Monday, March 2, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Finale {Love, Actually}


How fabulous was last night's EXTRA-LONG Season Finale? The Grouse Hunting Trip to Scotland AND the Christmas Special!?! I was in Downton Decor Heaven! Watch it again!

Because there were SO MANY Plot resolutions I won't get into too many of the episode's details...only the set details and as usual, the period, background elements that help to make Downton Abbey an exquisite way for all of us to spend our time.

Fresh Flowers on the table. I love how opulent and extravagant and completely lovely it is to have an arrangement of fresh flowers on the dining table.  Here are some ideas from one of my favorite floral designers, Sinclair and Moore, for timeless, classic, old-fashioned flowers that you can use in your arrangements in new and current ways....whether you have them every day or only once in a blue moon. (Browse the Sinclair & Moore Gallery)
                            Sinclair & Moore Workshop info 23Sinclair & Moore Lisa Elie 53

Lauren and Kelan 21 sinclair and moore.jpSinclair & Moore brunch 4

The Kuragin. We learn a bit more about The Kuragins (and about Lady Violet, for that matter), when we are introduced to the infamous Princess Kuragin. Man, she's a tough broad. Who didn't want to break out into their very own Boris and Natasha accent?! Who knew that we'd ever think Violet to be the warm and fuzzy option?
Rade Sherbedgia as Kuragin & Jane Lapotaire as Princess Irina in Downton Abbey Christmas special

It got me thinking about where I had heard the name Kuragin before. It's strait from Tolstoy's War and Peace. And in a way, is an extension of the Tolstoyan Kuragin's character, in my opinion. (There is a Count Rostov in Downton as well....just like there was a Count Rostov in War and Peace). I think the writers were inspired by Tolstoy's characters, writing a Russian Refugee ending for them due to the English/Russian Royal familial connections at the time.

Who is up for a Grouse Hunt? The Scottish Castle Brancaster is actually Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. If the exterior looks familiar, it is where the Harry Potter series was shot. For more Harry Potter and Downton Connections check out this PBS page.

The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

There were also some INCREDIBLE STYLE HAPPENINGS at Brancaster.
I'm talking Antlers & Pelts on the walls.
Tweeds and boots and other anticipated Scottish paraphernalia. Check out my Scottish Downton Decor Synopsis from Season 3 here and my Highland Fling post from last year, here.
Throws add so much visual warmth & coziness to a room all winter long. Don't place them carefully- just throw them casually over the back of a chair or sofa or on a bed for the best "unstudied" effect. Try it- you'll like it!Scotland Type Map in Sheer Slate - decorative screen print

But how about that Emerald Green?
The stand for me at Brancaster Castle was the unexpected flair. My favorite recurring bolt was the Emerald Green color that popped up in unexpected places. We saw it in the Dining Room on the Emerald Damask Walls and Upholstered Chairs. We saw it in Edith's Room, where my favorite seen of the night unfolded between father and daughter. And we saw it downstairs, in the servant's hall when Thomas is walking down the corridor.

Downton Abbey Christmas Special The Dining Room at Alnwick Castle. Photo by James McDonald for The Word of Interiors magazine. Pure Silk damask in forest green, matched to a remaining house fragment for the restoration of the State Dining Room walling and 32 Chippendale matching dining chairs. @Alnwick Castle #walling #chairs #furniture #chippendale #silk #damask #green #weaving #fabric #downtonabbey #brancastercastle

Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2014. The Dining Room at Alnwick Castle. Photo by James McDonald for The Word of Interiors magazine. Pure Silk damask in forest green, matched to a remaining house fragment for the restoration of the State Dining Room walling and 32 Chippendale matching dining chairs. @Alnwick Castle #walling #chairs #furniture #chippendale #silk #damask #green #weaving #fabric #downtonabbey #brancastercastle

I think that the Emerald Green, Gold and Natural, Mid-grade Wood Tone are stunning together.
Don't you?
To recreate Edith's Brancaster Bedroom I've thrown this together for you.
Last, but certainly not least, my very favorite emerald green is  8. Benjamin Moore "Very Green"Pair of Gustavian Tub Chairs-

Edith gets my vote for biggest transformation this year. She has come out of the abyss and seemed genuinely happy both at Brancaster and back at Downton for Christmas. I'm thinking we may see The Agent again....hmm, with Tom headed to Boston, that leaves a property management position open at the old Abbey, doesn't it? She also had the best wardrobe this year.  She will be known to me from here on out as "Lady Bead-ith". Her dresses are perfect for her...just the right combination of feminine and deco.
Downton Abbey Christmas Special

And now for a few of the fabulous lines in the dialogue last night:

"They all know far more about us then we know about them". Lady Rose to Lady Mary in regards to the servants knowing more about them then they know about their servants private lives.

"It's how it must be. Sad to say, I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it? Lady Violet to Isobel about refusing Prince Kuragin's advances.

"You never know what's coming do you?" Robert to Cora when he (due to his angina/ulcer issues, feels so compelled to make things right and support Edith with Marigold).

"Oh, Crikey". Robert when he realizes what a hornet's nest he has landed in with the Rose/Diana/Daniel/Lord Sinderby's Mistress Situation.

"She'll love your forever if you'll let her". Robert to Lord Sinderby regarding Rose. (I know that it was sort of common for affairs to happen in those circles, but I did think it was interesting that they all covered for him and left their little pow-wow smiling and letting bygones be bygones....poor Rachel).

"Within a week I felt she had pulled me back from the abyss. She saved me and I saved her." Lady Violet sharing the details of what really happened between she and Prince AND Princess Kuragin during the Kuragin affair.

"Remember, we were the Edwardians." Lady Violet to Isobel regarding whether there were any other dalliances after Kuragin.

And so, with Season 5 coming to a close,  for the next year, take Violet's advice,
"Never Complain. Never Explain".

Michelle Dockery, Oliver/Zac Barke (Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014)

Come and join me next Monday for the Downton Decor and Movie Club! I'll be sharing other Movies and Series that are new and old favorites!
*All photos ITV/Carnival/Nick Briggs

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