel to the beloved  Upstairs Downstairs  (which ran from 1971-1975) before the anticipated second season of 6 episodes begins on October 7.

  Though the first season lacked the intimate character development of the old series as it only had three episodes, the costumes and set design were worth the wait.  The new Upstairs Downstairs stars the creators of the original 1970s series which can be streamed on Netflix(go watch!)- Jean Marsh, who reprises her role as the cornerstone of the downstairs staff Rose, and Eileen Atkins who  portrays the new family's matriarch Lady Maud, The new series of Upstairs Downstairs begins in 1936  as the new family- The Hollands- move into 165 Eaton Place, the home of the Bellamy Family, Rose's former employers.

Production Designer Eve Stewart's sketches for 165 Eaton Place
The iconic old home  has been neglected and requires a restoration to not only restore it to its gracious glory but also to bring it up to the standards and needs of the new family and the new age.  For that task Masterpiece turned to Eve Stewart,nominated for an Academy Award for her work on The King's Speech, to take on the daunting task of recreating a beloved address, painstakingly getting all the architectural and ornamental details just so at this Georgian style home so many remember. The home after all is at the center of the drama, arguably the main character, and other than Rose the only character to return from the original series-The main hall and chandelier bring viewers instantly back to familiar surroundings. 

At the same time the set needed to be designed to reflect the style and  characters of the new young family in a very different world than the Bellamy family lived in-lavish and opulent for Lady Agnes upstairs and  proper bell and calling system for downstairs. 

 Ms. Stewart created a bird motif throughout the house because  she "... felt that all the young people were like little birds trapped in this gilded cage, whether they're the posh birds at the top or the common little sparrows, they're all kind of fluttering around andmaking nests for themselves."  I for one am pleased to be invited back to this nest. 

The first season of Upstairs Downstairs encores tonight  on PBS for three episodes..and the second season premieres on October 7.   Check your local listings.

31 March 2012

Charlotte By The Yard

  " passionately, decorate luxuriously, entertain beautifully and always maintain a sense of humor through it all." ... "Decorating is about breaking all those silly rules" Charlotte Moss

I could get lost in Charlotte Moss' world forever.  Her Blogs Tete-a- Tete, C'est Inspire, and A Flair for Living are all about Charlotte's inspiration-the world she sees through her camera, her gardens, her travels...a world of grace and style.  


I read a lot of blogs of course but it is Charlotte Moss' glorious and gracious scrapbook boards and posts  that I would be lost without.  Known for her interior design and philanthropic endeavors Charlotte Moss has partnered with several companies to create collections with her signature "Flair for Living" including a new collection of furniture debuting in May from Century Furniture, Halcyon Days-(see my post), Pickard China,  and even iTunes iMixes...and now Charlotte Moss can color your world  by the yard through her fabrics for  Fabricut which can also be found at retail at Calico Corners.

 “There is a place in all of us where creativity brews. Tap it, let it go, don't fear it; I promise it will never let you down.”

One of my favorite things to do on any day is "play with fabrics" and Charlotte Moss has created a joyous playground for me.  There are no rules on Charlotte's playground, you are free and encouraged to mix and make it your own -"Use your imagination. Be creative. Create a fantasy-anyone can do a floor plan."   

 Each pattern in the collection comes from a personal place -Charlotte Moss' own treasures, her textile collections, her travels, her gardens, her library, her antiques and extensive images and collages culled from her own camera.  

  “Give me atmosphere – rooms that have soul, seduction and serenity.”

  The Charlotte Moss Collection for Fabricut encompasses a group of over 100  prints, wovens and trims for what Charlotte terms the 'the transitional traditionalist".   

"I approached this collection of fabrics and trims almost as if it were a wardrobe for rooms," says Charlotte. "I feel fabrics should be instantly appealing, elegant and comfortable — and adaptable to different rooms and uses."   "Trimmings are the finishing touch that can take an ordinary piece and turn it into something extraordinary..."

 Of course I head straight for the Blue and White and a big bold pattern called-Caroline, reflecting Charlotte's collection of American basketry with a nod to David Hicks I would imagine. I can see a skirted table or as Charlotte did a skirt!

