In our last post, we said good-bye to winter, but today I want to bid farewell to Downton Abbey Season 4 and celebrate it with a look at a few British designers. Season 5 is already in the works with several new actresses and actors added to the cast. If you want to be ahead and plan your celebration party for the premiere of that season, you might want to purchase and use some of the precious things I found on an Etsy site. Besides the fabulous banner (below), they also have cupcake wrappers and toppers…all VERY cute!
I don’t know about you, but I was not really thrilled with Season 4. In fact, I had planned to do a series of posts on British designers over several Sunday nights during the season, but I changed my mind after the violent episode with Anna. I almost stopped watching it because of that, but decided to continue to see if it would get any better. I do like how the season ended, and it left me feeling optimistic (much more so than the season finale of Season 3!)
It was good to see Mr. Bates and Anna happy.pbs.org
I thought the end with Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson was sooooo sweet.
I LOVED Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother. (I also loved him as the very kind chauffeur in Saving Mr. Banks.)
But my favorite scene of the entire episode was when Daisy was talking with Mrs. Patmore about turning down the American valet’s offer to be a cook in America. Daisy’s excitement over someone courting her was just too darn cute!
When this season started, I shared a post with you about British designer Emma Sims Hilditch. What I didn’t tell you was her husband is an owner in a tremendous furniture company…Neptune Home. The company began with the plan to design and sell hammocks. It morphed into garden furniture construction, and now they build cabinetry and sell gorgeous furniture and home accessories – kind of like Pottery Barn with a branch in home construction. Here is a small sampling of their work.
Another British company that does amazing work with kitchen cabinetry is Plain English. Take a look at these kitchens.
Martin Moore and Company is also a British design firm that has been in the cabinetry business for almost 40 years. I think you will like some of their creations as well.
And don’t think they only create kitchens. Here is an example of their gorgeous bathroom woodwork.martinmoore.com
When I was a teenager, I was smitten with anything that had the name of English designer Laura Ashley on it, and it was always such a highlight of any trip to Atlanta to shop in the Laura Ashley shop at Lenox Square. (I know she and her husband lived in Wales, but they started their fabric designs in London.) I can remember drooling over the dresses. My very first maternity dress was a periwinkle blue striped dropped waist dress with a sailor collar from that very store. Have you noticed that many of the dresses from this season’s Downton Abbey look as though they could have come from Laura Ashley? Vintage Laura Ashley dresses on Ebay and Etsy are now advertised as having the Downton Abbey look. Just look at the white dress worn by the actress,Poppy Drayton when she is at the picnic with Paul Giamatti. Doesn’t it look like a Laura Ashley dress?
And Laura Ashley clothing was not all that I liked from the company. There were all the fabrics and the wallpapers and the dishes! I dreamed of a cottage decorated in Laura Ashley style. Anyone else do that? Today, the company still makes home goods with charming English cottage style.
The Laura Ashley company has a blog, and they even did a post last winter on how to get the Downton Abbey look with Laura Ashley products. You can see it here.
And there is another British company that makes charming fabrics. Are you familiar with Emily Bond? They design a number of animal prints. No, I’m not talking leopard or anything like that! Think farm animals in the English countryside. The dog print fabrics are wonderful.
And now for the final British designer I want to share with you today. The very first time I saw a piece of Emma Bridgewater pottery I loooooved it. It was her Black Toast pattern of pottery, and I thought it was just the smartest design I had ever seen for dishes!
If you want a kitchen that is full of English cottage charm, all you have to do is fill your cupboard with Bridgewater Pottery.
And that brings us to the end of our look at some British designers and back to where we started with Downton Abbey. There is a quiz on Downton trivia at pbs.org. You can see it here. (I did not do very well!) What did you think of Season 4? Do you think Lady Mary will end up with either of her suitors in Season 5? (I personally think that somewhere down the road she is going to end up with….Branson.) Will something develop between Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson (or are they already secretly married?) Will Michael Gregson ever show up again? If you are not a follower of the series, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the British designs in today’s post. Do any of you own any of the Emma Bridgewater pottery?
Lots to talk about! Leave a comment to jump in the conversation.
Until next time…