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“Yet another drawing room is drenched in warmer yellow and peach,” she noted. Make that Roadster Yellow and Sonora Apricot.

Oxford Brick and Drive-In Cherry are “influenced by the intensity of color in the library, the dramatic rich oxbloods and carnelian reds beautifully compliment the walls of books,” Lawlor says. “Influenced by the femininity of Sybil’s room, the rose-colored walls combined with green, rosy orange and cream floral draperies inspire the following colors: Calico Rose, Trumpet Teal, Poodle Skirt Peach and Maybeck Muslin.”

Lawlor also picked Maybeck Muslin (a classic soft beige) plus Buckingham Palace (a woodsy brown) as contrast to Jitterbug, “the striking blue walls” used for Cora’s bedroom.

Don’t forget the downstairs. The abbey’s kitchen (which is portrayed by a set in the TV series) is full of those hard-working grays (such as Volcanic Rock) contrasted with polished silver and ivory.

“Downton Abbey” style conjures up a wide range of possibilities. A recent search on Houzz.com, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based home design platform, found 246 photos posted with “Downton Abbey” mentioned in the captions. Yet, flipping through those images, few looked as though they truly fit into the manor. It was more about mood than historical accuracy.

Put simply, it looks classically rich. In “Abbey” style, that translates to crystal chandeliers, velvet throws, gold leaf and silk fringe. But there’s also an underlying duality that has an engrained appeal. Delicate bone china contrasts with sturdy oak antiques. Persian rugs soften stone floors. Abundant mirrors catch flickering firelight. Like the show itself, warm and soft details balance hard, cold history.

Of course, what would an English castle be without an English garden? That inspired California-based rose breeder Weeks Roses to develop its “Downton Abbey” collection of roses.

“Our Downton Abbey roses will be elegant, beautiful, and romantic but also surprisingly dramatic and tenacious … just like the show and characters that so many have come to love,” says Karen Kemp-Docksteader, Weeks sales and marketing manager.

Hybridized by Tom Carruth, the first is a copper-toned grandiflora named Anna’s Promise after stalwart lady’s maid, Anna Bates. Scheduled for 2015 release, Anna’s Promise is available this spring from Breck’s mail order nursery and a few other sources.

What would the Dowager Countess say about that?

©2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services


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