amy merrickliving in

living in: national velvet

by amym

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To celebrate the triumphant return of “Living In” from our two week hiatus, I bring you what may be my favorite post in the series so far, National Velvet. Perhaps you may not geek out about old children’s movies as much as I do, but it’s a proven fact you cannot go wrong with horses, cute dresses and little Liz Taylor. Pop some popcorn and your heart will melt. Promise.

[image above, clockwise from top left: wool blanket $158,horse show ribbons $3.35 each, Lover sailor dress $580, cup and saucer $14, pears, needlepoint pillow $98, vintages breyer horse, yellow beret $12.99]

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Set in the late 1920s in Sussex, National Velvet follows the story of Velvet Brown who trains her wild and wonderful stable horse to ride in the Grand National Steeplechase. (and can we all just pause for a moment and appreciate how adorable the name Velvet is?) Flannels, plaids, berets, barns, sweet dresses, riding boots, rosy cheeks and hair ribbons- this movie is truly and sincerely my holy grail of inspiration. –amy m.

PS- I would like to dedicate this post to all of us who wished and hoped and prayed for a pony for Christmas but never got one. Grace Bonney and design*sponge are happy to announce that, Oprah style, we will be hand delivering ponies to each and every reader this holiday season.

[image above, clockwise from top left: winner’s circle necklace $14.99,vintage saddle bag $62, wool blanket $158, felt headband $4, riding boots $189, plaid belt $90, antique carved bookends $650, henning sofa $3998]

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  • God, I missed “living in”… I’m a big fan old children’s movies too, what about a future post with Marry Poppins or the sound of music (big Julie Andrews fan, sorry!)… Really beautiful and inspirational pieces, really loved the sofa! gorgeous!

  • I CANNOT WAIT for my pony. So so generous. :)
    I love living in. If you do a post on Mary Poppins I know all the words to the songs. I can probably come up with a post soundtrack for you. Haha.

  • I’ve never posted before – but HAD to when I saw National Velvet. I watched it at least once a week as a kid. Bravo!

  • I really, really missed this column–thank goodness you’re back, Amy! Also, I’m crushing hard on all your picks here. That dress! Those boots!

  • one of my favorite books and movies! wonderful job with this one. those blankets = so lovely! i have so many breyer horses in storage. i knew that after writing santa all of these years my wish will come finally come true :). thanks for making me smile.

  • I ADORE this film. And that adorable satin ribbon in her hair always had me transfixed. Great “Living In!”

  • This week’s movie is so appropriate for me, as I just went horseback riding for the first time in my life at the weekend. I was so scared at first, but then quickly got into it and ended up loving it.

  • This post is perfect timing for me. I’ve been wanting to update my teens room with a fun equestrian style. I’ve gotten so far as brown gingham drapes and knowing I have to have show ribbons but thought I was going to have to make my own to make it cost effective. The ones you’ve shown here are perfect. Yeah!!

  • I too missed this column. I have yet to see the movie, but I knew a girl in elementary school named National Velvet. Does that count, can I still have a pony pretty please? :)

  • This movie was on heavy rotation during my childhood. It had everything I needed at that time: the gorgeous British countryside and horses. Such great picks as always, Amy!

  • Love this. Yet weirdly, when I was a kid, I was a much bigger fan of National Velvet 2- yeah, figure that out.

  • Love National Velevet, can’t wait for my pony, and many other things just got added to my wishlist… : ) Thanks for such a fun post!

  • Compulsively Compiled, I would guess you could find older, used vintage’ show ribbons at garage sales, or on e-bay or Craigslist or Freecycle. Used will look much better than brand spanking new ones.

    There’s a girl out there who does show ribbon quilts- to die for!

    As for my pony… black and white, 14 hh, and my gelding would appreciate if it could be a mare, please and thank you! :D

  • omg when i first saw this i misread it and thought it was living in blue velvet which is like the most disturbing movie. thankfully it’s national velvet which is quite adorable.

  • The couch, the blanket, the sailor dress, Liz and Mickey: yum!

    Please don’t go away again, Amy de Living In. Do you think you could expand on future subjects for another page or so, “after the jump” style ? Just can’t get enough…

  • Oh, goody I finally get a pony! I used to set up lawn chairs, apple crates, and other found stuff to make a steeplechase course in my back yard. And make hay after my mom had mowed the yard. Wheee!

  • Oh man. It’s funny, I never held it against Santa for not ever giving me my #1 request. I understood. I’ll be happy to be receiving my pony this year though! Thanks, Design Sponge!

