Moving pictures

6 August 2012
Ben Pentreath

Well, apologies for such brief postings; I can at last download photos again! And in the middle of Olympic-silent London, this weekend, I have moved. It was a fun if slightly exhausting day – if I’m entirely honest, a lot more exhausting for Chris, Darren and Doug from the brilliant A Van Man (who do all our removals for the shop, should you ever need a recommendation) than it was for me.

Everything went well. There was a slightly scary moment when we had to bring the sofa in over scaffold at the back of the building…it wouldn’t fit up the stairs (know the feeling?)… but it just about happened. (If you are from the Health & Safety executive, please turn away now… only, of course, after having purchased a letterpress printed Health & Safety poster).

The funny thing about moving is seeing your old place suddenly turning from calm to chaos and the new place moving a lot more slowly from chaos to calm. By yesterday afternoon I’d hung about half the pictures and generally settled in. The light is amazing, and the sense of space is placid indeed.  Now, slowly, I’ll be thinking about what happens next. Dove grey hessian wallpaper, anyone? Olive green curtains? Soft pink slip cover on the Bloomsbury armchair?  I wonder what you think…?  Watch this space (and you saw it here first)!



30 comments on this post

I am afraid of moving. But at last, it looks well arranged…

Count me in for a copy of the map if you can manage the reprint.

Oh my goodness, its looking gorgeous. The map pictures are an amazing idea, love it! I think I would have cried at seeing my sofa being hoisted above the scaffold, glad it ended well!

All the hard work paid off – the sitting room looks delightful

All the hard work was worth it – the sitting room is delightful.


I can’t believe the perfect fit of the frames on the back wall, did you plan that before leasing, on viewing, with a tape measure?!!!!!!!


You are Mr Cleverdrawers, it looks fab.Love the idea of a pink chair and dove grey walls, do you think there are a few too many bare legs in the room? Where is the covetous Fornasetti chest?Such a treat to see it all from the start.

The map(s) of London might be re-framed in ‘white’. The present (brass?) tone is obtrusive and detracts from the cummulative image. Fireplace surround is clunky and not worthy of preservation. Great apt.

What…you didn’t get the outdoor terrace done!!! Just kidding…. love to see where you are going with the urban garden space when you get to it. I am sure you want to recover from the big move before you tackle the outdoors.
It looks awesome!

Gideon Watson Farquharsonsays:

Wow Ben, I have just stumbled upon this, your flat is amazing, my Gran had an amazing flat in Buenos Aires with lovely huge windows like this, feels very smart and deco…. I wonder what the rest of the building is. I love your bits and bobs and especially the huge map of London. Dig the Hessian, very Parisian, go for it …. I must come and check out your shop, you have beautiful taste man. Gid

Margaret Powlingsays:

I don’t usually care for red (I usually advocate a dash of black) but I totally agree with Ash, this room needs some red.


Can’t make out the wooden part of your chimney-piece, don’t suppose you’d be allowed to strip it off and just leave the handsome bollection (sp.?) surround.
If you’re not sure about curtains why not put up some cheap white blinds as a trial, you could add the curtains later.
What the room needs is some RED; what happened to the Fornasetti chest?


Margaret Powlingsays:

Love the eclectic mix, of 1950s (?) table with the older chairs, the retro prints on the cushions and the map, framed in sections, on the far wall (is this the Thames – it reminde me of the title page of EastEnders! Oh, dear, that might offend – it’s certainly not intended to!)
I love the greys but this is a very masculine room, I would have to add flowers in the very least. Everything (with the exception of the circular table) is hard-edged, even the upholstered chairs have a square-edged look to them. What do I like best? The lamp with green twisted base and turquoise shade and the actual proporations of the room itself. What is that piece of furniture with what look to be drawings all over it? Where have you put that?
When we decorated our sitting room ten years ago we had previously had loads of paintings, as you have. when we saw the bare walls (Farrow & Ball’s Gervase Yellow) we simply loved their chalky, restful appearance and have only put up three paintings behind a sofa so that we sit down we face a wall totally devoid of paintings (it has a large mirror) and we find that very restful. However, I do know that paintings can carry the eye forward, through a painting (especially with landscape or seascape) so one day we may return some of our paintings to the walls!


