3.09.2011

Design and the Duchess

In my imagination....
this is where I live.

I am Deborah ( o.k. we know that) but my surname is Mitford not Milne; an English name not Scottish. I grew up to be the Duchess of Devonshire.
My eccentric rearing surrounded me with an brood of five sisters and one brother and living happily in several of our families grand homes in the Oxfordshire countryside.

At times my parents had a restricted budget for maintaining these large, old estates, After all we had governesses, housekeepers, seamstresses, and several groundskeepers to employ.
When my family could no longer reside in the Palladium 18th century house of my mums dreams, her ability to transform the succession of  houses attractive and original on little money was one of her 'outstanding talents'. 

"Mum did not bow to fashion, mixing furniture and objects from different periods which many people would have thought unsuitable for their surroundings.

She used whatever was available, and her instinct for colour (yes spelled with the 'u' for today I am British) has lived on in me through the years.

Whether a manor house or a tiny cottage, mums stamp was unmistakable and the results I thought, were perfection.

Junk shops drew her like a magnet and in the streets behind Marylebone Station she found bargains in furniture.
She never employed a decorator or sought advice; she knew what she wanted and got it done".
The ability of good design is to be able to 'manipulate the mood of a given room'.
and a good book, the ability to transfer us to another era, be another person, and live in the social class of aristocrats.







 



Life, living, as well as design, should be eclectic and electrifying; never scripted, and over-planned;

Too thought out can run the risk of boring. 

So now I return to my book;
back to the life of privilege and royalty.
Must hurry as I have dinner plans and a puppy play-date to prepare for with this smashing couple and stolen moments to forget that my Houston home is still on the market, that we may have to evict a family of 5 from our house in Las Vegas, and the life as a Scottish expat is slipping further and further away.
Thank you warmly Deborah Mitford for the distractions to my day, life-learned inspiration and what I love best, a remarkable history lesson.
 Cheers my dears!
xo dumbwit

{go forth and live responsibly}
reading is knowledge, knowledge is power

image credits; shootfactory,skoahem,debracronindesign,garyspain;

47 comments:

A Perfect Gray said...

wow, you really transported us....some of those images are the loveliest I've seen.

thanks for reminding us of those truisms...you're the best!

donna

Pinecone Camp said...

Thanks for a perfect start to the day, Duchess. I love all these rooms!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I suppose, since you are so well settled in, Edward and I can come for tea?

DolceDreams said...

Oh my dear Duchess, you are the most fabulous writer and sooo deserve to live your life here (as posted in the beginning, not the tail end!) (and sorry to hear about the housing dramas...do you need me to muscle over to Henderson for you!?) Just know you are not alone ...it is everywhere.
Keep the faith, and have a most "colourful" week!
xo
Nathalie

Privet and Holly said...

I KNEW that was
why we get along
so smashingly; I'm
a duchess, too {he
he}!! Loved this
little escape. I
have to climb back
up a ladder and take
a stab at finishing
my stencil project,
now...Tally-ho!
xx Suzanne
PS: Sorry about your
stalled Houston home
and the LV eviction.
Yowzer!

BonjourRomance said...

Great post Deborah, I knew there was something special about you. Loved the tour of your family home. Dn't worry, things will work out - just when we think all is lost, then suddenly the sun breaks out from behind the clouds (must have read that somewhere).
As my Mom used to say, - "Take a day at a time". Sometimes, "an hour at at time" is more like it!
Hang in there my friend, your sense of humor will see you through! Another of Mom's little gems, 'It's better to laugh than cry". Okay, I am rattling...
Do you accept houseguests?
Mimi

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

You will get there Duchess Deb. I know it will happen. I might not seem possible at this moment, but hold on to the dream. I loved this and love her, too. oxo

Jenny said...

WOW! Amazing! Can I come and live with you Duchess? xoxo

Blue Fruit said...

Just too delightful! Witty words and smashing snaps!

Splendid Sass said...

Well Deb... you just took us on a little journey here! I was entranced for a minute there.
Lovely images and I will have to read a little on my own.
Have a great day.
Teresa
xoxo

24 Corners said...

Such a perfectly timed post your ladyship, as I have just started reading "The Sisters" by Mary Lovell! I think I'm on the verge of becoming a Mitford-aholic and you images & prose have pushed me much closer to this inevitable and delightful state.
Keep the faith 'Debo', Scotland isn't going anywhere and will be waiting with open arms when the time comes!
Big Hugs...
xo J~

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

What a delightful story!! :)
Janell

Lisa said...

Oh my Lady, I am ready for you to tell the shh-shh story about Steve & me.
Your writing takes me much further away than Calgon ever could!
My best to you dear Duchess Dumbwit.
kisses kisses

*Chic Provence* said...

Dear Deb my friend! the images transporting, the storyline riveting, and best of all, your little handwritten notebook of things that are very very wise!

You are amazing with your posts, as always...

Chin to the wind, dear duchess!

xoxo

Kit

pretty pink tulips said...

What fun...from my castle to yours!!! That was a lovely little mid week escape!!!

xo Elizabeth

Anthony said...

Fabulous escape, m'lady! Might you have a spare guestroom for me? ;)

Carla@DesignintheWoods said...

What a nice trip across the pond! I've always found it so interesting that the British upper class has such a stalwart and practical side. It comes across in their interiors, simple and straightforward, loving their animals, their history, their traditions. Love your post!