  • Every Birthday, Christmas (and Easter for good measure) for the past 24 years I’ve pleaded, hoped and prayed for a horse. Here’s hoping Design*Sponge boost my wish’s chances! :D
    P.S. I think National Velvet has now sky rocketed to the top of the ‘Must Watch for Christmas’ list.

  • oh how I loved national velvet…the jodphurs, the boots, the horse! thanks for the great picks! my heart is melting for everything, especially the pony!

  • Weird- i had a craving to watch this movie yesterday and it was On Demand afterall… and now this! Plus I ride for a living so how can I not want to live in one of the best horse movies of all time?!?! Eqine themed houses are soooo attractive.

  • Thank you! I tell my son that Design*Sponge is like my own personal Nativity Calendar. Each day I get to look at something new and interesting. Loved National Velvet and the ideas it generated.

  • Can’t get enough PLAID, horse ribbons and more plaid…Perfect time of year for it all! ThanKs for the great post…

  • Thank you for bringing back the ‘living in…’ . While I love almost all of d*sponge´s blog entries, these are my MOST favorite. You are doing such a great job with these. Please don´t stop!!! :)
    Love, from Germany

  • I told you to do national velvet like a month ago!!! IM SOOOOOO Glad you did…its really a great movie. All the cute horse and country style was great…very gucci lmao.

    …but I believe this is the movie that gave Liz her terrible back problems, I think she fell off the horse. sorry to be a joy vampire…lol

  • …just thinking of a few more living in ideas…

    royal tenebaums (I wont stop until you do that one)

    Titanic (Sure it was cheesy, but come on, admit you want to be on that boat in a first class cabin, even though you know its going to sink)

    and another beautiful film…The Others, starring nicole kidman…
    just a stunning and scary movie, one of my all time favorites. The old english house, always dark because her children are photosensitive, the 40s clothes, the drapes, its a reallllly good one.

  • Sounds great ! I’ll have mine palomino style , if possible , please !!!

  • This movie was a big favorite with my siblings and I! We’d get a jump rope and pretend we were riding a horse in our beds, just like Velvet! Loved this post! :D

  • love the plaid…check out Gosford Park for the yummy English estate interiors(gorgeous wallpapers)..also vintage kitchen items..slinky,backless gowns..

  • this is my favorite series, my favorite movie, my favorite animal!! i used to ride competitively when i was younger and this film always made me cry.

  • Horses!! There is no theme better to strike right to my heart. I really DID get a pony for Christmas when I was seven–one of the sweetest stories of my life. Very lovely post!

  • this is BRILLIANT. the sounds in this movie are so incredible, and I always wanted her mom’s tea cozy from the end.

  • Love these – SO well done! Saw the movie Gigi this weekend – the red walls – would make a wonderful “living in”.

  • Showers of love for this post! Everything is so cozy and reminds me of home. I too asked for a pony at every possible chance. 23 years of wishing later and I finally have my own (and have had him for 4 years now). Though, technically he’s not a pony, I still call him one. ;)

    And I have to say my “pony” looks darned good in plaid!

  • This is just too cute!! Wouldn’t that be great, I can just hear you yelling (Oprah Style) “And everyone of the readers….GETS A NEW PONY!” I love living in!

  • OMG i loved this movies when i was growing up. For some reason though my sisters and i used to call it “The girl and the horse”. Wasn’t til i grew up that i realized what it was actually called.

  • I so love it. The inspiration is more than 60 years old, but the picks are so in tune with what’s happening right now. :)

  • Pretty. Lately I have been reading and dreaming about living in the worlds that I’m reading about. I would *love* to be able to live in the world of Jean Giono’s Joy of Man’s Desiring (it’s about a community of french farmers living on a plateau and a man named Bobi who goes to teach them about joy… even if there is never a guide based on this book, I *highly* suggest that you read it) as well as in the village of Trachimbrod in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated (also worth reading, even if you’ve seen the movie, which I very much love but it’s very different from the book… I would love to live in the “historic” village). Also a movie from my childhood that I just watched again for the first time in years is Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kay as the lead. It’s probably one of my favorite musicals. I love the mix of Danish design with the colors of the 1950s. What I would give to live in the storage room across the alley from the ballet! Wether they become guides or not, I strongly suggest it for your viewing pleasure.

  • Oh this only my most favorite movie of all time. If I ever have a daughter her name will be Velvet.
    This made my day big time!!

  • This is my favorite series on Design Sponge ever! How fabulous! Those riding boots are on my list this Christmas ^_^