Very lovely, happy new home! I love the wall! I had a sofa hanging out of the window a couple of weekends again too! A trend that’s catching on?!!

MIRRORS….what you need Ben is Mirrors.
I do hope you had a fish and chip supper its essential on moving-in day.

Soy yo otra vez… estoy pensando-pensando sobre el color de las cortinas (estaría horas contando mis experiencias con ellas en muchos hogares)… qué tal en gris muy-muy suave y mate para ayudar ópticamente al efecto gris más oscuro del mural de mapas?… sigo pensando…
Esther-D. Abad

¿Cómo es posible que todo esto estuviese en tu pequeño apartamento anterior? Allí todo me parecía tan romántico?, no necesariamente; bohemio? no exactamente; cálido? mucho, chic? siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, personal? también…
El ambiente del salón del nuevo apartamento es de un chico de mundo, perfecto para recibir y perfecto para leer concentrado con una copa de vino. Cada mueble, cada elemento luce toda su belleza individual como queriendo vivir su propia experiencia por separado y ajeno a que su presencia es indisoluble con el “todo”, creo que esto forma parte de tu magia personal de hacer las cosas.
En cuanto a las cortinas? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… mi primer pensamiento ha sido “ninguna”,pero creo que el ventanal es excesivamente grande, aunque si bien es verdad que un ventanal nunca es excesivamente grande. Como alguien ha dicho anteriormente depende de la orientación, y del paisaje de enfrente, yo pienso en blanco o crudo, para ir jugando con la luz de las lámparas a medida que vaya oscureciendo. Bueno no es más que mi modesta opinión.
Me adhiero al envío de esa botella virtual para brindar por la felicidad en tu nuevo hogar.
Esther.D. Abad


The thud that can be heard in London this afternoon is my jaw hitting the floor in Paris on seeing the back wall and the superb map of London! I’m off to Google John Rocque but would love a post on the planning that went into it. I don’t believe it fit perfectly without modification or have you sold your soul to the devil? I envy you enough to consider looking at his rates!


The John Rocque map looks fantastic! (I’ve actually got the same one but they sit in a drawer as I don’t have the wall space to display them like that.)

Looked again, that scaffolding is helping the room, making it look a bit Rangoon you have to hold off any curtain thoughts until its gone. It might feel bald as the bacony is a touch brutal edged and you might need pattern to off set it.

Looking very good indeed. But I would move the second lamp away from books as they already give a big burst of colour so lamp’s pop of colour wasted and you are going to need to balance the colour across the room or else the map end is going to feel like exile to Siberia.

Olive green curtains? No you will loose the special stillness and placid light of the room, maybe the white green colour of the armchair to the right of the fireplace or a light blue. I do think plain curtains but you know this room will have Winter and Summer settings.

Dove grey hessian? Yes that could work on a wall, very Chelsea Arts Club and pictures like it. I think you will need a richly coloured runner at the table end to balance out the books and fireplace at the other.
I don’t think pink on the chair as it stands up against the fireplace if it was pink it would become part of that group.

Forgive me for answering an expert but I couldn’t resist. You have The Eye no one can deny that.

congratulations; it’s beautiful. i agree with the other commenters: the framed maps are perfection.


Congratulations on moving home and we hope you will very happy in the tops of the trees, clouds and sunshine! I look forward to blogs on high rise gardening in the city!

Kevin Kornegaysays:

Lovely! I particularly like the map.


Heaven! where does the Thames map come from?


Your map wall is absolutely amazing. I don’t think that I’ve ever coveted anything more. And such a perfect fit on that wall = happy coincidence or careful planning?


it looks fantastic already! you’re a magician.


AWESOME! Congrats with your new abode.

Ben, ABSOLUTELY amazing transformation of your home from the pics you shared of the construction. I really really love the map on you have in individual frames behind your desk. WOW that is so beautiful! THanks for sharing! Wish I were in London and could visit your shop! Would be lovely if you had one here in Washington DC where I live 🙂


It looks beautiful already! Was it by design or happy circumstance that all the frames filled the far wall exactly? Yes, to all the decorating suggestions. I feel I should be sending you a bottle of red wine as a housewarming present!

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