Design & Décor, Living with Style, Travel Notes

Signatures of London

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London in late April and early May was particularly merry this year. The town was all decked out tastefully for the Coronation of King Charles III, to include a low key hustle and bustle of which we were very happy to be a part.

Perfect weather also helped, especially when picture-taking is such a priority for this visitor. In looking over my images again this week, I was inspired by all the new subjects that were hiding amongst them…representing many serendipitous moments, which added a wonderful luster to my memories. And so, in no particular order, here are some of the sights that piqued my interest and provided views and subjects not seen on past visits…or now being seen in a new light.

Creamy facades of townhouses overlooking Queen Mary’s Garden in Regent’s Park.

The doors of Mayfair…handsome, stately, and always picture-worthy.

London’s iconic red phone booths, while officiallly “decommissioned,”are still part of the city’s landscape, charming visitors and residents alike (and perhaps inspiring the color for the corner planter boxes).

Old, handmade brick with its incomparable patina.

The very welcome outside cafes (this next to Mercato Market, another stop for the curious foodie) as the season warms up.

A view from a high floor at Selfridges, capturing London’s black cabs, coronation banners, and varied intriguing architecture.

A collection of my favorite flowers (ranunculus) on the bar as a prelude to a simply exquisite lunch at “Spring,” located at Somerset House.

A Kensington Street hotel’s welcome attention to details provides enjoyment for passersby.

Grand and graceful Spencer House (also the Feature image), an eighteenth century aristocratic palace overlooking Green Park. The family home until 1926 of Princess Diana’s forebears, the leasehold on this breathtaking property was acquired in 1982 by Lord Jacob Rothschild who restored the interiors and acquired (or had reproduced) many of the former artwork and furnishings over a ten year period. If you’re wondering why you’ve perhaps never seen this property, it might well be because it is only open on Sundays.

What would London be without its pubs, which add their own brand of architectural interest.

The stunning indigo blue staircase at the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House.

On my list for a return visit…the divinely smart, small and cozy bar at the Milestone Hotel (a favorite of Princes William and Harry as young men-about-town).

Isn’t this what one might expect at Hampton Court? An idea that has great possibilities for adding a bit of wit (and chic) to a gone-by espalier. Go for the gold, I say…

Sobering, inspiring, thought-provoking…the words of Winston Churchill recorded on a wall at the Churchill War Rooms. It’s difficult to pull yourself away…

Thank you for joining me on this sentimental journey, with images that remind me yet again of why I yearn to return to England… but in the meantime, I shall cherish the memories.

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “Signatures of London

  1. Bettie, your perfect “dead eye for detail” never ceases to impress me. The colors of the brick repeated by those corner red planters and iconic phone booths made me smile. Espalier is always top of my list of intriguing plant designs and the bold, gold designs complimenting an entryway at Hampton Gardens makes me pause to raise a glass to it and you!

  2. stunning photography,,,you have an artistic eye with your camera. thanks for sharing!.

  3. Thanks for sharing such stunning pictures. Yes, Mayfair is Classic Beauty! If you can’t build with handmade brick the only brick that looks good is the tumbled brick to me…

  4. Trust your detailing eyes to catch beauty I had not focussed on in my teen years of living in London….The variegated pointed roof details as seen from Selfridges, the amazing Indigo stairs banister, the gilded espalier and so much more. Thank you for the beauty you share.

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