Downton Detroit

The Downton-esque Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills was built in the 1920s by Matilda Dodge Wilson and her husband, Alfred G. Wilson. The  Holiday Walk tours run through Dec. 23. Photograph By Jeffrey Bennett

Lady Mary and Lord Grantham become part of many of our families come Downton time — the season when Downton Abbey, the wildly popular PBS Masterpiece drama filmed at Highclere Castle in England, finds us gathered in front of the television on Sunday evenings. For an hour a week, we get to absorb life at the manor — all the intriguing upstairs and downstairs turmoil, and how it intertwines. Last year, Season 3’s seven episodes reached 24 million viewers. And many of those (an average of 65,000 per episode) are in metro Detroit. At 9 p.m. Jan. 5, throngs of area residents will once again tune in to WTVS Detroit Public Television for some honest-to-goodness elegant escapism.

Downton Abbey has something for everyone: fashion, jewels, a beautiful setting, and history,” says Susanne Simpson, Masterpiece senior series producer. Simpson, a Birmingham native who attended Birmingham Groves High School and the University of Michigan, says design devotees are especially captivated by the home’s interiors. “The saloon is magnificent,” enthuses Elisabeth Meda, a Grosse Pointe Woods-based interior designer. (The saloon is physically and socially the heart of the house.) “The high ceilings, natural light, and the gold-leaf details, along with the mix of styles … it is a beautiful space.”

Metro Detroit fans connect on many levels, says Rich Homberg, president and CEO of Detroit Public Television — including the fact that there is a lot of fascinating architecture and history here which echoes that seen on the show. On a tour of Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills, for example, you may sense that Mr. Carson, Downton’s butler, is just in the next room, where he’s waiting to greet you. “And is there anyplace that is more Downton than Cranbrook House and Gardens?” Homberg asks.

On the following pages, discover more Downton, Detroit-style, in a Pewabic Tile bathroom in the most recent Junior League of Detroit Designers’ Show House, built in Grosse Pointe Shores in 1925 by Oscar Webber, nephew of Joseph L. Hudson. We also put the Downton microscope on an ultra-plush master suite designed by a local interior designer. And do browse our Downton gallery of goods, if you’re looking to create your own manor house looks.

Downton Design 101: Downton Abbey depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era around 1912 and beyond. The grandeur and opulence of interior design in homes from this era represented wealth and status. Think rich colors, brighter rooms than in the past, wood paneling, and lots of stone. You can tour the setting of Downton Abbey at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England. Visit highclerecastle.co.uk. Season 4 begins at 9 p.m. Jan. 5 in metro Detroit on WTVS Detroit Public Television.

 

DOWNTON-INSPIRED

Designs and appointments with early 20th-century style — from bed linens to bath tiles — are reminiscent of the Abbey set

Minimalism and contemporary design are great, but for those who prefer lush details, floral patterns and colors, and castle-like luxe, it’s here for the taking. Two area designers share their inspirations for creating Downton-like spaces.

1. Jane Synnestvedt

WHO: Synnestvedt is owner of the 10-year-old, Birmingham-based Jane S. Synnestvedt Interior Design, (248) 561-9309, janesynnestvedt.com.

 

BEDDING: Sophia bed linens in Capri by SDH. Starts at $2,354, Cristions Fine Linen & Down, Birmingham, 248-723-3337.

TUCKED IN: Trousdale bed II, $16,500, Phyllis Morris Originals, phyllismorris.com.

PATTERN: Lapchi, Ri rug in fir green. The Ghiordes Knot, Michigan Design Center, Troy. TEXTURE:  Schumacher’s Rapture in sand. Michigan Design Center, Troy. GLIMMER:  Schumacher’s Glimmer in bronze. Michigan Design Center, Troy.

 

TABLE IT:  Nightstand, $3,795, Phyllis Morris Originals, phyllismorris.com.

INSPIRATION FOR A MASTER SUITE: “My client wanted a warm home environment with all the craftsmanship and ornamentation of an Old World estate,” interior designer Jane Synnestvedt says.

