Tuesday, September 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Today’s casual decor meets ‘Downton Abbey’ style

This room illustrates a Downton Abbey-inspired decor (salon-style art grouping in dining room), which is inspired by the sophisticated lifestyle of British aristocracy. AP photo

CAPTION CORRECTION - This August 29, 2012 publicity photo provided by The Decorologist shows Downton Abbey-inspired decor (salon-style art grouping in dining room) in home of Kristie Barnett. Intrigued by the drama and inspired by the sophisticated lifestyle of British aristocracy, many "Downton Abbey'' fans are plotting to bring the PBS series' style into their homes. From gilded finishes to opulent upholstery to portrait paintings, the style holds appeal to those trying to inject a little more formality and glamour into today's casual home decor. (AP Photo/The Decorologist, Melanie G Photography)

By
From page A7 | March 22, 2013 |

By Amy Lorentzen

Intrigued by the drama and inspired by the sophistication of British aristocrats in “Downton Abbey,” some fans are plotting to bring the series’ style into their own homes, from gilded finishes to opulent upholstery to portrait paintings.

“We’ve gone so casual in the last decade in terms of home decor. I think there is a desire to be a little more formal, or a little more glamorous,” says Kristie Barnett, an interior design blogger in Nashville, Tenn. “That doesn’t mean it can’t be family-friendly.”

“Downton Abbey,” in production for its fourth season, features the noble Crawley family “upstairs” and its servants “downstairs” in a sprawling country estate. The characters are struggling to bring the estate and their traditional sensibilities into the 1920s, a time of social and political ferment.

Ornate drawing rooms, flowing boudoirs, vibrant gardens and crisp, clean servants’ quarters make the gorgeous backdrop for the PBS Masterpiece melodrama.

So how do you bring some of that aristocratic look into a comfortable modern home?

Gilded for glamour

One of the simplest ways to achieve the “upstairs” look of “Downton Abbey” is to apply gold metallic paint for a gilded finish on wood furniture, picture frames, mirror edges and other decorative items, including bookends and lamp stands.

In her living room, Barnett, who blogs at TheDecorologist.com, used gold paint to make a barley-twist coffee table appear worthy of nobility. Golden candlesticks and a crystal doorknob atop piles of books finish the look.

“Gilt was all the rage during the British Edwardian Age,” Barnett says. “And it’s all the rage in my house.”

Furniture with flourish

Richly upholstered settees, footstools, chaise lounges and Bergere chairs can add a touch of bygone beauty, but you should allow plenty of space for more livable pieces such as a traditional sofa. If you can’t afford new furniture, consider adding silk or damask throw pillows.

Tapestries and oriental rugs can be affordable and add the feel of affluence. Check out Etsy.com for “Downton Abbey”-style fabrics and textiles.

Lovely lighting

Another easy way to achieve the upstairs style, while keeping things practical and comfortable, is to hang an ornate light fixture or chandelier.

Affordable plaster or stencil medallions placed around light fixtures can be another eye-catching element.

Or can use candlelight, which will bounce off mirrors, glass and crystal, creating the sort of warm glow that makes the Crawleys’ multi-course dinners look so enticing.

Wonderful windows and walls

The return to detail and decoration includes opulent upholstery, drapes and wall coverings, says Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of ApartmentTherapy.com.

“People seem to be ready for more and more luxe materials and dramatic finishes,” he says. “Even wallpaper, which was trending modern, is back to classic floral patterns and English traditionalism, but often with a bit of a twist.”

Painted walls are darker, with a gloss finish, experts say. You can create the upper-crust feel with bold jewel tones, including emerald and sapphire.

Also in the traditional “Downton Abbey” palette, says Mary Lawlor, manager of color marketing for Kelly-Moore Paints, are refreshing pastels and creams, One of the mansion’s expansive drawing rooms, for example, features a pale green wallpaper further softened with richly upholstered furniture in a mix of rose and classic ivory.

The British nobility takes its heritage seriously, and there are painted portraits and landscapes throughout the show’s castle. If you’re at a rummage sale or consignment shop, pick up similar art and create a small grouping on one wall. You don’t have to be descended from these somber-looking subjects to bring their sophistication home.

Lure of the library

While many elements of “Downton Abbey” style have a feminine appeal, there’s no mistaking the bold, masculine feel of Lord Grantham’s library. Add jewel-toned leather furniture or leather throw pillows to your reading areas for a twist to the muted espresso brown that has been popular in recent years.

Consider turning a little-used dining room into a study, using the table as a hearty desk fit for the lords and ladies of your home.

“People are wanting to do something different in their dining rooms, so a lot of dining rooms are being filled with bookcases,” Barnett says. She advises painting bookcases the same shade as walls, but in a gloss or lacquer finish.

Simple sensibility

Contrasting with the rich decor of the show’s upstairs rooms is the subdued, neutral palette and texture of the downstairs staff’s living and working quarters.

“Think natural materials like linen, cotton, raw wood, and a simplistic farmhouse-type aesthetic that is influencing DIY projects,” says Becki Speakman, trend and design director for Michaels Stores.

One way to fashion the look is to use washed and softened painter’s dropcloths for inexpensive curtains and slipcovers.

Lawlor recommends a palette of grounded grays and varnished ivory.

Creating flourishes of “Downton Abbey” style throughout a home can add interest and refinement. But give just a nod to the era — don’t try to replicate it.

“The idea is to incorporate some of the glamour of that time in our modern-day setting,” Barnett says, “without creating a museum in our homes.”

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
     
    U.S., Arab allies hit Islamists in Syria, Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: These are the tanks we get

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Wind threatens firefighting effort

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Unscheduled landing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Free community yard sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    So you want to be an entomologist?

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

    Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Forum will answer questions about new license law

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Applications open for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Brother’s drinking out of control

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Daughter has her own opinions

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    We must not stand for perpetual war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t cut all the trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A great Day in the Country

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Donors support school matinees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A big Explorit thanks!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Running game powered Devils in first football win

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7