Happy Downton Abbey New Year!

2014 will see my 5th year in the storefront at 3614 E Lake St, and third year of styling a "Downton Abbey" window at the start of a new season of episodes from this favorite British period drama.  I avidly collect French and English textile samples for the shop and love showing their possible applications for upholstery/home decorating - in both an historical sense (even if the piece is a Victorian styled handcarved American walnut antique, such as the parlor chair above) or a cleverly eccentric application such as this midcentury modern chrome sofa reupholstered for designer Jacqueline Fortier in Bennison'scarefully rendered handprint "Chinese Pheasant"...

The above sofa was done in 2005.  It has just undergone a makeover in 2013, to a gorgeous Holly Hunt

Great Plains Mohair velvet.  I nearly cried to remove this classic English print, it had looked so great for so long!

but it is sumptuous in it's new texture...

I rarely see real European antiques in my business - it's usually the revival pieces that come my way, though even if mass manufactured in late 19th century to mid 20th century, they are quality frames...

here are the finished 3 from the spring-tying phase of image above...

50s Slipper Chair reupholstered in silk (the color of which would fit in very nicely to Isobel Crawley house)


(Isobel Crawley's drawing room)

Eastlake platform rocker - for Downton Nursery? Could do, but in a solid light tone or gentle small pattern

....maybe the second chair would fit into the nursery at Downton...or Tom Branson's less well-to-do home in Ireland (which viewers have never seen, but can only imagine, as Lord Grantham has all to often expressed his horror at the very idea)  Not that this Eastlake rocker is less-than...but was made for industrial-rev and post-indust.rev populations that more and more were able to provide "drawing", "parlor" and sitting rooms to give comfort to their guests and visitors.  Smaller versions of this platform rocker were made for nursing chairs - as was this one I did last summer, a family piece that had rocked all of their babies for generations.


Check out this "get the look" from Conde Nast


and the last chair in the earlier picture, the one with a caned, almost winged back...

maybe a chair such as this would be the pull-up seat for visitors to Thomas Barrow's room...such as when First Footman Jimmy comes to make nice to Thomas for being so homophobic and taking the beating that was meant for him when he was drunk at the country fair!

no, I doubt it.  Too fancy with it's high padded seat.  Even though Thomas has climbed the ranks to Valet to Lord Grantham and is now as of Season 3,  Underbutler to Charles Carson, his humble room and meager furnishings are still that of the First Footman he was upon arrival at Downton.  Maybe they'll let him have more creature comforts this season.

Here's where this chair lives now, in a lovely warm library room, St. Paul's cathedral hill neighborhood.