In keeping with the aesthetic of the period and the seaside location, the designers employed a light color palette of celadon and custom-designed wallpapers for the interiors. The look represents a departure from the classic Austen films of the past, such as Pride and Prejudice, where dark red was the predominant palette. “We embraced the dark wood gilt furniture, but added a bling element. Color says money, elegance, and power. Everyone wanted to have their houses bright,” North says.
For Tom Parker’s (Kris Marshall) Trafalgar House, North looked to the influences of neoclassical architect Sir John Soane for the columns and plasterwork in his study. Of particular interest is the study showcasing Parker’s architectural models, maps, and Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts.
Somerset’s Ston Easton country estate serves as Heyrick Park, the home of the new character Alexander Colbourne (Ben-Lloyd Hughes), who is a widower living with his spirited tomboy daughter and haughty niece. “We tried to keep things more fashionable and brighter, and the backstory is the wife decorated the house before she died. He never really got on with it and spends most of his time in a dark and smoky office,” North says.
Set decorator Kate Wilson shopped at antique fairs and markets in the U.K. for Georgian furniture and Indian and Chinese accessories. “My favorite piece is when Sidney Parker’s belongings return from Antigua and the chest has his name embossed over a little leather clasp,” North explains. “It’s the little details we love to do.”
Built inside an airplane hangar on the outskirts of Bristol, the most extensive set is the fictional town of Sanditon, a character within itself. The design team constructed a variety of confectionery-colored shops reminiscent of the period, with a main street for the horse-drawn carriages and the parade of British soldiers, along with a promenade and pavilion influenced by John Nash’s famous designs at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Eagle-eyed Jane Austen devotees will appreciate the various Easter eggs, such as the signage for Austen Stationers, Chawton’s Bakery, and names on the maps in Tom’s office (Darcy’s Place).