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 pink…it 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…
Stella’s bathroom…inspired by her Grandmother perhaps?
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.
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