I read an article on Downton Abbey’s appeal this weekend that made a lot of sense to me. (If you are asking, “What in the world does this have to do with Phoebe Howard?” stay with my train of thought here for a moment. I promise they do go together.) It made me realize that perhaps we are looking for some glamour, opulence, and formality after all our years of the American casual lifestyle.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am much more comfortable in my home than I would be in one of the country estates of the wealthy British families, but I do think that occasionally, we like to dress up, behave our best, and use our finest manners. Don’t you?
(I also read a hilarious article at Garden and Gun about why Downton Abbey appeals to Southerners. If you get a chance, check it out here.) Anyway, what does all this have to do with Phoebe Howard, you ask.
Well, many of Mrs. Howard’s rooms have that dose of formality that would make us want to dress up, sit a little taller, and use our best manners. No, these are not the drawing room and library of Highclere Castle, but to me, they are what a modern American family would like in a more formal “country estate.” The photos in today’s post started with home offices that Mrs. Howard has done, but what I really want us to look at today are her dining rooms. Just look at the walls in this gorgeous room.
Again, note the walls in this dining room…and that chandelier!phoebehoward.net
Although smaller in scale, this dining room has beautiful walls and another fine chandelier.
This one has a more modern appeal to me in the furniture, but the wallpaper has a large scale print again.
But this is my favorite of her formal dining rooms. It has such a refined understated feeling to me.phoebehoward.net
Not all of Mrs. Howard’s dining rooms are formal. Here are a couple of her more casual spaces (which I naturally like better) both done in blues.
My mother gave me this book awhile back because she knows how much I like Mrs. Howard’s rooms. It is full of gorgeous spaces and the thinking that went into the design of them. Do you have a copy of it?
We will look at more of Mrs. Howard’s rooms later in the week…some formal and some more casual, but all are eye candy for house fans. Are you a fan of her work?
I’d love to hear from you!