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A Work in Progress: Ben Pentreath’s Parsonage in Dorset


A Work in Progress: Ben Pentreath’s Parsonage in Dorset

Christine Chang Hanway September 07, 2012

It’s fair to say that our London-based architectural and interior designer friend Ben Pentreath knows a bit about English decoration; an entire book’s worth in fact.

Up until this week, Pentreath’s dedicated passion to the English home has been borne out through his one-of-a-kind interiors shop in Bloomsbury and his witty blog. With the publication of English Decoration; Timeless Inspiration for the Contemporary Home, Pentreath shares his musings and thoughts with us on a grander scale as he takes us through 18 quintessentially English homes, including his own Regency parsonage in Dorset. To visit Pentreath's garden, see "A Garden in Dorset, in Full Bloom."

N.B.: English Decoration: Timeless Inspiration for the Contemporary Home is $26.40 at Amazon and £19.50 at Amazon.co.uk.

Photography by Ben Pentreath.

Above: The English kitchen speaks of utility, as evidenced by the Sheila Maid laundry airer hanging above the AGA range.

Above: The 18th century Welsh dresser is attractive as it is practical, a precursor to today's open shelving.

Above: The wood cupboards in Pentreath's kitchen are original to the house and were made by a local carpenter in the 19th century.

Above: In his dining room, Pentreath unifies the mismatched William IV chairs by upholstering them with the same ticking fabric from Ian Mankin. A kilim is layered onto seagrass squares.

Above: Pentreath's living room displays the comforts of English Decoration; surrounded by "books, magazines, flower in vases, a generously stocked drinks tray, friends and conversation; and enveloped in that warm benevolent embrace of continuity that lets us know that, however much strife we see in the world, the best things in life will not change.

Above: Pentreath's collection of cobalt blue glassware without which he believes, "no English house is complete."

Above: A large-scale classical style architectural rendering graces the wall of the sitting room.

Above: Bedrooms are places of retreat to withdraw from the day-to-day, and Pentreath believes they should be painted in calm shades of off-white and gray. "My bedroom looks out onto a leafy scene and in the height of summer takes on a soft green hue that is at once calm and fresh," he says.

Above: In another bedroom, the space above the cupboard is useful for storing oversized books while imbuing the space with character.

Above: In the attic bedroom, Pentreath added a wall of beaded-board paneling to cover a projecting chimney breast, creating a cabin feel in the room.

Above: This room is typically used by the children of visiting friends, and Pentreath has placed a vintage rocking horse in the corner to charm them at night.

Above: "Halls and staircases give us an opportunity to decorate in ways that may not work in other, less transitory spaces. We can be bold," says Pentreath and as illustrated with the bold pattern on the wallpaper in his hall.

N.B.: Interested in seeing more English decoration? See Ben Pentreath's approach to his garden, From Mist to Glory or 384 images of English Houses in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.

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