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Phoebe Howard Part 1



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!

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

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?

The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard

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!



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the farmer's wife - January 9, 2013 - 12:27 pm

I do love her formality. I think lots of families on the web are trying to find that balance. I know with three young boys in our home, we try to have furniture that is fort friendly, but feels grown up when they’re all in bed. I find my balance with gold gilded frames, but more casual (aka washable) fabrics. I’ll put a pic on my family blog so that you can see what I’m talking about.
Julianna – It is all in finding that balance isn’t it? I love your “fort friendly” description! So true. And then there still has to be SOMETHING in the house for adults…so easy to lose sight of that when there are little ones around. It sounds like you have smartly found a way to balance it all.


Emily - January 8, 2013 - 5:48 pm

The article you included in the post was definitely we, as Southerners. I loved it and am so proud to be one. I sent it to a very good friend of mine who loves the show. Then, I have friends who love Duck Dynasty. I guess we all are between the two. Bless our little hearts!
Emily – I couldn’t resist including it with the post! It was just too good to pass up, and boy do I see the connection between Downton and Southerners as they pointed out. It made me laugh at loud. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!

Leslee in TN - January 7, 2013 - 10:48 pm

I love all the designs above… from the more formal right down to what you called more casual. I haven’t seen Ms. Howard’s book, but would love to get my hands on it!!! Beautiful rooms you’ve shown here on your blog. Thanks! Definitely eye candy!
Leslee – Her rooms are beautiful, and I hope you can get a copy of the book. I am lucky that my mother is a member of a book club and quite generous in sharing her bargain books with me. Stay tuned..more Phoebe Howard rooms coming this week (hopefully!)

Rose L - January 7, 2013 - 7:38 pm

Honestly that kind of grandeur would make me nervous. While I appreciate a well planed and decorated home as much as the next person, my lifestyle is that of a farm wife. Homes so fancy are unheard of where I come from and the practicality from being a farm wife slips in there on me every time. I’m afraid I’ll have to stick with my casual farmhouse style. I have no desire to seek anything else. The pictures are beautiful though. Nice to look at but that’s all for me.
Rose – I know exactly where you are coming from. Those rooms would not work with our family’s lifestyle either, but they are pretty spaces. They would be great rooms for me when I have a baby shower or wedding shower here…very “ladylike.” I absolutely cannot see them being used when we have a bunch of teenagers running around here. 🙂 I posted the more formal rooms on this first post because they tied so well to Downton Abbey. I will show more of her much more casual rooms later in the week. Those are the rooms that are more my favorites of hers.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - January 7, 2013 - 1:57 pm

I LOVE this post….I am such a Phoebe Howard fan…that I placed myself on the “waiting list” at Amazon for her new book last year…I love it….I love the “understated elegance”…Phoebe does is so perfectly…I read an article that the new trends were for more “casual elegance”….My sister turned me on to “Garden and Gun” years ago…I saw it on her coffee table and laughed…thought it was such a funny title for a magazine….but when I picked it up…I was impressed!…Thanks for the wonderful pics from Phoebe Howard!!
Shirley – If you love Phoebe Howard and Garden and Gun, then I should have dedicated this post to you! 🙂 When Garden and Gun first came out I wondered exactly who they were marketing it or women. I think it is a wonderful read for both…and especially Southerners.
Glad you liked the Phoebe Howard rooms!

Debbie - January 7, 2013 - 12:08 pm

I just read the G&G article about Downton Abbey you included in your post … you’re right, it’s hilarious! And all true! The similarities between Southern culture and Downton Abbey hadn’t occurred to me, but now it all makes sense … and why I LOVE the show! Thanks for including the article!
Debbie – Wasn’t it so funny? And I had never thought of the similarities either, but it sure hit home! Loved the part comparing Lady Mary to Scarlett from Gone with the Wind (and the drapery comment :)) Glad you enjoyed it.

Carolyn Bradford - January 7, 2013 - 9:20 am

Love your comparisons with Phoebe and I think you right on the money! The show was fabulous and yet I wish they had spent more time on the wedding like you said as well! Cam’t wait to re-watch it! I will have to check out the Garden and Gun issue. My sister is about to be featured in it with her children’s clothing line so be watching for that as well!
Carolyn – Wouldn’t it be nice if DA did a special one hour episode on just the wedding and reception?! I am sure if we suggest it to them they would be happy to oblige. 🙂 How wonderful that your sister is going to be featured in Garden and Gun!! What is the name of her children’s line of clothing? I will definitely be on the lookout for it in future issues.

Garden, Home and Party - January 7, 2013 - 8:57 am

I love Phoebe Howard’s work. I especially love the less formal rooms. The final 2 images you shared are more me, but I still appreciate the beauty of the her more formal rooms as well. I’ve wanted to take a look at that book to try to determine if I’d enjoy owning it, thanks for sharing.
Karen – I am partial to the less formal rooms, too…they would just work better for me and my family. I think you would like the book. There are sooo many photos of her beautiful rooms in it, plus the text is good also.

Arlene@Nanaland - January 7, 2013 - 8:17 am

Thanks for sharing Phoebe Howard. I had never heard of her but I love those rooms.
Arlene – So glad you liked the rooms! You can check out more of her work each month in Southern Living magazine. She has a question and answer type column every month (or at least she did in 2012.)

yarlette gebarowski - January 7, 2013 - 12:56 am

I am also hooked on Downton Abby. Just finished watching the start of season three. It was wonderful.already pre ordered it on blueray. Hope you enjoyed it

yarlette gebarowski - January 7, 2013 - 12:46 am

I also have the Phobe Howard book. Love her style. She is such a great designer.
Yarlette – Isn’t that book beautiful?…so many great rooms in it. And I think it is pretty amazing that she is so highly regarded in the field and had no formal training in interior design.

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