Holiday Tables Fit for an Englishman: Ben Pentreath's City and Country Picks by

Issue 48 · The Rural Life · December 1, 2012

Holiday Tables Fit for an Englishman: Ben Pentreath's City and Country Picks

Issue 48 · The Rural Life · December 1, 2012

UK designer and architect Ben Pentreath demonstrates his holiday table setting.

Whether he's in residence at his Dorset parsonage or his London flat, Ben Pentreath (a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory )likes to entertain in color. Sensitized to the soft gray light of English winter, Pentreath works into its muted tones in the country and turns it up few notches with bright contrasting and intense accents in the city. And of course, breaking out the silver is a fail safe strategy for upping the ante.

Want to see more of Ben Pentreath's ideas for holiday entertaining? Check out his mood board on Pinterest.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, Curwen paper, Christmas crackers, William Morris napkins, Josef Frank chair coverings

Above: Pentreath's inner country mouse brings out all of his favorite things. "Curwen paper, Christmas crackers, William Morris napkins, Josef Frank chair coverings, all designed in the mid-century; keep your eyes peeled and pick them up when you can," he says.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, Welsh dresser daily china, white with brown floral pattern, silver candlesticks with beeswax candles

Above: "The kitchen’s Welsh dresser not only holds the daily china but also rather satisfyingly appeals to my aesthetic values tonally in my more reflective moments," Pentreath says.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, kitchen after party, long table with disarrayed chairs and remnants of meal from the night before

Above: The aftermath of a dinner in Pentreath's parsonage kitchen.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, place setting with clementines and nuts as table decor, brass candlesticks with red candles, pineapple in the center

Above: Meanwhile, back in London, Pentreath's city cousin has also been busy. "Edible table decorations are far easier to clear away at the end of a dinner party, and everybody knows the symbol of hospitality is a pineapple," Pentreath says.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, detail of pair of brass candlesticks with small skull of bird with red beak perched on top

Above: "Brass candlesticks are a mainstay for any occasion along with good simple glassware," Pentreath advises.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, place setting with vintage silver cutlery and a silver starter plate

Above: "City table settings sometimes need to simply be a little smarter," Pentreath says. "Breaking out the silver solves the solution."

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, blue etched tumblers and amber hobnail pitcher

Above: "Brightly colored glassware is a passion, particularly Victorian. But I’d happily pick up anything that makes me smile"; Blue Etched Tumbler, £6.50; Amber Hobnail Pitcher, £60.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, mid century table in front of wall of framed maps, bright colored glassware and candles, dahlias

Above: "Technicolor tableware against a monochrome backdrop is the most effective way to make a statement with color," Pentreath says. English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, set of six clementine colored candles tied with brown ribbon

Above: "You needn't even light these to make an impact," Pentreath says: Clementine Dinner Candles, £6.60 for a set of six.

English Holiday Table, Ben Pentreath, Marianna Kennedy sitting room with red table, black lamp and mercury glass mirror, plate with two pears

Above: "Marianna Kennedy designs lighting and mirrors like no other: her abilities with color are unparalleled," Pentreath enthuses.

Looking for more holiday table setting ideas? See A Holiday Table with Soul where New York designer Brad Ford shares his holiday entertaining ideas.



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