living in: atonement


No movie in recent memory has captured English wartime romance quite as well as Atonement. A dreamy wisp of florals and wildflowers in the years preceding World War II, the film follows the scandal and intrigue that rock a proper countryside manse. Pattern on pattern, privileged parties, feminine swags and fantastic party dresses — if it weren’t for the impending war, I’d say sign me up. — Amy Merrick

1. Schumacher “Cambourne” Fabric; 2. Poppy Seeds, $4; 3. Aidan Gray Sconce, $300; 4. Waterman Gold Pen, $75; 5. John Derian Letter Tray, $180; 6. Topshop Dress, $300; 7. Antique Meiji Ceramic Vase; 8. Lusterware Bowl, $70; 9. Perfume Atomizer, $40; 10. Cheltenham Pillow, $99

The full post continues after the jump . . .

So the whole “World War II tragic love story” turn in the movie puts a damper on my English garden reveries, but it does have its stylistic merits. Straight backed and simplified, a bit of stripped-down seriousness never did a girl any harm. Tending to soldiers and dreaming of James McAvoy . . . sometimes fiction is better than fact.

1. Vintage Portable Typewriter, $200; 2. Blackline Teapot, $58; 3. Nurse’s Cape, $126; 4. Blackwing Pencils, $19; 5. Postalco Leather Calendar, $336; 6. El Casco Stapler, $125; 7. White Oak Dining Chair, $428; 8. Vintage Red Cross Pin, $40; 9. Tea Tin Candle, $62; 10. Sliver Lighter, $125

  1. Shruti says:

    I love that coat, but I love the gorgeous green dress more. It was stunning, even in the description in the book.

  2. christine says:

    The movie was absolutely gorgeous.

  3. Joy says:

    This + Downton Abbey = Pure elegance

  4. Karina says:

    I would love to have a summer home inspired by this montage…one day…

  5. Julia says:

    A very dignified heir to The English Patient in terms of glamour and tragedy.

    Great post! Thank you for breaking down the look :-)

  6. It may be one of my favorite movie if keira wasn’t playing in it! There is great screenplay and cinematography and she is ruing everything. (that’s my opinion, i know that many of you like her but i don’t :D )

  7. Lauren says:

    YES that GREEN DRESS was to die for.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Wow …such wonderfull photos!!!

  9. Lotte says:

    i think this could be my favourite living in yet…

  10. Maria S. says:

    Hi Amy,
    I absolutely love your column and, as someone said above, this may be one of my favorites. Everything so beautiful yet not perfect! The English (and this particular set designer) really have that look down. I have occasionally watched the beginning of this movie to get a hit of its gorgeousness, but alas, it is so sad, that I can’t always make it all the way through.

    I would love to be lounging around that house on a hot day, a dip in the pond, a cocktail, painting my nails. . .

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Do you ever go back and talk to the set designers for these pieces? Just wondering.

  11. katie says:

    Yes, agreed. One of my favorite living in’s. Beautiful collections!

  12. The first two pictures take my breath away. There is something about the orange flowers in the field that really puts me in a certain mood. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Sophia says:

    Romantism, turmoil and drama all wrapped-up in those flourishing interiors! Your interpretation of this remarkable film is wonderful.

  14. This movie had me so worked up – everything kept getting worse and worse – but there’s no arguing how fabulous the movie sets were.

  15. Sigh….that Green Dress. I was OBSESSED with finding and/or making a copy of it after watching the movie. Seriously, one of the sexiest, most glorious dresses EVER.

  16. Jess Blaine says:

    Not less than a week ago, I was searching your site, hoping for a Living In: Atonement. Unless you have some sort of amazing backwards search engine that tells you what people are looking for, this is a REMARKABLE coincidence. The reason I was looking is this: I’m on the hunt for a green paint that evokes the feeling of that incredible green dress. Antique, english, emerald. Not foresty or grassy, but deep and green and romantic. Ideas?

  17. Lindsey says:

    Love this post! and yes… the green dress. :) (need I say more?!)

  18. Great Post… the style is so elegant! Ahh, to have a house like that one day… one can only dream.

  19. Michaela says:

    i just rewatched this movie last night, and thought to myself – i wonder if DS has done a living in post on this gorgeous movie- so funny to see it here the next day

  20. Rachelle says:

    I’m so happy you finally featured this absolutely gorgeous movie. Coincidentally, I just caught it on TV last night!

  21. Carolina says:

    Oh how much I love this movie.

  22. Kate says:

    I LOVE this! This feature rocks. And as a big Atonement fan, this one is particularly awesome!

  23. Monica says:

    The beginning of that movie was such a lush, gorgeous setup to a film. If it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t help but sob when I see the rest of the movie, I’d want to live in it for sure!

  24. j. says:

    Love this movie & and I’m so surprised you didn’t include the GREEN DRESS???

  25. Ahh, this movie is gorgeous ~ but so very sad. That poppy field makes me happy though. :o)


  26. Sarah says:

    Love the film and love all this stuff! :)

  27. Shannon says:

    These beautiful photographs from the film have inspired me to watch this movie :O) Thanks for posting this.

  28. Sally says:

    This movie was a real tear jerkier. Yes, that green dress was something else! Stunning. The music, use of light and over stage production for Atonement was beautiful. But I can’t watch this on repeat like I do for Pride and Prejudice :)

  29. emily says:

    i, too, read this hoping for a green dress look-a-like :). yes yes yes, that green! and the shape!

  30. missguiliani says:

    This movie was absolutely magnificent! If it wasn’t so so heartbreaking I would watch it more often. Such a lovely and tragic story. I do love classic florals!

  31. Lauren says:

    Wow that dress is amazing, thank goodness they ran out of my size so I can’t be tempted to get it ;)

  32. Jessica says:

    What a gorgeous snapshot of such a sad film. The last scene of the movie ALWAYS gets to me. Every time. And while I too loved the green dress from the film, it’s nice to see other the design elements get some love. It truly was a very well put together film.

  33. carol says:

    love the movie, love the actors and love the colors.

  34. suzanne says:

    I so loved this movie! And the book, too! When I hosted my book club for this book, I searched high and low at all the thrift stores for the perfect vase … I was obsessed with the thought that I had to have a vase of flowers to represent the vase in the movie… details, ya know? :)


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