For the millions of Downton Abbey fans around the world, especially for design and architecture enthusiasts – come take a tour of Downton Abbey with Holly Holden.
The Jacobean country house in England, the setting for the acclaimed Downton Abbey public television series, is one of the most famous masterpiece homes in the world.
Interior Designer Holly Holden, author of The Pretty and Proper Living Room, achieved so much more than just admiring Highclere Castle for its breathtaking decor.
She taped the first episode of her new PBS Series, You are Cordially Invited there earlier this year, and was nominated for an Emmy Award this summer for her role as producer and host.
Here is Holly at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Awards ceremony in Boston this June:
Holly, who was featured in a popular Hadley Court blog last year, “Graceful, Genteel and Timeless: The Pretty and Proper Living Room,” was nominated as a producer in the Informational Category.
Below, Holly is shown with her daughter, Alexandra Terhalle, Assistant Producer of the Highclere episode of You Are Cordially Invited at the Emmy Awards Ceremony, Boston/New England Chapter:
During the taping of the PBS episode, Holly is joined by current Highclere resident Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the Eighth Countess of Carnarvon, and best-selling author of “At Home at Highclere: Entertaining at the Real Downton Abbey.”
“I had the pleasure of horseback riding with Lady Carnarvon as we explored the stunning 5,000-acre parkland designed by the renowned landscape architect, Capability Brown,” Holly recounts.
“We returned to have tea in the music room and toured several of the rooms that Downton Abbey fans would easily recognize. We even had a nice chat in the morning sitting room, which has not been seen on television before.”
Holly’s PBS Series, You Are Cordially Invited is about masterpiece, privately-owned and lived-in houses in England with stellar interior design and artwork.
The captivating series takes an engaging approach. “These are lively tours with the owners of the homes, and together we view decorative details, art, and learn some elegant entertaining traditions,” Holly said.
Above, Holly and Lady Carnarvon stand in front of a portrait of Lady Catherine of Downton Abbey fame.
In addition to Highclere Castle, Holly chose another stunning residence, Blenheim Palace, as the setting for a second episode of You Are Cordially Invited.
Other than Buckingham Palace in London, “Blenheim is the largest privately owned palace in the world, and was built by the Queen as a Baroque-style monument and private home, completed in 1722 for the first Duke of Marlborough,” Holly said, adding, “It is a World Heritage Site, and its grandeur is magnificent!“
Above, Holly stands in front of Blenheim Palace, setting for an episode of her PBS series You Are Cordially Invited, in which she tours the home with Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, a world-renowned interior designer specializing in classic design. Below are the imposing and exquisite gates of the palace.
At Blenheim Palace, Holly says, “I was enamored with how inviting the rooms were, while formal at the same time.
There were mementos everywhere, which tell the grand story of all of the family inhabitants through the years.
This, to me, is what makes a house a home — when it tells a story through layers of collections and personal details!”
While Holly will soon tape a new episode of You Are Cordially Invited, and has a goal to take home the Emmy next year, she and her daughter-in-law, NYC interior designer Karen Holden, are beginning a new adventure on YouTube, the Holly Holden Design Channel.
On the channel, she just posted a behind the scenes look at the Emmy Ceremony she and her family attended, as well as behind-the-scenes footage from High Clere Castle.
Filmed at her historic, Federal-style home, Fox Hall, in Farmington, Ct., new episodes air every Thursday. Holly and Karen share their experience and timeless advice on classic interior design, elegant entertaining and gracious living.
Photos courtesy of Holly Holden, with photo credits to: Dean Greenblatt and Deb Key.
Kim Darden Shaver
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Editor In Chief
Leslie Hendrix Wood Interiors
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.