British Sweep

The Oscars are always fodder for fashion critics. There will be many reviews with favorites and pans. I thought several actresses looked beautiful but I must mention Cate Blanchett in particular. (I ideally wanted to mention a British actress but Australia was once part of the Empire after all). She looked stunning in her lavender Givenchy – it was both tasteful and elegant, yet fashion forward. I also loved her hair – simple and chic.

photos: Getty Images

This was not a dress many could wear, and I must admit, I didn’t love the front circular panel at first, but it grew on me and I think the whole effect with the pleating and beading was just lovely.

But I couldn’t just leave it at that. We must also honor the British in terms of decor. This London town house belongs to the founder of Chelsea Textiles, Mona Perlhagen. Over the course of 14 years and separate purchases, she and her husband managed to acquire the entire house and gradually set to put it together into the beautiful home it is today.

The drawing room’s wall are painted with trompe-l’oeil panelling. The needlepoint cushions are of course by Chelsea Textiles.

The collection of walking sticks speaks to one of the themes of the house – dogs.

The other theme is of course needlework, represented here by this 18th century embroidered panel also in the drawing room.

In this additional shot of the drawing room, you can better see the incredible cornice frieze of grapes which Perlhagen painstakingly had restored.

Perlhagen is married to a Swede, and much of the furnishing is Gustavian. The dining room features a series of 18th century portraits of Swedish monarchs.

Also in the dining room, to the right of the door, you can see a pair of framed needlepoint seat covers.

I love this classic bedroom with bedcovers and hangings by Chelsea Textiles (of course).

The wardrobe is charming with its chicken wire backed by the same “Scattered Flowers” Chelsea Textiles fabric as on the bed hangings.

I wish I could see the whole bath to see how the shower was handled (I’m hoping there is one – I couldn’t survive with just a tub!)

Perlhagen’s daughter’s room used “Faded Red Wallflowers”. I love how she mixed the pale wood of the wardrobe with the heavier tonality of those majestic beds. I’m wondering that fabric is above the painting in the reflection of the wardrobe mirror.

So as we end yet another Oscar season, let us salute the Brits for their contributions to the film industry this year. And we can also give them a nod for interiors and style!

photos by Tim Clinch


41 thoughts on “British Sweep

  1. My Lord, the size and look of that HUGE high boy in the bedroom. What a piece!

    I totally agree on the Cate Blanchette gown…she just knows what works for her…Tilda Swinton is another favorite who tasks some risks.

    Good show, eh? I can’t wait to watch the Fashion Police tonight!

  2. Cate’s dress was brilliant and what a stunning home.
    I admire your posts so much for all the history and attention to detail.

  3. Bravo to Cate for being bold and daring in her choice of Givenchy – though the front did take some getting used to, the details and workmanship that went into that gown are stunning! Much like the artistic touches in this lovely British home. Happy Monday, Q!

  4. I like Cate’s dress. It is different and very elegant. She is one classy lady. No need for cleavage to fall out; she’s elegant.
    Your history is interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I came to know the Biedermeier style after Empire, and Gustavian after Biedermeier, which is the order in which I suppose they actually developed, and I find the Gustavian most charming and “livable.” What lovely rooms!

  6. Cate Blanchett always looks so amazing but I have to be honest here, I’m not a fan of that dress. The embroidery looks to heavy for her delicate features and that circle in the middle reminds me of a bullseye. Love the home….stunning!

  7. Cate was definitely the best dressed as she looked absolutely stunning! Us Aussies syill feel some stong ties to Britain, so you can say she looked best for the Empire!

  8. Cate’s dress was magnificent – a perfect balance to her simple, chic haircut and style! What an elegant and warm townhouse. I particularly love the ‘square-shaped’ Swedish monarchy portraits! I have discovered many Chelsea Textile pieces I love through decorator extraordinaire, Tom Scheerer.

  9. Great pos, Q!

    You’re right about Cate’s dress. I thought it was very fashion forward and not for everyone indeed. But she’s so pretty that anything she wears looks great on her.

    Have a blessed week!


    Luciane at

  10. I felt the same way about Kate’s dress. That circular bit threw me in the beginning, but the dress grew on me — it looked better on stage than the red carpet. Loved the hair, too. AND this townhouse. I’d love to take a spot of tea there!
    Happy Monday!

  11. I missed the red carpet so saw her dress when she stepped out on stage, I wasn’t sure about the circle but by the time she was finished I was smitten. Liked the fresh look of her face , understated earrings and simple hair to go with such a powerful and detailed dress. yes, very nice.
    PS – didn’t get to see the back before, also nice.

