The Year in Review, As Seen Through Downton Abbey

If you’ve come here for anything other than a recap of 2012, my name is Kathy. I’m a designer, a wife, a mother, a mother’s mother, a daughter, a sister, a seeker, a friend and a Downton Abbey fan. It’s nice to meet you!
Since the first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have one, I thought I would celebrate another year of Live the Fine Life in grand style, by using a few scenes, in no particular order, from Episode One, Season Three of DA to help illustrate what’s been happening around here. I may even throw in a couple of sneak peaks at 2013!
Spoiler Alert: Although I’ve already seen it, there will be no spoilers here. I wouldn’t do that. Just as in life, 82% of the fun is not knowing what happens next. Everything is more interesting with a little mystery/enjoy the journey feel to it, don’t you think? Good. Let’s get started!
Our scene begins in a gothic church. Someone may get married, or, not. Either way, it wasn’t me, although I did visit the most beautiful Gothic-style structure you will ever see on top of a mountain exactly halfway between Chicago and Miami. 
My, you have lovely arches! 
Yes. They really make the light so beautiful, don’t you think?
Who knew old gangsters had architectural leanings? You live, you learn. I finally realized that going gray didn’t have to mean growing old, so I’m doing it.
O’Brien, you are so good at braiding my hair.

So good that I have to ask, why does your hair always look so bloody awful? 
Designers are perpetual cobbler’s children, so maybe this is a case of the lady’s maid’s hair. I picked up a few inexpensive hats to make the graying out process less a little less painful. I have one that looks like Anna’s.
You complete me, you do. I mean it.

That’s why I call you Mister, Mr. Bates.
By the way, maroon is back in vogue in fashion and interiors. It’s a tad bit richer than it’s been in the past. I know color can be scary. Avoid the bright jewel tones of the ’80s and you’ll be just fine.
There were a couple of fresh faces here and there this year.
I don’t have time to train a new footman precisely because I need a new footman! How many times do I have to say footman in this episode?
Besides, you’re too tall to be a footman!
Apparently, there once was a world, outside of being a jockey, where being tall was a job killer. If we are judging one another by height, then it’s become obvious that I may be descendant of a long line of household staff. Hand me that mop, please.
It’s okay. Unlike some people, I’m rather proud of my lineage.
I’m not ashamed. Really. I have no shame. Remember the soap? That, my dear, was the definition of shameless and I’m still standing.
Speaking of shame… As Anna fusses with Mary’s hair, Cora begins “The Talk.”

Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. Please, Mummy, let’s don’t talk about sex! That one time at Above Stairs Lady Camp doesn’t count. The Turk died, so I was revirginized! 
Don’t be silly, darling. We shall never talk about that again. Let’s start with your lady bits.

And let’s end there, too. It’s best not to talk about bits that aren’t ours.
Bahahaha! Oh, Mummy, you’re so funny! 
Then there was that short stroll through Fashion Week.
Sweetheart, I may have been mistaken, what with my renewed virginity intact and all.
It appears that all those boxy looks aren’t as fashion forward as they might seem.
While I loved Naeem Khan’s collection, Edith happily took a walk through town wearing Marc Jacobs, Fall 2012, but with a proper daytime hat.
I feel pretty, oh so pretty…

Wait, wait, wait. What? 

Why do the grand dames get the best lines and the girly wardrobe? It’s not fair!

Poor Edith. Hmm. Poor Edith–it isn’t good when your own grandmother thinks that’s your given name. Life is not fair. Let’s find her a suitable man to fix it right up.

Oh, and when you win an Oscar you may get to chew some scenery too. 

Queen of Sheba? Did you just call me “Queen of Sheba?” I’ll have you know I may’ve been Charlemagne’s Indian princess elephant whisperer and a man from Atlantis, but I was never the Queen of Sheba!

Touche, ShirleySpeaking of scenery chewing…

I found something amazing on the interwebs. Trust me, I think you might like it.

You don’t? Well, don’t be angry, darling. You’re right. That video wasn’t discussed here, but it should’ve been. It. Is. That. Bad.

…I discovered that you really, really can’t go home, againThe world’s population reached seven billion this year. How is it possible that only a teeny tiny percentage of us have seen that particular slice of cheese? 
I hit some architectural hotspotsdesign markets, and trade shows. My profile photo is a selfie I took while standing in a glass box perched more 1300 feet over Downton Chicago and by that I mean downtown Chicago.
Carson, I think she’s going to jump!
I don’t think she will, Lord Grantham. It looks like she’s planning to live there. 
Yes, Carson, that was the plan. The view is incredible.
We took a long tour of the world’s bluest great room.
Wow. It is bluer than your room, Mrs. Crawley.

Did you know the Blue Room at the White House is mostly yellow?

Only one of you had the nerve to ask me if I really liked that blue room.
Did you really, really like it?
And be honest.

I’ve never lied to you.

Okay. Maybe that one time when I was a child, but not lately.
I’m sorry. That might have been a lie too.
Honesty? You want honesty? Alright. Here goes. I never said I liked it. If I’m reading what I typed correctly, I said something about how the genius of Mary McDonald’s design was that if you simply paint it a different color the room won’t be blue anymore. In hindsight, it strikes me that maybe genius was the wrong word.
But life is in full color, isn’t it? It isn’t lived in lovely bits of beige and white.
Unless you’re town folk, or part of that lot. Like a chauffeur or a common kitchen maid.

Speaking of which, I could use a kitchen maid. Or Kitchen Aid or GE Monogram or Wolf/SubZero or Gaggenau or better still, a little something from Blog Tour sponsor Miele. You choose, because I can’t…
…I can’t be expected to work in this kitchen. 

It’s a bloody mess!
I bet she never gets her kitchen design published.
Ha! I bet she never gets it finished!
All in good time, ladies. As for Hubs tipping point, surprisingly, he hasn’t hit it yet. We’ve He’s discovered lots of creative ways to cook my our favorite meals and it’s only natural that we’re eating more fresh vegetables. We’re both feeling much better, thank you.
My fiefdom for a baked potato!
Just one baked potato loaded with…cheese pizza!

Darling, the town’s cabinet maker is booked through January. No one wants to take on such a small job, so we have to wait our turn.

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All the other craftsmen want us to install brand new cabinets, but we don’t need them.

I promise I’ll get it done as soon as I get back from touring Europe with Modenus! 

And after I finish planning the Preview Party for the O’More Show House Traditional Home is presenting and finding an underwriter for it. The magazine’s Editor-in-Cheif, Ann Maine, is coming, so it has to be perfect. How is April looking for you?
My dear, did you forget you are in charge of designing one of the spaces in the Show House, as well?
Yes. No. I think I’ve got this one!

Say a prayer. I’m going to need all the help I can get!
Back at Downton, the hounds are literally at the door:
As for the blog, I’m looking forward to a complete cosmetic overhaul, a honest-to-goodness editorial calendar, a new web project, and sharing the best that life has to offer from Blog Tour Cologne to KBIS to NeoCon and, fingers crossed, a stop at Highpoint this fall. There will also be a few very fabulous surprises in-between. As for season three of Downton, you are going to love/hate it. It is the best, by far!

May your New Year be filled with great story lines, happy outcomes, and beautiful design!

3 Replies to “The Year in Review, As Seen Through Downton Abbey”

  1. Kathy, great post. So excited for the new season of #DowntonAbbey! I tried to find them when I was in London on Blog Tour, they must've all been at court or something. Anyway, have a great time in Germany and wishing you a very Happy New Year!

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