 “Our goal was to create a collection that was fresh and livable for today, but also possessing the comfort and familiarity of time-honored traditions,” Charlotte said. “Most importantly, remember this: Decorating is about breaking all the rules…”

 Each pattern also has its own muse, named after women Charlotte admires -"...women travelers and explorers who defied tradition and set their own path " knew what these women stood for, they had a mission, and as a result, left us legacies that inspire. They are like guiding lights." much the same as Charlotte is for me.

"You must learn how to live, 
play, wander,dream, see, explore.  
Then creating beauty is just like breathing."

All images via Fabricut

04 March 2012

For the Birds-Signs of Spring at Pottery Barn

We have not had much of a winter around here and though a dusting blew through yesterday my bulbs are popping, the climbing hydrangeas are all a-bud and the birds are singing spring!

 I'm ready for Spring and walking through the Spring Pottery Barn catalogue all I want to do is go play outside. In the meantime, I have bulbs forcing and branches of Pussy Willows and Quince. I love bringing Spring inside and this season Pottery Barn  has gone to the birds -and the butterflies -Crazy about the crewel pillows

and anything birdcage!

Come on Spring!

26 February 2012

Where Oscar Lives-Movie Houses to Move Into

The Nanny Diaries 2007
How many times have you sat in a dark movie theatre watching a film when a fabulous house comes on screen-  You forget all about the plot and concentrate on the wallpaper--well at least I do!

Bewitched 2005

 The Nanny Diaries via Traditional Home

So often the homes that a movie is set within can be as important to that movie as any actor or actress-The Holiday (2006) centers around the storyline of house swapping and how the women who exchange houses actually transform the spaces they move into to reflect the changes they go through.

With Oscar Night here I decided to visit some Movie Sets from Oscar Winning films---now most of my favorite movie homes were never in the running for Oscars so it was interesting to look through Oscar history to see where Oscar lives-very often  rooms and places that not only expressed the personality of the characters in the script, but also very often locations that became key characters in their films--Can you imagine Downton Abbey without Downton Abbey

or Rebecca, Best Picture 1940 without Manderley?

,Here is a sampling of wonderful sets from Oscar winners-Grab the popcorn and enjoy and Happy Oscar Night!

It Happened One Night-Best Picture, Best Actor Clark Gable, Best Actress Claudette Colbert, Best Director Frank Capra, 1934-It may not be the most glamorous set in film history but it is certainly one of the most memorable and key to the story line and one of my favorites.

The Awful Truth -Best Director Leo McCarey, 1937-I love this film and all the sets

The Philadelphia Story -Best Actor Jimmy Stewart 1940-The majority of this movie takes place on the Lord Estate

 Mrs. Miniver-Best Picture, Best Actress Greer Garson, Best Supporting Actress Teresa Wright, Best Director William Wyler, 1942-This wonderful film about a family shattered by war has at its center the warmth of the Miniver home which would also become a victim of war.

All About Eve-Best Picture,Best Supporting Actor George Sanders, Best Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz 1950

Sunset Boulevard- Best Set Design, Best Score, Best Screenplay 1950

Roman Holiday-Best Actress Audrey Hepburn-Of course the city of Rome is the true set for Audrey's debut.

Gigi-Best Picture, Best Director Vincent Minnelli 1958

My Fair Lady- Best Picture,Best Actor Rex Harrison, Best Director George Cukor 1964

The Sound of Music- Best Picture, Best Director Robert Wise 1965

 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner- Best Actress Katherine Hepburn, Best Screenplay 1967-Ninety percent of the film was shot on one set-the Drayton family home in San Francisco--this set/house remains one of my favorite Movie homes ever -I was surprised to discover that it was for the most part created on a sound stage

Out of Africa-Best Picture, Best Director Sydney Pollack 1985

Moonstruck-Best Actress Cher,Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis, 1987-So much of this movie comes back to that kitchen table

Driving Miss Daisy, Best Picture, Best Actress Jessica Tandy, 1989-The sets of this house captured  the Southern style of the late 1940s and also the changes taking place not only within that house but also within society

via Le Beau Paon Victorian

The Queen -Best Actress Helen Mirren 2006-a castle for for The Queen of course-

The King's Speech -Best Picture, Best Actor Colin Firth, Best Director Tom Hooper 2010

Great Sources on Movie Interiors:
Cote de Texas
Hooked on Houses
Silver Screen Surroundings
AMC Filmsite

The Blue and White Life