downton abbey discussion

Now is as a good time as ever to confess my hopeless addiction to Downton Abbey.  I began my love affair with the show last year when curiosity led me to watch an episode from season three.  Obviously I was late in the game to get started.  Peter watched with me the following week.  We were both hooked.  Here and there we would watch reruns of older episodes and started craving more.  We recently ordered season one and two and have torn through an enticing catch-up on all the characters and their intertwined stories.  At this point, I’m so addicted that I can hardly wait for season four in January.


Why do I love this show so much?  It’s everything – the lavish surroundings, the costuming, the period of time in history and all of its challenges.  Not to mention the heartbreak, excitement, secrecy, and frustration you can’t help but feel with the injustice of a rigid class system.  One scene after the next, I am tossed into a wave of emotion ranging from bliss to despair…I love it and hate it all at once.  Mostly I think most it is relatable on a human level – the bittersweet happenings we all experience in the journey of life.  And how we choose to cope with the good and the bad.



I loved the monochromatic wardrobing on season three’s finale.


Style notes…

I am crazy for the detail interior and exterior shots…right down to the beginning of brass service bells ringing against the chalky black backdrop.  I’m particularly obsessed with all the library shots and Lord Grantham’s dark and cozy English dressing room.  I’m always distracted with Lord Grantham’s room during those dreary scenes of him blubbering about with his valet.

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 1.01.54 PM

Everything on the set is designed to reflect the styles in that period of history, right down to the shades of paint.  I read this article which discussed and revealed Downton’s interior paint colors.  They can be found here.  The kitchen is a murky green/grey, which was a popular shade during that time.

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 8.31.13 PM

I think the shade Equestrian Grey by Benjamin Moore would be a lovely modern day kitchen color – quite an appropriate name.  It’s right in line with the tones in the Downton kitchen.

equestrian grey benjamin moore

Sometimes all of the beauty from the sets and costumes makes my head nearly burst.  Such as this glorious pheasant hunting scene when Lady Mary could barely manage the presence of her then fiance, Sir Richard Carlisle.  Meanwhile, Matthew was looking more dapper than ever.


English countryside scenes with equines and fields of green?  Total PERFECTION.


Character reflections…

After I went back and watched the first two seasons, my feelings about Lady Mary changed.  My heart broke for Matthew, and my disdain for O’Brien and Thomas intensified to a blood-boiling level.  Countess Violet continued to amuse me, Lady Sybil’s stand impressed me, and Carson proved he is a man of propriety and virtue.  Lord Grantham shocked me, Lady Grantham irritated me, and Lady Edith horrified me with her behavior spawned from viscous sibling rivalry.  So far I can’t seem to get into the romance of Anna and Bates – adore her to pieces but not him so much.  They seem so mismatched.  Note:  I am furious with the ending of season three, cannot even discuss!  Oh Matthew…


A different world…

Although the storyline is fiction, it is all the more fascinating to watch knowing it takes place in a real period of history.  At that time there was such an intense awareness of one’s mortality – almost a vulnerability faced day to day.  The first World War and its aftermath followed by the Spanish flu taking the lives of many, to name only a few.  While there were certainly scandals (as in any human dealings), the overall culture had a tone of responsibility and honor that was tied to one’s identity.  Your word was your honor.  And you had to be  patient on so many levels; from writing and awaiting letters as a means of communication (versus texting) to reading books or playing an instrument by the fireside for entertainment (instead of cracking out on electronics).  Manners and decorum were of upmost importance…something I’m afraid we don’t see much of today.


I’ve enjoyed using the imaginary world of Downton as a luxurious reprieve from my daily obligations and demands.  It’s fun plopping on the sofa with husband after the kids are down – we usually enjoy it with a tray of tea and biscuits.  My somewhat primitive attempt at proper English style ; )


Apparently Downton has become such a hit that they are now launching a whole beauty line this month for a U.K. company called Mark & Spencer.  Who knew?  One of their products, a lipgloss set.

downton lipgloss

For laughs…

For those of you who know Downton inside and out who also happen to enjoy spoofs, I found this hilarious video and nearly lost bladder control from laughing so hard.  Sorry in advance – there’s a 15 second commercial in the beginning, just click on the image below then click on the video when you are redirected – it does not disappoint!

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 4.54.41 PM

Any thoughts you’d like to share about Downton Abbey?  Do you have a favorite character?

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  1. I fell in love with Downton Abbey too. I became so absorbed in figuring out the house that I wrote a post on all the rooms and the floor plan ( I wrote it as much for myself as for anyone as it was so much fun.

  2. Seleta says:

    What an enlightening and most interesting post, thank you for sharing with us Grace!


  3. CArolyn says:

    I am totally invested in each character and have watched each season several times. They have my china as their breakfast set, Herend Chinese Bouquet. I love watching Lady Cora Grantham munching on her breakfast tray in bed..

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness… I had tears when watching that video it was so funny! Love that you serve tea and biscuits!

  5. We did a walking tour in England’s Cotswolds area two weeks ago. While I was channel surfing one evening at a B & B built in the 1700’s, I stumbled onto the first show of season 4 of Downton Abbey. (The seasons starts earlier in England). It was such a great surprise. I’ll not tell you what happened other than the story takes up six months after last season ended.