Red Boots said...

Loved this post Debbie! Loved it so much! x

Barbara said...

I've always loved books about the Mitford girls....such a mix of personalities!
Chatworth is gorgeous.

quintessence said...

So relate to your vicarious life!! The book is in my HUGE pile next to my bed (because I no longer have room in my bookshelves). Heaven knows when I'll get to it - but this is certainly inspiring me. Going to try and make this my new mantra -eclectic and electrifying; never scripted, and over-planned.

mise said...

And thank you, blogging Deborah, for your attractive and engaging glimpse of another life.

Renae Moore said...

May I call you "DD" for short? I love this dream. Such a fun mind you have my dear! Enjoyed our chat the other day!
xo

Visual Vamp said...

I can totally dig it!
I believe every word!
Love the way you collect images and weave your story.
xo xo

Karena said...

Deb this was just wondrful beyond, your writing, your images. A complete delight!

So sorry to be remiss in staying in touch

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Come and enter my fine art giveaway!

Francine Gardner said...

Can i just pretend to be your Mitford sister! We would have such a grand time, you could teach me how to ride a motorbike through the green countryside, we would share books and social gossips...
I guess our dreams are on hold for a little while...yours of Scotland, mine of exotic warm pastures...you deal with Real Estate and i deal with the pressure of Business...or lack of... Keep smiling xoxo

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

gorgeous life ~ especially with all those pugs, chickens and gorgeous tea parties to be had!

Will you email me? I need your email address please...

melissa@reverie-daydream.com

vicki archer said...

I loved her book too.....fab and fun post.. xv

Pigtown-Design said...

you're amazing!

{and the book is just waiting to be read!}

Jo Farmer said...

Wonderful... Feel an urgent desire to return home to the UK...

Averill said...

So beautiful -- and so English! Makes me yearn for our trip to the countryside of Kent last summer....I suppose it'll be quite some time before I make it across the Pond again!

Fingers crossed the house sells soon...and that it all works out well in the end, Deb!

dovecote Decor said...

I am years behind in work because of the Mitford Sisters. I am obsessed with these hilarious girls and have even compiled a file of their houses to try to justify so many hours of my time!
Best,
Liz

Heavenly Housewife said...

Long time no hear daaaaaahling. Another fabulous post filled with lots of eye candy :D. Always inspiring.
*kisses* HH
p.s. Please stop by when you get a chance, I'm doing a fab $80 Amazon gift card give-away :D. Let's see if lightning strikes twice

annechovie said...

Oh, Deb, you are adorable and always fun. Love your new blog header/look! xo

Haute World said...

Oh, to be a Duchess! Thanks for the journey... I adore the reds in the third picture and the mix of old and new in most of the others. Hope you're doing well and that your Scottish fairytale will eventually come true!

Beadboard UpCountry said...

YOU are one of the most talented, articulate, empathetic,and artistic beings I have ever met....
If any company read your blog they would know you could kick up what ever they were doing.......Your dream is around the corner..... NO DOUBT in my mind......xo Maryanne

Renée Finberg said...

wait....
i have to catch my breath!!!
i am rolling on the floor.
you are the best.
and i needed this.
xxx

shiree segerstrom said...

My son Christian and I visited Chatsworth when he was a child. He had more fun in the farm section. Their chickens are very exotic! Shiree'

red ticking said...

love love love love love.. i will be your maid... xx

studioJudith said...

Such a lovely fairy tale ... .
one which many of us can easily
relate to - having recently heard
the interview with "Debo" - your post is a perfect reminder to pick up the book.
Always a treat to visit your
world !

judith

The enchanted home said...

Thanks for taking me to another era...I thoroughly enjoyed it! The pictures are all so beautiful and talk about how photos can tell a story....you told a beautiful one. Loved it! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your wonderfully kind comments, I am enjoying your blog now too and with a name like yours....I will never forget you. (I loved Bonwit Teller, the good ol days) I am also your newest follower....so lovely to "meet" you Duchess!

Beadboard UpCountry said...

Hi Deb!
I guess mummy had pretty good taste!!! Thanks for this glimpse into your Estate Prive!Madame Duchess!Enjlyed it!!!!!Maryanne xo

Haven and Home said...

Oh Duchess Deb, thank you for sharing your life with us ;)

lisa golightly said...

Oh that was fun and for awhile I imagined being your equally stunning neighbor who comes over far too frequently for tea in the red room and use that amazing brown and white loo !

La Petite Gallery said...

wonderful photo's, Love the Winsor's. Great post you put a lot of work in it. yvonne
Oh drop over today is my last day
on the huge give-away.

yvonne

Pink Pig said...

What a visual treat and a fabulous read!

joanny said...

Every photograph tells a story, and you are a MUSE at weaving stories out of the many photo's you post, they come alive with your words and inventiveness all of which I admire greatly in your ability. They aren't just pretty vignettes but hold a whole world of imagination and creative writing. This is the stuff that makes a blog worth visiting.

joanny

Maria said...

You've managed to bring us to Netherlands with your photography. I remember when my teacher back in high school told me that if I wanted to go somewhere else. All i have to do is to go to the library, grab a book and read. But I'm actually not reading. What i do is that i look at the pictures in the book and somehow, my imagination takes me there. This one's amazing.

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