Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stylish Genes!

I inherited my Father's nose. This was a bone of contention when I was a teenager, but now that I am all grown up - and have since (so my Mother tells me) "grown into" my nose - I am delighted to have something that is so indisputably inherited from my family. But where did my love of fashion and interiors come from? From the age of 12 I used my pocket change to purchase ridiculously irrelevant issues of Vogue magazine. Irrelevant, because I spent my earliest years in urban 1970's South London - as far from the glamour and gloss of a stylish fashion magazine as one could get at the time (although as a point of interest, an officially glamourous Naomi Campbell was being brought up just over a mile away in one direction and a few years later, an equally stylish Kate Moss two miles in the opposite direction, so perhaps it was something in the water?)

My Mother had no particular interest in fashion, but she did like to browse through a copy of House and Garden or Country Life now and again, so perhaps there's the clue? However, my own very conventional family history aside - isn't it just fascinating when several generations of the same family show a sense of such impeccable style and taste, that one is left to wonder whether 'taste' is as inherited a feature as a crooked nose or a gap toothed smile?

There are numerous well known and fascinating British dynastic families in the world of fashion, interiors and design. The Conran's are one such family, and the Hicks family are another favourite of mine. However, a particularly long held style crush and fascination for me is The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and her grandaughter, the model, knitwear designer and mother of four, Stella Tennant.

I'm sure that most of you have seen the homes of both Stella and 'Debo' the Dowager Duchess featured in magazine spreads a countless number of times (I know that I have!) but as with all things beautiful and desirable, it never hurts to see them again and again...and again!

Stella's Scottish farmhouse above...
And the 'Old Vicarage' where the Dowager Duchess now resides on the Chatsworth Estate below...totally divine, but which would you choose?

But the exterior of houses that have stood for generations are often easy to look stylish aren't they? After all, the original architect usually worked his magic and stamped his great taste a few hundred years ago. But what about the interiors? Are these not the true testament to the taste of the current owners... and how do they stand up across the generations?

First of all The Dowager Duchess's entrance hall and sitting room. Simply lovely aren't they? I think that whether I were eight or eighty years old - I could be happy in either of these rooms. I think that the hallway may be painted in Farrow & Ball's 'Arsenic'?

LOVE the reminds me of marshmallows, and is quite possibly once again a Farrow & Ball paint in 'Calamine'.

The Dowager Duchess's (very modern) dining room... Her bathroom...

And now to Stella's home...
Her sitting Room...

Morning Room...
Stella's bathroom...inspired by her Grandmother perhaps?
Her Bedroom...

The children's bedrooms...

And best of all...Stella's amazing garden!

So is nature or nurture responsible for a heightened sense of interior style? Or is it perhaps, that the relatives with a taste for brown flock wall paper, flying ducks on the wall and old rusting fridges on the front lawn, are hidden away in the attic, and we just simply don't get to 'meet' them!

Have a great weekend.

Paula x

Images courtesy of:
1) US Vogue May 2010; 2)Photograph by Simon Upton for World of Interiors;
3) Francois Halard for Vogue 4, 5,6,7& 8) Simon Upton for World of Interiors;
9,10,11,12,13,14,15 &16) Photographs by Francois Halard for Vogue


  1. I think its about 75% nature (being born with a creative streak) and 25% nurture (exposure to good style). There was not much interiors nurturing growing up in a dull Midlands town - my early influences were 60s Biba and Nova magazine.
    Lovely photos!

  2. Hi dear! Thanks for visiting me and for leaving such a kind comment ;) I'm glad I've found you out, too!
    A big hug

  3. I love both! I remembered a young Stella bursting onto the fashion scene, in full grunge and punk attire. Love her handsome, unconventional and yes, aristocratic, features! I had the pleasure of visiting Chatsworth two years ago. While the manor is grand and impressive, I'd prefer the vicarage cottage as a home. Great post! Loi

  4. Hello sweet Paula! What a delightful post! I always enjoy your wonderful writings! The photos are beautiful! What incredible homes they have! I too, loved Vogue magazine when I was a girl. I always have had an interest in fashion. My dad loved to dress well, and as he came from an era, being born in 1918, where hats were always worn and you dressed for dinner, he truly had an old-fashioned way about his clothing that was charming and fashionable. He wore cuff links, ties, suits, dress shoes and hats, of course, on a daily basis. I would have loved to have seen how he dressed when he was a young man. Hope your weekend is beautiful! xo~Paula

  5. Sorry Paula, I've never been interested in fashion :o( Though the beautiful homes you have featured here are fabulous.

    Thank you for your lovely comments :o) good luck had a lot to do with it...
    Best wishes
    Rose H

  6. Hello Paula
    I'm sure that our genes ensure that we come into this world with a certain degree of pre-destination but everything else depends on our experience.
    Thank you for your very sweet comments.

  7. Thank you for your inspiring comments. I will follow your inspiring blog too! No21x

  8. Thank you for your nice comment on my blog. I will follow your blog too, I love it.
    Have a great weekend

  9. Hello Paula
    Thank you for your lovely comments, your Blog looks wonderful.
    Thea x

  10. Thank you so much for stopping by! And it's great, that you share these fantastic and soooo very british impressions with us.