UNDERFOOT: Lapchi, Ri handwoven in Nepal 100-knot, 35 percent silk in light fir green, price available upon request. The Ghiordes Knot, Michigan Design Center, Troy, michigandesign.com. “The rugs are handmade in Nepal,” Synnestvedt says, “using only the traditional materials of silk and wool, which are colored using plant-based dyes — something that’s been done for hundreds of years.”

FABRIC FINERY: “Schumacher fabrics are famous for their quality and historic reproduction textiles.” Synnestvedt went with Rapture in sand, by Celerie Kemble; Glimmer in bronze, and Bristol Weave in espresso for fabric. Trim: Whitfield Braid in bronze. Prices vary. All from Michigan Design Center.

SUITE DREAMS: “The bedding should reflect the style of the space.”

SLEEP TIGHT: “My clients had seen some pieces in their travels, including furniture — the bed and nightstand became a couple of focus points for determining our design style,” she says.

 

 

2. Elisabeth Meda

WHO: Meda is an established 25-year design veteran who runs Elisabeth Meda Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Woods, (313) 640-9811.

PAMPER: Dusting brush with white bristles, $46, by Lady Primrose, from A Touch of Lace, Bloomfield Hills, atouchoflace.com. SPRINKLE: Dusting silk shaker, $42, by Lady Primrose, from A Touch of Lace, Bloomfield Hills, atouchoflace.com. BATHE: Arielle urn with bath salts, $242, by Lady Primrose, from A Touch of Lace, Bloomfield Hills, atouchoflace.com.

 

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ELEGANT LIGHTING: Says Elisabeth Meda: “Vaughan’s pieces are timeless.” Courcelles Giltwood chandelier, Vaughan Designs, vaughandesigns.com.

COLOR CUE:  Benjamin Moore #925 Ivory White, benjaminmoore.com for local retailer.

INSPIRATION FOR A SHOW HOUSE BATHROOM: “There is a resurgence of clients wanting sophisticated but functional bathrooms,” Meda says. “More and  more, we are seeing them as retreats with a spa-like quality.”  The 2014 Show House is open May 3-18; info: jldetroit.org.

STORIED TILE: Mary Chase Stratton and her artists at Pewabic Pottery created the existing Pewabic tile, shown in this most recent Junior League of Detroit Show House (bathroom interior design by Elisabeth Meda), originally built in the 1920s.

PLAIN SINK: “Clean lines in design,” Elisabeth Meda says of 1920s-style sink appeal. “Feminine and fussy” should be avoided.

IF WALLS COULD TALK:  “A soft white wall paint provides a contrast between the turquoise tile and the walls.”

DESIGN DETAILS: “Crystal and sterling silver help to soften the space.”

 

TILE STYLE: Interior designer Meda says close tile matches to the original Pewabic Pottery creations in her Show House bathroom, far left, could include Fire and Earth, in blue/green/silver/gold; Sicis, in waterfall; and Ananas blend, at left. Ann Sacks Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy.

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SIMPLE FUNCTIONALITY: Kallista, Tuxedo by Barbara Barry basin faucet set, starts at $1,095, Ann Sacks Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy.

ON A PEDASTAL: “More masculine and/or transitional than feminine.” Kallista, Tuxedo by Barbara Barry pedestal sink, starts at $1,295, Ann Sacks Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy. “The fixtures that were used in bathrooms in the 1920s were more functional.”

 

ALL MANOR OF DOWNTON

Channel the Abbey with scents of lavender and currant, high tea and historic details

TEA SET: Enjoy an English high tea (or even coffee) with the silver-plated Reed & Barton Loveland Rose five-piece tea set. Price upon request, LaLonde Jewelers & Gemologists, Grosse Pointe Farms, lalondejewelers.com.

MASTERPIECE ART: While women of Lady Mary’s stature inherited their art, an archival-quality print Flowers in a Glass Vase by Rachel Ruysch, 1704 (original at the Detroit Institute of Arts), is a fine stand-in. $29, 1000museums.com. Or pick up a postcard and a poster of the Ruysch image at the DIA gift shop. $0.75, $12.95, DIA, Detroit, dia.org.

