When I was in NYC last week at Grace & Favor, a book caught my eye, and I knew I had to have it. First, it’s by Ben Pentreath, about whom I wrote last month, here. Ben is a hugely accomplished architect and shop-owner as well as a blogger. Second, it’s about English decorating, which, as in many houses in the UK where I’ve been a guest, is all about generations and layers.
I’ve seen a number of images of Ben’s house on his blog, as well as the houses of friends, so I knew this book would be a treat.
One of the things I love about British decorating books is that the rooms are not styled to within an inch of their lives, like American rooms are. For instance, you’d never, ever see an image like this in an American book.
In an American book or magazine, everything would be perfect. The pillows would be fluffed and chopped, the blanket would be thrown over the back of the chair at an insouciant angle and the books would be in the Hicksian colour arrangement. I think that more people live in houses that look like this than in houses where everything’s perfect. I know I do!
The book is terrific and if you’re looking for a present for yourself or someone who loves English Decoration, you can find it here.