  6. Kate says:

    I haven’t watched this show yet, but it’s next on my list! Your commentary is making me look forward to it even more!

    If you need something to fill your time before the next season, you should check out Call the Midwife if you haven’t already. The first two seasons were just released on Netflix, and I spent all last weekend watching all 16 episodes (lame, I know, but it was that good). It’s set in London in the last 50’s which I also find to be an interesting time period. London is still recovering from the war, there’s a lot of innovation taking place, but it hasn’t quite made it to this part of London. Anyway, really fascinating and I bet you would like it!

  7. Dori says:

    I so agree!! Im so jealous other countries are seeing Season 4 now. I love the honesty and lack of
    cynicism. The writing and acting is so refreshing from all the other shows on t.v.

  8. Kates says:

    I have yet to watch this show, but I am really wanting too!!!! I just finished watching The White Queen on Starz and it was fantastic! Totally love anything British!

  9. Katie says:

    Oh, my husband and I are both fans of Downton Abbey! (I never dreamed he would like it, so I watched the entire first season while he was out-of-town and determined I HAD to have a partner to watch it with me…there was simply no way I could carry the weight of obsession single-handedly. Ha!) We are almost through Season 3 (new baby in the house and a house move currently…)

    The Dowager Countess is hands-down my favorite to watch! I love that character. (When she talked about the vapors from electricity…oh my goodness…) Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite character! Even the *bad* people, you can’t help but find a shred of goodness or redeeming quality in them or, at the very least, something that gives you insight into why they do what they do. But, oh, there have definitely been times when I’ve wanted to reach through the TV!

    LOVE the historical side of the show (probably why my husband likes it, too), as well as the costumes, scenery, etc.

    As for funny spoofs, please watch the Jimmy Fallon ones … Downton Sixby. I can’t recall how many there are, but they are very, very funny! ;)

  10. Lizziefitz says:

    The theme song is my iPhone ring tone. Cheers!

  11. Kristel says:

    I too was a bit late to the whole Downtown Abbey thing…and I am just as hooked as you are, so much so, that I was able to look up season 4 online, and am now in episode 5. I was very shocked and heartbroken too by the ending of season 3. And yes, I love to see it for all of the reasons you stated as well.

  12. Aunt Pat says:

    we love it too!

  13. michelle says:

    After discovering the Abbey last year, we became hooked, too, and had to order the entire dvd box set to watch from the beginning. We’ve enjoyed every minute! (except for that final last minute) From the story lines to the architecture to the history, it’s fascinating!
    If you make a Big donation to PBS they’ll send you the new season, which has already debuted in England…but we’re willing to wait until January. Maybe the four of us should get together to watch it!

  14. Imma says:

    I LOOOOOVE This TV serie!
    It’s because the clothes, the places, the characters… it’s everything!
    xx :)

  15. Ingrid says:

    We are on the new series so I will not spoil it for you. It takes place on Sunday evenings here so I love to cosy up in bed and have some pure indulgent me time. I so enjoy it and like to look at every little detail. I adore the clothes. Lady violet is my favourite her wit and cutting comments are so great. She does not even have to say anything her expressions are so wonderful and she also has a kind heart under that tough exterior.

    So yes I am definitely also a fan. Have a fun weekend

  16. Katharina says:

    I only watched the frist episode. I don’t even know which was the last one that was on German television – we are always a bit later due to translation. I would love to watch them in English – is there any way to watch them online?

    Love your post and all the wonderful pictures!

  17. Aunt Kathi says:

    Oh My Goodness, Seleta…. You are so ‘point on’ with your observations! PBS, my favorite network, has really put their best foot forward with Downton. I’ve been watching since day one. Loved this post with the fab photos you selected and parlayed into their color choices and said uses for todays’ lifestyle. I can just see you with the entire family as visiting guests at Downton; and, of course, you will have to be there for some type of equestrian event. :)

  18. Sarah says:

    ADORE Downton Abbey. Amidst all the delicious improprieties – there is a constant of propriety and decorum. Love it. Add to that the accents, the clothing, interiors, and the rich characters,,,,I cannot get enough. While I wish we didn’t have to wait so long for the next season-it will be nice to have something to look forward to after the Holidays.

  19. Gayle says:

    I watch my favorite show online, too. I am on episode 7 season 4. I am never able to watch at the set point ao this online viewing works for me. Goggle ‘simply june’ , for lady in
    Germany and she can watch all the shows.

  20. DAS5 says:

    Downton Abbey has a lot of decent qualities behind it. It gives its viewership historical significance and real world reality. Although most of the viewers don’t like to see real world application, it’s good to remind the viewers that this show is not a fantasy where everything goes right. I believe the show needs to get a little more real, but the niche that they are in doesn’t allow it. I’ve kind of lost my care for the show. It caters too much to the fans and the fans live in a fantasy land where nothing is real and everyone is glamorous and rich. To class system for me. Let me know your thoughts.

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    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my family. A former TV personality turned designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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