LAUNDRY FRAGRANCE: Your fine linens can be infused with the essence of lavender, which grows abundantly in Highclere’s gardens, with Good Home Co.’s Lavender Laundry Fragrance. $25, Union General, Clarkston, 248-620-3800.

NIVEN MORGAN CANDLE: Envision yourself in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen with this English currant-scented candle from Niven Morgan London. $32, Talulah Belle, Rochester, talulahbelleboutique.com.

WHERE TO FIND

Click on any city name to reveal newsstand locations.Barnes & Noble3120 Fairlane Dr, Allen Park, MI 48101    3235 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, MI 48104    4370 MIller Rd, Flint, MI 48507    9605 Green Oak Village, Green Oak Township, MI 48116    5132 W Saginaw Hwy Ste 245, Lansing, MI 48917    17111 Haggerty Rd, Northville, MI 48168    2800 S Rochester Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48307    200 N Adams Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 4830914165 Hall Rd, Shelby Township, MI 48315    396 John R Rd, Troy, MI 48083    Books A Million31150 Southfield Rd, Franklin, MI 480252105 Levis Commons Blvd, Perrysburg, Oh 435512612 Crossing Cir, Traverse City, MI 49684Beuches Food WorldBueches Food World, 300 W Main St, Flushing, MI 48433Busch9870 E Grand River Rd , Brighton , MI 48116225 Canton Center Rd , Canton, MI 481887000 Dexter Arbor Rd , Dexter , MI 4813041840 W 10 MIle, Novi, MI 483753188 Walton Blvd, Rochester Hills , MI 4830922385 Pontiac , South Lyons , MI 4817833300 W 14 MIle, W Bloomfield, MI 4832224445 Drake Rd, Farmington Hills , MI 4833515185 N Sheldon Rd , Plymouth , MI 48170Chicago-Main Newsstand860 Chicago At Main, Evanston, Il 60202CVS Pharmacy5449 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 481032228 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 481033535 Plymouth Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 481051715 Coolidge Hwy, Berkley, MI 480726510 Telegraph Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 483014101 Telegraph Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302935 S Main St, Chelsea, MI 4811840925 Garfield Rd, Clinton Township, MI 48038350 E Warren Ave, Detroit, MI 4820115455 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 482053200 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 4820718600 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 4822118500 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 4822329425 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington, MI 48334539 E 9 MIle Rd, Ferndale, MI 4822017120 Kercheval Ave, Grosse Pointe, MI 4823037340 5 MIle Rd, Livonia, MI 48154133 E Dunlap St, Northville, MI 4816723001 Coolidge Hwy, Oak Park, MI 4823740900 Ann Arbor Rd E, Plymouth, MI 481701400 S Sheldon Rd, Plymouth, MI 481704816 N Adams Rd, Rochester, MI 4830630900 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI 4807323881 Greenfield Rd, Southfield, MI 4807518130 W 10 MIle Rd, Southfield, MI 4807521911 W 11 MIle Rd, Southfield, MI 4807611125 Allen Rd, Southgate, MI 48195125 E Long Lake Rd, Troy, MI 480854295 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 483231750 S Wayne Rd, Westland, MI 48186Holiday Market1203 S Main Street, Royal Oak, MI 48067Kroger3600 W Maple Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 483014099 Telegraph Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 483028999 Macomb St, Grosse Ile, MI 4813820422 Mack Ave, Grosse Pointe, MI 482364888 N Adams Rd, Rochester, MI 4830665 S Livernois Rd, Rochester, MI 483072200 E 12 MIle Rd, Royal Oak, MI 480677644 26 MIle Rd, Shelby Township, MI 4831614945 23 MIle Rd, Utica, MI 4831510951 Highland Rd, White Lake, MI 483862051 18 