In keeping with the aesthetic of the time and the beachfront location, the designers used a light celadon color palette and bespoke wallpapers for the interiors. The look represents a departure from classic Austen films of the past, such as Pride and Prejudice, where dark red was the predominant palette. “We adopted the dark gold wood furniture, but added a bling element. The color says silver, elegance and power. Everyone wanted their house to be bright,” says North.
For Tom Parker’s (Kris Marshall) Trafalgar House, North drew on the influences of neoclassical architect Sir John Soane for the columns and plasterwork of his office. Of particular interest is the study featuring Parker’s Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architectural models, maps, and artifacts.
Ston Easton’s country estate in Somerset serves as Heyrick Park, the home of new character Alexander Colbourne (Ben-Lloyd Hughes), who is a widower living with his feisty tomboyish daughter and haughty niece. “We tried to keep things trendier and brighter, and the backstory is that the woman decorated the house before she died. He never really got along and spends most of his time in a dark, smoky office,” North explains.
Set designer Kate Wilson shopped at fairs and antique markets in the UK for Georgian furniture and Indian and Chinese accessories. “My favorite piece is when Sidney Parker’s stuff comes back from Antigua and the chest has his name embossed on a little leather clasp,” says North. “It’s the little details that we like to do.”
Built inside an airplane hangar on the outskirts of Bristol, the most extensive set is the fictional town of Sanditon, a character in itself. The design team built a variety of confectionery-coloured shops reminiscent of the era, with a main street for horse-drawn carriages and the parade of British soldiers, and a promenade and pavilion influenced by John Nash’s famous designs at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Eagle-eyed Jane Austen enthusiasts will appreciate the various easter eggs, such as signage for Austen Stationers, Chawton’s Bakery, and names on maps from Tom’s office (Darcy’s Place).