Better late than never…

8 December 2014
Ben Pentreath

It’s a funny thing. I meant to post on Sunday night… having driven down from London to Dorset, arriving at the Parsonage after dark, after an unexpectedly wonderful weekend. But I was too tired. So I didn’t!

This morning, I had a meeting looking at the remarkable house I mentioned years ago on this blog, with its extraordinary, intact, David Hicks interiors. Their beauty is striking every time you enter; all the more so because the fun, happy family who have inherited this house know exactly how wonderful these rooms are and cherish them in their fading grandeur.

I took a few snaps. And, arriving back in London this evening, Charlie’s cooking a delicious supper, which is nearly ready, and there isn’t a lot of time to write about anything.

So I thought the least said the better. Feast your eyes. There aren’t hundreds of photos, just like there aren’t hundreds of words, but I hope you don’t mind. I’m inspired – and isn’t that what the blog is all about, after all?


P1070053 P1070055 P1070056

The purple sitting room has to be one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever seen.  As much for the sublime hang of pictures as the softly faded dyed hessian walls.

A corner, meanwhile, of the entrance hall:P1070060


or of the Gents WC, a dream.. This is true country-house decoration:P1070061

And the dining room, where the dyed hessian walls were originally a shocking vermillion-orange and have faded to the most perfect soft rose-pink. The shadow of the picture frame shows the real colour. You see what I mean?P1070091

Finally, the Hicks designed stair carpet:


Have you ever seen anything so amazing?

Although I am not sure I would have many clients who would let me do that today. Would you?

23 comments on this post


I am struck by the flat screen TV. Because I am sitting in my livingroom and looking at an identical arrangement. Great for watching TV, but is there a solution to the visual problem?
David Hick’s books inspired me when I was a teenager, his work is as brilliant now as it was then.
Thanks Ben. Paul

It’s been a long, long while since I saw a room that made my heart stand still, and Hick’s purple room certainly has. Thank you for this. It’s Christmas!

Vanessa Ryallsays:

How delightful! Such a cheerful,beautiful and lived in home.I wondered if the stair carpet had caltrops on it as they might be part of the families coat of arms.Thank you for sharing it with us .

Wow! The colors are eye-opening! I do love the purple room, but I think that would be the case regardless of the wall color. Those wall-mounted bookshelves are to die for, you should to carry repros in the shop! (If I’m not mistaken, the entrance hall leads directly into the WC? I’d love to see what’s on the back of the sitting room door, please take a pic next time you visit.) That carpet, alas, reminds me of a car manufacturer logo. I like it better as a border to the blue sitting room carpet. How wonderful that this home is in the hands of people who appreciate it. Too bad that doesn’t happen to all “classics.” Thanks for sharing!

The purple walls and gilt frames make quite a luxurious ambience. The runner on the stairs is sooo hip.

The purple walls give the rooms almost a royal feel and that fireplace looks stunning. I absolutely love the classic furniture


Pattern is such a subjective thing! I’m in the “everything but the stair carpet” camp but hmm, I do like it as trim in the purple sitting room, and the peek of it beyond the door…

Thea Innes-Kerrsays:

Real treat to see these rooms thank you! David Hicks like most genius makes it all look so effortless. When I die I hope heaven is decorated like this.

Like Melanie, this is my favourite Hicks interior. The combination of pale pink, red and deep purple is stunning. Even the pink books in the bookshelf seem to fit is beautiful! (Perhaps he organised those too?) Arne Maynard, a well-known British garden designer, often does purple and red gardens (his favourite combination) and you can see why they appeal: so dramatic and eye-catching.

I’m not sure about the carpet though… looks too much like a children’s room?

And as for that gentleman’s loo… what a retreat from the world! Even the map drawers are magnificent.

albert quintanillasays:

Just read this it.I especially liked the purple? paint on the wall.The house is very English.Thank you for refraining from using the overused American word”CURATED”.suerly their may be other words to describe the lovliness of it all.Here in sunny Southern California people buy everything.I love Lady Mary Granthams statement”some people buy things.Our kind inherit them”.to the heirs of this lovely place.”well done”. regards.A Californian.

A. Stewartsays:

you are right the hang of the pictures is divine and the combination of purple and cobalt is a dream but of course its partly the gorgeous gold frames and images resting on the purple that makes the whole thing hummm – white frames on the other hand …


Stunning, absolutely stunning!


oh ben, yes, you titled this blog “inspiration” but it could just as easily have been “rare treat”. I feel like that’s what you so often give us. I have aubergine and red and sunny yellow in my living room/foyer and have just added iris apfel green bookshelves. this house is nearly my idea of heaven…true heaven is the library in your book. I was in Suffolk shortly after receiving your book and hired a private guide just hoping he could get me in that room…he couldn’t but you almost did. thanks you for that and this

Wow! What a charming home. I love that red striped chair in the purple room. Thank you for all of the inspiration.
xo, lissy


A lovely post! These rooms need no words. What a feast they are. I am mesmerised by those wonderful wall coverings, what’s under the frames even more than what’s in them. Thanks for posting these.


Is that a reworked or modernised Pugin wallpaper design in the entrance hall?

This is my favourite of the Hick’s interiors that I’ve seen. The colour combination is stunning. I prefer the colourway of the carpet in the purple sitting room – the purple walls are making the centre look a fabulous cobalt blue – but the stair carpet against the traditional panelling and barley twist rails is providing a welcome relief. The well loved, lived in look which can’t be manufactured is best of all. Perfection!

Lovely to know you are so happy Ben, your contentment shines through the (few!) words. Love the faded colours and all the wood in these photo’s, but couldn’t live with the stair carpet, esp after a few gins and tonic….


I’d let you do all of it except the carpet. I would have to get downstairs via a knotted sheet and an open window if I had that carpet on my stairs. I love the rest. It’s absolutely perfect. That red chair in the purple room is brilliant.

For a moment there, when I saw the first pic, I thought I was looking at your dining room. I expected to see Charlie’s delicious supper unfurling down the page (though not on a knotted sheet).


You sure could, Ben! We have a head start because my dining room was just panted this same deep rose pink, with a coral undertone. Love it!
Thank you for this lovely post.


My favourite colour scheme! I have purple and red in my living room but have neutral taupe walls. Wish I had been braver – I feel a decorating project post Christmas. Thanks for sharing this beautiful home and what a beautiful carpet.


Seventies purple never looked so elegant.

Utterly stunning, Ben! I think the purple room is my fave, though it’s all so good, partly because it is obviously lived in. Are they marble squares? or lino? I wonder… Oh, I think I might be that brave as to commission something equally striking, well I’d like to think I would.

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