The Details

As you may know I live in England and we have a wonderful thing called the National Trust. They basically look after our beautiful old buildings, preserving them for future generations, our coastline too. What it means is, nosey people like me can immerse themselves in amazing architecture, and imagine, what if… Near where I live in Cornwall we have Lanhydrock House, a gorgeous Victorian home that has a perfectly preserved upstairs-downstairs lifestyle.

You can get overwhelmed  by the amount of embellishment and grandeur, but I like looking at the details. We actually have a company locally, Bromleighs, who specialise in period fixtures and fittings. The door handles, light switches, letterboxes etc. that fit a specific period. They have even supplied the National Trust. I mean imagine a Downton Abbey parlour with white glaringly plastic light switches!! The shock.

In praise of period details, here a few elements that shouldn’t be missed, the unsung heroes that make a space authentic.

The real-life Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle

The Master in Downton Abby

Period details from Downton abby

Rich dark wood of the library in Downton Abby

Dramatic scene from Downton Abby

When you are restoring a period house some people strip everything away but the bones of the place, and then fill the interior in contrast with the ultra modern. Sometimes though I think the soul can be lost. I am zoning in today on the overlooked details that can preserve the integrity of a building.

Here we have a dove grey door with a silvered handle, complementing it perfectly.

Antique style door handles

As you may well know, I am a fan of mix and match. There is quite a lot going on in this bathroom, but I think it works. What I really like is the mirror and light fittings in this dark, brassy metal.

Old brass fittings in a contemporary space

I love these old radiators, especially in sunshine yellow!

Blue walls and yellow radiator

Beautifully finished, this kind of handle would look at home on a ruggedly knotted and aged door.

Brass ribbed door handle

The handles here, in my humble opinion, make this kitchen. Lovely rich dark blue units, marble counter tops and a touch of brass.

Kitchen units in navy blue with brass metal handles

I love this light, so solid, so certain. Bolted onto the wall like it really belongs there!

Wall light in brass and white glass

Back to blue again, it just works so well! And what a lovely leathery colour.

Bathroom door in dark blue with antique style handle and lock in brass

Of course it is important to look up too. Georgian houses especially had beautiful freezes of intricate plaster. This is actually taken from another National Trust property, Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion.

Plaster work detail from a National Trust house

Another great mix. I included this bathroom because of the peg hooks, a lovely detail, and because of the sage green and zesty orange combo!

Roll top bath, peg hooks and black wire storage in a contemporary twist on a modern bathroom

My final thought goes to lighting. You can’t go wrong with a chandelier, no really. Even this rustic space is made complete with an antique-style pendant.

Brown interior with dark wood and an antique style chandelier