MIle Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 4831431200 Schoenherr R, Warren, MI 480922600 Pointe Tremble Rd, Algonac, MI 48001400 S Maple Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 481033615 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 481049968 E Grand River Ave, Brighton, MI 481161905 N Canton Center Rd, Canton, MI 4818745540 MIchigan Ave, Canton, MI 481885990 Sashabaw Rd, Clarkston, MI 483466625 Dixie Hwy, Clarkston, MI 483469741 Dixie Hwy, Clarkston, MI 4834841941 Garfield Rd, Clinton Township, MI 480382905 Union Lake Rd, Commerce Township, MI 4838223303 MIchigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 4812415255 MIchigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 4812637550 W 12 MIle Rd, Farmington, MI 483318920 W 8 MIle Rd, Ferndale, MI 4822023849 West Rd, Flat Rock, MI 481343838 Richfield Rd, Flint, MI 485065249 Corunna Rd, Flint, MI 4853220903 Harper Ave, Harper Woods, MI 4822526300 Crocker Blvd, Harrison Township, MI 4804523101 John R Rd, Hazel Park, MI 480301100 W Argyle St, Jackson, MI 492023097 S Baldwin Rd, Lake Orion, MI 48359460 N Lapeer Rd, Lake Orion, MI 4836233523 8 MIle Rd, Livonia, MI 4815230935 5 MIle Rd, Livonia, MI 48154670 Highland Ave, MIlford, MI 483817188 N Saginaw Rd, Mount Morris, MI 4845835000 23 MIle Rd, New Baltimore, MI 48047425 N Center St, Northville, MI 4816717447 Haggerty Rd, Northville, MI 4816847650 Grand River Ave, Novi, MI 483744884 Marsh Rd, Okemos, MI 4886444525 Ann Arbor Rd W, Plymouth, MI 481702907 Krafft Rd, Port Huron, MI 480601215 24Th St, Port Huron, MI 4806020891 E 13 MIle Rd, Roseville, MI 4806630851 Gratiot Ave, Roseville, MI 4806623191 Marter Rd, Saint Clair Shores, MI 4808051847 10 MIle Rd, South Lyon, MI 4817819855 W 12 MIle Rd, Southfield, MI 480767084 MIller Rd, Swartz Creek, MI 484737000 Monroe Blvd, Taylor, MI 4818020645 Gibraltar Rd, Trenton, MI 481831237 Coolidge Hwy, Troy, MI 4808431 E Long Lake Rd, Troy, MI 480982105 South Blvd W, Troy, MI 480982058 25 MIle Rd, Utica, MI 4831639950 W 14 MIle Rd, Walled Lake, MI 4839047060 W Pontiac Trl, Walled Lake, MI 4839026233 Hoover Rd, Warren, MI 4808928250 Dequindre Rd, Warren, MI 4809264660 Van Dyke Rd, Washington, MI 480955111 Highland Rd, Waterford, MI 483274395 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 4832336430 Ford Rd, Westland, MI 481857350 N MIddlebelt Rd, Westland, MI 48185200 S Merriman Rd, Westland, MI 481863200 Carpenter Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 481972010 Whittaker Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197Meijer3565 Fairlane Dr, Allen Park, MI 481013145 Ann Arbor Saline Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 481035645 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103800 Brown Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 483269701 Belleville Rd, Belleville, MI 481119515 Birch Run Rd, Birch Run, MI 484158650 W Grand River Ave, Brighton, MI 481162333 S Center Rd Ste G, Burton, MI 4851940445 S Groesbeck Hwy, Clinton Township, MI 4803621431 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 4821926100 Vreeland Rd, Flat Rock, MI 481342474 W Hill Rd, Flint, MI 485074775 24Th Ave, Fort Gratiot, MI 4805934835 Utica Rd, Fraser, MI 480262160 Hartland Rd, Hartland, MI 483531301 W 8 MIle Rd, Highland Park, MI 482033883 E Grand River Ave, Howell, MI 488432777 Airport Rd, Jackson, MI 492021555 DeMIlle Rd, Lapeer, MI 484463710 Dix Hwy, Lincoln Park, MI 4814613000 MIddlebelt Rd, Livonia, MI 481501005 E 13 MIle Rd, Madison Heights, MI 480711391 Conant St, Maumee, Oh 435372253 N Richmond Rd, Mchenry, Il 600501700 N Telegraph Rd, Monroe, MI 481624222 Charlestown Rd, New Albany, In 4715036865 26 MIle Rd, New