    I read in your profil, that you make your new house to a 'forever home'. You're lucky .... I have been trying this at four houses and still have not found the right property ;)


  11. Hi Paula,what an interesting post,I tend to agree with Louise in the second comment.I think we breed what we are born into and we can embrace the good and grow with it or fight to make a difference if we don't like what we have been given!Thanks for sharing all the lovely photos! Christie

  12. Dear Mrs. Sutton,
    First, I wasn't aware that you had started to blog again... I am so pleased to see you posting! This was a delightful read!
    all my best,

  13. I wish I could confirm style & panache in interior styling was in the genes Paula, but my 5 sons seem to throw that theory to the wind. Each of them has decorated their rental houses & flats with a style best described as 'interesting'. I should do a post one day on it along with pics, but I'd lose my faithful Followers & readers in an instant!
    Millie xx

  14. What a lovely place.
    What you said is right " I were eight or eighty years old - I could be happy in either of these rooms" Its simply great to be one with nature :-)

  15. such a lovely country house!!!

  16. Wow! Both properties are gorgeous. But I did LOVE Stella's bathroom ;-)
    TY for your lovely comments overt at mine also xx

  17. I am thrilled to see you back in blog land my friend! This is a delightful post with such timeless interior spaces. It's funny how as adults we learn to embrace "our genes" since that is what set us apart from the crowd. I hope you're having a lovely Sunday! XX

  18. HI Paula!!!

    i think you should write 'PROPERLY' - like a book or a weekly column? I SO enjoy your style and your way of putting word together and you always have something interesting to say!!!! Yours is one of the very few blogs where I read all the text - often it is more about the images, not so here!!! Right - had to day that! :)

    Thank you for your kind words about my cushion!! I am very proud as I - like you, bought all the books and bits etc..but did not even go as far as a rabbit...bunting for the B Natural Music Festival last year, meters and meters of it....all in Tilda Fabric - had to use it for something, I guess - and so Bildeston ended up with designer bunting...:) - I even had labels printed with 'September Cottage Desing'....hehehe). Anyway - your school sewing projects made me laugh!!!! VERY funny!!!! And as for lessons....well..Charloote is hopeing to move soon...not to far (Bury ST Edmunds) and then she might well do something....she is full of ideas and I will tell her what I have a personal 'interest' in her doing some sort of shop - she has very unique style and would do so well!!!

    And DON'T talk about the 'weather'!!! Isn't it just crazy???? Lots of muddy paws - does Bryon mind the rain? Crumbs just takes one look and starts walking backwards....I do toy with the idea of getting her a coat - my dog walking coat is a Drizabone and I have just seen, they do a doggy version...even if it is just to hang it up on the peg rail in the dog & boot room...... Anyway - she is very excited to hear from Bryon and is sending her love too....!!!!

    Have a lovely evening!!! Our candles have been going all day - the upside of horrid weather - SO cozy indoors!!!!

    'See' you soon and have a great week!!

    Nicola x

  19. That is certainly a great question. I think a little bit of both is probably the answer. Sort of like people that are adopted. They often wonder if their traits are biological or environmentally caused. Those pics are great! I can't imagine living in such a huge home as that with all of that history. Thanks for visiting me too. Love your blog!

  20. Hello, I inherited my Mum's bum! :0(
    fantastic post, I really enjoyed reading it! Thank you...

    Lou xxx

  21. How peaceful! Would love to stay in one of those someday :)

  22. I love this post Paula and thank you for dropping by ... sorry I havent visited earlier as my internet was down for the week!
    I've been watching the series "The Guest Wing" on sky about stately homes being hired out to the public and the costs of running them ... a very interesting series!

  23. I think a semse of style is mostly inherited. Hard to teach someone. Nice you came by! Now get out that old ironing board! Haha!

  24. Thank you sooooo much for your sweet comment.......i feel like I´m in heaven!!!! And i love your blog, soooooo wonderful pictures!!!! Have a great week,

    Hugs, Jade

  25. Hi Paula,
    Thank you for your comments on my blog.
    I think both homes look just wonderful. True old English country style.
    A brilliant post as always.

  26. Hi Paula,

    A beautiful and interesting post. I didn't know the dowager Dutchess of Devonshire had such a beautiful home. It looks really stylish and modern for a lady of such great age. I think I even prefer the interior of her house over that of her granddaughter. Her use of colour is striking!

    I think a sense of style is something that must be in the genes.....It's difficult to develop when you haven't got feeling for it.

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

  27. Great post, I'm glad you're back !

  28. Hey Paula, fab post! they're both so gorgeous - but I think the Dowager's has the edge for me!!


  29. i want the piece of art in the duchess dining room!! in love!! the eye for design is developed through life experiences and through what we see and wish for I think..

  30. Dearest Paula, thank you so very much for your lovely comment on my guest post!! greatly appreciated!


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