Come home soon

Charlie’s away. He’s in New Zealand (as some of you may have already guessed. Did you work out that Charlie wasn’t around last weekend?). He has two weddings of friends to go to… well, one has already been, and the next is in five weeks’ time.  You can’t go all that way and back and out again, in seven weeks, unless you’re mad, so we decided he better stay there. And most exciting of all, in less than three weeks now, I’m off as well.

To be honest, I can’t wait. Time’s going rather slowly just now.

But what he really wanted to know about this evening is how his garlic plants are coming along.


Not too badly, I thought. In fact the veg garden on top of our roof, which I think it is now truthful to call Charlie’s veg garden, is doing quite nicely all round just at the moment.  It feels like spring might be on its way, didn’t you think, in today’s beautiful sunshine?


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It was a sparkling afternoon in Queen Square, and I thought I’d just take a few photos.

The guest bedroom.


The other day, I posted a photo of this room on instagram and someone called Gemma Blackshaw wrote a very funny comment. “Ben, please do a blog on Morris fabric. I’ve acquired some fabulous upholstered pieces but have no desire to be a New Victorian“.

Gemma, believe me. We use William Morris in just about every single decoration project we’re working on. And I am not a New Victorian either.

Although I am obsessed about Aesthetic furniture. Like this little shelf, which is nearly falling completely to bits.P1080551

Bridie gave me the yellow jug years ago. I love it.

And what is even weirder is that about 10 years ago, way before I lived here, my friend Eileen gave me the book on Queen Square. I have actually read it now that I’m here.P1080552

Our bedroom corridor is painted a very dark chocolate which in certain lights looks a bit macabre. But it’s lined with pictures which reflect the light and make it okay.P1080553

The bathroom is wallpapered in Zoffany’s Richmond Park, which is an idea I lifted directly (with permission) from my friend Gavin Houghton who without a doubt is one of the best decorators I know.  It’s beautiful. If a little bonkers in a tiny room like our bathroom:P1080554

Looking back the other way:P1080557

Our new bedroom, with its beautiful emerald-green wallpaper from Soane Britain, which recently had a bit of a starring role on the front page of the FT House & Home…P1080558

A corner of the corridor is piled with books and other clutter:P1080556

Charlie’s Napoleon in the sitting room is rather at home on my Fornasetti chest of drawers, that I think has finally found a resting place it’s happy with. (long-time blog readers will remember it was a bit of a squash at Great Ormond Street).P1080559 P1080560

I’m absolutely loving our wall of fern engravings which Charlie and I found at Portobello the other day, at the brilliant stand of Deborah Cutler’s Cranborne Antiques.P1080562

And then of course there is Melina Horne’s beautiful ikat lampshade. Which is just about my favourite thing, I’d say. If you haven’t popped in to see Melina’s wonderful pop-up store at 17a Rugby Street, I hope you can. She is there for a few weeks longer.P1080564

Don’t forget your copies of ‘Are you a Roundy or a Squary?‘ either.P1080565

I had lunch with Maisie and the twins the other day. ‘Hope you come back soon CharlieCongratulations. You are in the newspaper.  I missed you today Charlie.  from Vera‘.   P1080566

Agreed, Vera.

I was going to photograph the other side of the sitting room when I realised that our candlesticks were still over in the office meeting room.  A couple of weeks ago a friend of a friend of a friend did a pop-up supper at Lambs Conduit Street.  A perfect evening.  So I nipped round the corner to pick them up.

The office is looking pretty nice these days. It has the same dark chocolate walls as at home.  And a bright yellow felt tablecloth that was made for us by the tailors next door – Sims and Macdonald, in case you’re wondering. I think it’s called Prince of Wales Yellow. P1080576

I don’t think I’ve ever shown any photos of the office before, or at least not for a very long time. So you should check out the crazy rococo ceiling.

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Looking towards the fireplace wall, there is a bookcase filled with three incomplete collections of World of Interiors. I always hoped I’d fill the missing gaps, but they continue to remain elusive.P1080580 The large creamware vases you see in the fireplace and the foreground were made by Peter Weldon.  I don’t know much about Peter except his occasional appearances in World of Interiors in the early 80s. If any reader knows any more I’d be very grateful to find out. They are amazing.

Then a glimpse into the decoration department next door. The chandelier is a mock up printed onto foam core.  We were trying it out for size at the grand hall of our project at Fawley House the other day, which made a few of the builders smile… as you can imagine:P1080584

Just in case you think it’s all Georgian panelling over at Ben Pentreath towers, here is a glimpse of our new architectural office, just up the road on Lambs Conduit Street.    A reminder again that we’re looking for a new studio assistant, and that applications close this week.  If you’re an exceptionally friendly and motivated person who’d like to join, please get in touch.


Zoe and I sit up on the top shelf and I shout instructions to the workers below, just like a 19th century factory. It’s great.P1080571P1080572

Tucked in amongst the mocha ware on the shelves above my desk is this drawing of Fawley House, which is very nearly finished after 5 or 6 amazing long years. That will be a bit of a blog on its own as well.P1080574

Anyway enough already. You’ll have spied the candlesticks in the meeting room.  So here they are back home.


Bridie and I are keeping our fingers crossed that we are finally able to bring the giant London wall-map back into production.  Which would be amazing. You will be the first to hear about it, I promise.P1080594

The staircase:P1080597

The kitchen. The walls are painted cow-pat green.P1080599

A row of Ravilious and Mochaware jugs is on the windowsill, and on the right is a tiny cactus that we’re trying to nurture into growth. It was given to us by my friend Tim Knox and if it grows that’s a blog all on its own.P1080601

Below, a Glyn Boyd-Hart print of a Ravilious Alphabet mug.  If you like the print, I think there’s one for sale downstairs tomorrow night at the Art Workers’ Guild.  Neil Jennings, the art dealer, has his show opening tomorrow. Snap it up if you can:P1080602

If you want to know more about Glyn, read Ruth Guild’s beautiful blog which she posted yesterday over at Bible of British Taste.  I only met Glyn a couple of times. I wish it had been more. P1080603 P1080604

The orange umbrella was a Christmas present from Charlie. Perfect colour, don’t you agree?

Meanwhile his huge bunch of camellias had just about survived until today.  But they were on their way out, so I took them down.  The flat felt very empty (but you did get a better view of the map).

P1080606Charlie, the flat’s missing you like crazy just now. In fact, so is the whole of London, I reckon. Come home soon. But see you sooner

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