Train Living

Every Monday on design*sponge I help run the “sneak peek” column showcasing homes around the world. My favorite homes tend to be the small ones, as I discover new ways to be efficient with space. So I thought it’d be fun to wrap up my posts about my journey on the Orient Express Venice-Simplon (check out the first two here and here) with a “sneak peek” inside the living quarters.

Image above: In Calais, France, finally getting off the train we first boarded in Venice. For the Chunnel crossing we had to take a coach. Subconsciously Margaret and I wore navy dresses the day we boarded which matched the train quite well!
Inside my cabin. We were lucky enough to have a cabin suite so we each had a banquette where we could lounge, read, nap and look at the ever changing views out the window.
Magically when we returned from dinner, our cabins were converted into bedrooms. (The beds can be made into bunk beds in single cabins). We slept so well that night. When we woke up the train was pulling into Paris (some folks ended their journey there).
The wash basin in the cabin when we arrived (left) and in the evening (right). All the little things you hardly know are there when you first arrive.
Beautiful classic light fixtures.
Each time you walk down the train you notice the marquetry on the walls, and it’s different in each car, making it truly unique.
Eventually you start to see the landscapes from outside reflected in the walls.

Despite being one of the more luxurious ways to travel, there are no showers on board and there is a shared toilet at the end of the hall (still quite nice). One of my favorite things was this convertible sink that ensured water wasn’t wasted. On the left the sink is folded as when you enter and go to the bathroom. Then when you are ready to wash your hands you lower it, add a touch of water, and there is soap in the top compartment. When you’re finished you lift it up and the water flows out the back. Truly ingenious!
Our sleeping car was car A at the very front/back of the train, depending on which direction we were going. In nearly every country we had to change engines with a local car and driver. I love this logo.
When we got to England, the Pullman dining cars became our home. We consumed high tea during the 2 hour ride to London.
Some of the beautiful wood marquetry in the fully restored cars.


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