Haven, MI 4804820401 Haggerty Rd, Northville, MI 481672055 W Grand River Ave, Okemos, MI 48864900 N Lapeer Rd, Oxford, MI 483713175 S Rochester Rd, Rochester, MI 483073610 Marketplace Cir, Rochester, MI 483095150 Coolidge Hwy, Royal Oak, MI 4807328800 Telegraph Rd, Southfield, MI 4803416300 Fort St, Southgate, MI 4819514640 Pardee Rd, Taylor, MI 481807240 W Central Ave, Toledo, Oh 4361722600 Allen Rd, Trenton, MI 4818315055 Hall Rd, Utica, MI 4831525225 Schoenherr Rd, Warren, MI 4808929505 Mound Rd, Warren, MI 480928401 26 MIle Rd, Washington, MI 480944200 Highland Rd, Waterford, MI 4832837201 Warren Rd, Westland, MI 481856001 Highland Rd, White Lake, MI 4838349900 Grand River Ave, Wixom, MI 483933825 Carpenter Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197746 E 16Th St, Holland, MI 49423 Parad Dtw 185 BK ND16 Herit 15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174Paradies Dtw 1149 NS USA 15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 1167 NS MA66 CNBC15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 1171 NS MA5 CNBCc15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 1175 NS MA55 FORB15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 1179 TODAY MB15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 164 NS MA29 Nyt15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 178 NS ECON15474 Pine Dr, Romulus, MI 48174 Paradies Dtw 186 BK ND8 HER15474 Pine Drive, Romulus, MI 48174 Plum Market3675 W Maple Rd , Bloomfield Township, MI 483016565 Orchard Lake Rd, W Bloomfield, MI 48322 Surplus Stock Account2571 Saradan Drive, Jackson, MI 49202 Target15901 Ford Rd, Dearborn, MI 481264300 24Th Ave, Fort Gratiot, MI 48059 Walgreens3255 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 4810434300 S Woodward Ave, Birmingham, MI 480096331 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 4820724140 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington, MI 4833631100 Groesbeck Hwy, Fraser, MI 4802633333 6 MIle Rd, Livonia, MI 4815229200 6 MIle Rd, Livonia, MI 4815217001 Newburgh Rd, Livonia, MI 4815447100 Hayes Rd, Macomb, MI 480441490 N Rochester Rd, Rochester, MI 483072050 S Rochester Rd, Rochester, MI 483072985 Crooks Rd, Rochester, MI 483091815 Rochester Rd, Royal Oak, MI 4807325015 Little Mack Ave, Saint Clair Shores, MI 4808032201 Harper Ave, Saint Clair Shores, MI 4808229030 Northwestern Hwy, Southfield, MI 480347380 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 483222170 Washtenaw Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Whole Foods2100 E Maple Ave, Birmingham , MI 48009115 Mack Ave, Detroit MI, MI 482012918 Walton Blvd, Rochester Hills , MI 483097350 Orchard Lake Rd, W Bloomfield, MI 48322

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HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT BOOK: Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton — the bible for a Downton-era home of distinction. $57.59, barnesandnoble.com.

 WINGED SEATING: Visitors almost always flock to a statement-making wing chair. The Catania style from Arhaus showcases luxe fabric and details. $1,699, arhaus.com.

COPPER PANS: These essential tools are often seen downstairs at Downton. Mauviel M’héritage seven-piece set, $1,614.95, metro-area stores, surlatable.com.

REGAL RED CARPET: Bloomsburg’s classic patterns abound. Bitterman Crimson, red.PCL Carpets, Brighton, price available upon request. 810-333-1928, bloomsburgcarpet.com.

HUNTER GREEN CARPET: Bloomsburg’s Granoble/hunter green bring elements from royal residences into your home. PCL Carpets, Brighton, price available upon request. 810-333-1928, bloomsburgcarpet.com.

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