  12. This is such delightful eye candy on a Monday morning, thank you! We both thought Cate was stunning, the gown and hair and makeup all were perfect for her. And the shots inside the house — beautiful.

    Sending you wishes for a wonderful week,

  13. have loved Chelsea Textiles since I first discovered them 12 years ago…so gorgeous and the craftsmanship is superb….beautiful home…the pics are divine…

  14. I think 2011 is definitely the year of the Brits — especially with a Royal Wedding just 2 months away!

    And, I must admit, I was on the side of the fence that didn’t love Cate’s dress. She looked beautiful, hair/makeup perfection…but the front panel was just too much for me. But, she is one of the most talked about on the Red Carpet…so all in all a huge success!

  15. It seemed everyone who arrived on stage did, indeed, speak the Queen’s english. Well deserved I must say. I thought the red gowns ruled the evening if only because they stood out beautifully. Amazing what these people did in putting this beautiful home back together again…absolutely stunning. xx’s

  16. Oh my, I tried to stay up to at least watch a bit of red carpet coverage but in France it comes on far too late! But I will agree with you about Cate Blanchett–her risk taking just looked lovely because she wore it so elegantly. No one needs to see another column gown! I thought that the young girl from “True Grit” looked adorable and age appropriate–how refreshing to see…

  17. I always love Cate’s fashion choices–always so difficult to wear and she pulls it off every time. The interior images are beautiful as well. Hope you are having a happy Monday!

    xo Mary Jo

  18. I agree Cate is the only one who could have pulled off that dramatic gown! When I first saw her I didn’t like it at all, but somehow the more I saw it the more I liked it, and I must admit even though I wasn’t a fan of the dress at first I still immediately thought that she looked gorgeous which is really a testament to how beautiful Cate is and how well she carries herself. And her haircut makes me miss my five minutes of short hair in college, it looks fantastic on her!

  19. My uncle had a couple of beds just like those in storage. They belonged to my grandmother. My mother and her sister slept in them and they are on their way to Lexington from Texas. Thank you for bringing us this absolutely elegant home. My goodness, the layers and layers have so many stories to tell don’t they! I hope the beds will be as happy in our abode!
    Yes it was an elegant evening and great to watch from beginning to end!
    The young hosts were a breath of fresh air. I also loved Nicole Kidman in her couture Dior! Hollywood glamour is wonderful when it’s done with great class & style!
    Before I close….We would LOVE to have Charlie join us over at Gracie’s page!

  20. Loved Cate Blanchette’s dress. I was like you . Kind of had to get used to that circular front t and the square cap sleeves. But the more I looked at her I just thought. you are gorgeous and so is that dress. Loving these images. Not a thing to criticize.

  21. Thank you girl for your comment. I really appreciate your stopping by, you’re more than welcome anytime. (-:
    By the way wonderful post this home is just marvelous, bright and sophisticated, great post as usual. Except I don’t agree with you on Cate’s dress?

  22. I was drawn to the ethereal quality of Halle Berry’s dress. Anne Hathaway always catches my eye because she seems so iconic of “the American girl”. I like all of the individual pieces of Kate Blanchett’s dress but not so much the overall effect.

    As far as the townhouse. Love it. the walking canes are wonderful and the photography caught their whimsy. I’ve always wanted a room with twin beds so I like that photo very much.

  23. I loved Cate’s hair and especially the back of her dress. Lovely home as well. True confession: I skipped the Oscars because I am addicted to Big Love. Ssh, don’t tell. :-)

  24. Hi Thank you so much for your comment. I went to a presentation at the Chelsea Editions showroom here in Seattle last week and thoroughly enjoyed learning the history behind this company. Their fabrics are a pleasure to work with and the lampshades I make with them do make a statement!

  25. Gorgeous post, as always!
    I’m actually thinking of copying
    Cate’s hair style; think she’ll mind??
    I’m an Anglophile through and through,
    so found this VERY enjoyable ~ thanks!
    xx Suzanne

  26. The Perlhagen home is truly beautiful, not that I would expect anything less as I am a fan of Chelsea Textiles. As for the dress, I can appreciate the artistic talent and the fashion statement.

  27. I’m loving the walking sticks! They add so much character! I also thought that this dress was really pretty and that most people wouldn’t be able to pull it off. I think, as always, Halle Berry was perfection.

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