Today I want to share with you one of the most beautiful places in the world – Leeds Castle. I visited England in February of this year, and touring this castle was on my must-do list.
Leeds Castle has been called the Ladies’ Castle because it was bestowed upon queens as gifts from kings. It is only fitting that its last private owner was a woman – the American heiress, Lady Baillie. She died in the mid-1970’s. Lady Baillie lived here for half a century, and the castle is now owned by the Leeds Foundation and is open for tours, events, and weddings.
|Lady Baillie collected all kinds of birds and particularly loved swans, which you will still find in the moat and all over the grounds of Leeds Castle. This one walked right up to me!|
|The details here are fantastic. Check out this leaderhead with the swan motif, pre-Gloria Vanderbilt jeans!|
|If you think of what it would be like living in a true castle, words like dark and dank might come to mind. Not so in Leeds Castle. The castle walls are mainly white-washed and rooms are light-filled.|
I’ve always had a house-fantasy about having a courtyard. Of course, Leeds Castle has such a courtyard. And these windows are divine.
|Much of the wood in the castle are also bleached or white-washed. The contrast is lovely with the dark wood floors and iron light fixtures.|
Lady Baillie spent tons of money on restoring the 12th century castle in the style of a French Gothic fantasy. Her taste was exquisite.
|Lady Baillie collected Audubon prints and lined the private bedroom hallways with them. I heart those wooden shutters!!!|
|Devoted readers will recall how much I love vintage portraits. When I saw this stunning portrait of Lady Baillie and her daughters in the billards room, I about had a fit. It is so fabulous, so glam, so so so. I have not yet been able to find a print of it, but I want one BADLY. I have a post card of it tucked in the frame of a mirror in my living room, but it’s just not enough!!!! Look at the colors, the dresses, and it’s set right here in Leeds Castle. Sigh.|
I took so many pictures while I was there, I can’t fit it in one post. So much to see, so little time! Anyway, now that I’ve teased you with the exterior and the hallways, it’s only fair to show you Lady Baillie’s suite of rooms. Below is the dressing room.
|The dressing room isn’t a huge room, but it’s simply lovely. Many of her vintage shoes are still here to get a peek at!|
|Her modern bathroom off the dressing room has an Art Deco feel. It is so fabulous – it’s hard to believe it was created almost a hundred years ago!|
Below is the stunning panelled bedroom once occupied by Lady Baillie.
|Many of Lady Baillie’s clothes and shoes are kept at Leeds Castle so that visitors can better get a feel for how she lived and what she wore. Gosh, this post is making me want to go back there.|
Stay tuned for lots more rooms of Leeds Castle in Part II of this blogpost. Don’t think you can’t find inspiration in over-the-top homes. No, very few of us will ever live in a castle – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have use inspiration like this to fashion a romantic arch in a hallway, incorporate some deco light sconces, or use a flea market metal knight in shining armor to spice up our interiors!