Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Home, Sweet Victorian Home!

Welcome Home!

Remember the book I have been reading lately, Les Maisons Romantiques d'Angleterre? Well, please, allow me to now draw a link between my love for the English country house and my Victorian apartment. Since I moved in this 1895 Victorian apartment with my husband, I have felt like fulfilling one of my teenage dreams, i.e live in an old Victorian house or Country Cottage. My Anglomania started at the age of 12, when I started to learn Shakespeare's language at school. My first trip to England was planned at the age of 15 with the help of my parents and school. I was blessed with a penfriend whose parents lived in a beautiful cottage in Chesham Bois, Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
British Daimler Cars...

Let me tell you that, among many other oddities ( dinner at 6PM, tango instead of water and a super cold house), I was very much impressed by their friendly attitude towards me. I raved at other things too, such as their car, a Daimler, with the driver sitting on the wrong side (of course), the cascade of cakes that we would have for high tea, and...the elegant pulls in the bathroom, along with the pine wood doors and their glass knobs. I loved it all. Oh, and it was even more incredible at weekends! Imagine, I would wake up with the noise of the horses' hooves on the road, as the local gentry boys and girls would ride their horses for practice. Later on, I naturally chose to study History of Art & English literature, linguistics and civilisations at College.
English countryside
My ideal of the beauty of the English countryside stems from that early encounter with the hilly landscapes immortalised by Gainsborough, Turner, and Constable (to name but a few), and the generations of stories and folk tales told on winter evenings around England's rural firesides, with or without any ghosts involved (with, preferably!).
Chatsworth House

But the charm of rural England may also have touched me for the first time otherwise and more delicately, one day when I found myself staring at Chatsworth house, appearing gracefully like a golden gem in the middle of its broad park; or again, when I experienced the visual shock of a simple cottage with an apparently chaotic front garden foaming with roses, and a crooked thatched roof, all in perfect harmony with the surroundings, be it either in Henley-on Thames, Sonning-on-Thames, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, Ely or even Hay-on Wye.
I remember standing in awe when I first saw Shakespeare's wife's cottage: Anne Hathaway's Cottage (1460s) in Shottery, a hamlet within the parish of Stratford.

The French Horn (hotel), Sonning on Thames.

I don't really know...I fell in love with the English countryside when I was 15, and my love has never stopped since then! Most probably, because I am a country girl myself, and in England above all other places, that love of the countryside remains a potent, living force.
Anyways, here I am. In a Victorian apartment in Toronto, Canada. And I can't get enough of the crystal glass doorknobs, the wooden frames and windowsills, the oldy-worldy radiators, the stained-glass windows, etc. - all that (and more, obviously) makes this extravagant décor stand out as, currently, my number one romantic Victorian house fantasy!

Stained-glass window above the fireplace

In the living room, reflections in the framed fabric (Japanese design, Echino- Bird to Hang- by Etsuko Furuya)

The rectory red paint in the hallway creates an atmosphere of secrecy and makes the hallway look a mile long!
Photo by Cédric Roulliat

In the kitchen: old English toffee's tin box, on top of tea towels and napkins

New on our kitchen wall: the story of Christine & Marco's wedding as told in 15 postcards, all sent by Françoise, the one and only .

The old battered wooden windowsill. In the kitchen.

The remains of the day...The old original bathtub, ruling supreme in the bathroom.

Narcissus bulbs, intertwined in a lovers' embrace, for the season to bloom in our lovebirds' nest!

Yes, you got the message home - I love our place!


Zuly said...

My dearest Christine I love reading your writings and love how you count your blessings!
All your dreams are always going to come true. You are such a passionate lady.
Thank you for sharing with all of us.



The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Dear Christine,
I was given an award by Mimi Bleu at http://bonjourromance.blogspot.com/2009/11/merci-madame-sucre.html and I’m to past it on to 7 others. Now, I’ve chosen you as one of my 7 but if your blog is award free or you choose not to participate, no worries - just my way of saying I enjoy your blog! If you do decide to partake I ask that you please let me know which image on your blog best represent what you would like to convey to anyone seeing it for the first time. I will be including the image along with a link to your blog in a post that will be published Friday December 4th.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.



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