Temples of delight

9 November 2017
Ben Pentreath

Yet again you will be wondering where the blog has gone. If you are, by any chance, a new and budding ‘blogger’, you will know that the first rule of blogging is regularity. So, when there is a long delay in a blog, there better be a good reason.

A clue to the first reason can be found in a tiny photograph snap which you can see here on our bedroom mantlepiece.

Yes, just in case you were not sure, that’s me on the right. And Charlie on the left.

I guess this was three weeks ago now – and we had just arrived at our friend Lucy Clayton’s SCOUNDRELS’ BALL, held in Vauxhall.  Full fancy dress was required. Charlie had come as a highwayman, dressed all in black – all the better to show off his newly-bleached hair. I was Hogarth’s Rake, in full mid-18th century costume, wig and chalked face.  I would say, on arrival, I was about half way through the story of Rake’s Progress.  By the small hours of the morning I was nearly at the end, not quite in Bedlam but almost. The Ball was held in Brunswick House, the beautiful Georgian house stranded on a roundabout of huge modern buildings at Nine Elms Lane.  Our party tipped out in to the streets of Saturday night Vauxhall, not so far from the Georgian Pleasure Gardens. Lucy, being the consummate hostess, had arranged entry for her entire ball to Duckie, and all I can say is that if you want to have a good time in a gay club in Vauxhall on a Saturday evening, there’s no better strategy than arriving dressed in full 18th century costume and make-up.  Charlie and I headed then to the Crown, at god knows what o’ clock, and finally home, via strange scenes in McDonalds on High Holborn, at about 5 in the morning, where no-one blinked an eye at the curious attempts of Dick Turpin and Tom Rakeswell trying to order a big mac on the giant press-button screens when completely and utterly drunk. We got home and slept until 2. We crawled out of bed and the most that we and Mavis could do was to make our way to the Duke of Cambridge pub for a long late roast lunch with Bridie. Recuperation came slowly, with an Indian takeaway on Bridie’s sofa in her beautiful, beautiful new house. We walked home and crawled into bed.  No blog, week one.

The following weekend we were staying in Suffolk. We started for a night with our friend Benedict and Daniel at there extraordinary cottage surrounded by the River Stour on all sides – the house is even called Island Cottage. We had the happiest night there but I didn’t take any photographs at all, partly because I forgot and partly because when I remembered I realised that their beautiful house was far more fit for the pages of World of Interiors or Cabana magazine than for here, and modesty sometimes is becoming. Watch this space.

And then the following morning we headed just down the river to our friend Veere’s. We had a weekend at the Temple. 

Veere’s house will be familiar to readers of the blog and my most recent book. It is a dream.  A miniature Temple of Pleasure like nothing else I know; part dolls-house, part grand Country House in equal measure…. and all, supremely decorated and supremely comfortable (Veere being Veere).

Here is our beautiful room.

Here, by the way, for those that are not on Instagram, is Charlie’s new look….!We had walks to Stoke-by-Nayland.

Beautiful hollyhocks still in flower, and growing out of every crack in the road.

The old vicarage.

Our fellow guests went swimming in the canal by dusk on return. Not for the faint-hearted.

The following morning was bright and clear.
The grand room, with the Mimosa tree just turning into flower that day – the citrus yellow perfect against Veere’s pink walls.
Another walk to collect the papers.
And then the longest, most delicious and fun Sunday lunch with old and new friends.

As we left, the moon was coming up, reflected in the canal.

The Temple was heaven. Certainly, a different sort of weekend than the one before, and rather more civilised.  Our costume rental from Angels had lasted two weeks, and for a brief moment I felt sad that I hadn’t brought it all up with me to Suffolk. It would have been quite fun to sit in Veere’s great room, looking over the canal, in wig and coat (you realise, incidentally, how flattering the 18th century cut of clothes was designed to be).

But I hadn’t. We drove home slowly down the A12 and made our way back to London and by the time we had got home, I’m afraid I had rather run out of energy to write a blog that night.  Week Two, no blog.

Then, and here there are just a few photos, I’ve been spending the better part of the whole of last week helping Mum and Dad move into their new flat, in Poundbury.  I’m sure I’ll write a bit more about that when it’s all done – but it has been a monumental task, unpacking hundreds and hundreds of boxes and getting everything sorted.  I won’t show you the chaos.

Sitting Room nearly ready:

The kitchen with its amazing wallpaper by Lake August!  And yellow lino floor.

The central hallway, with blue grasscloth walls…

The outside of the building is nearly finished! 

Sue and Lloyd putting up curtains!  G P & J Baker. 

First supper in the kitchen…

Hallway pictures are up. Nearly. 

Well, anyone who’s moved house recently knows quite how stressful the whole thing is. Mum and Dad aren’t quite living there yet – that happens next week – and after a few weeks at the Parsonage they’ve gone up to my brothers for a few days to escape from packing boxes and Poundbury.  But with everything going on on for the whole weekend, and on Monday, you can see why I didn’t quite get around to a blog this weekend either.  In other circumstances, it would maybe have been about how beautiful and soft this recent autumn weather has been. I don’t think I’ve seen the village looking more beautiful in years.  But just for once, I didn’t even have a camera with me.

So, why now?  Well tomorrow morning, Charlie and I are off early to Venice for a tiny holiday.  We can’t wait.  And I thought I better tell you what we’ve been up to before that.


25 comments on this post

Alex Ginnsays:

The colour in your parents’ hall is gorgeous. I’ve just done a bathroom in Little Greene’s Canton, which is so intense that I felt terrified for two days going in there. Then I suddenly warmed up to it and a lot of other “colours’ now feel a bit lifeless. Truly vibrant.Lucky parents. Might go mad and do my hall in that and cause husband to breath deeply and do mindfulness exercises.


Envy. Envy all of those cleanly painted bookshelves in your parents’ apartment.


Love your blog! You have the most wonderful taste in the world and I am planning to visit your shop the next time I am in London.

nessa ryallsays:

How utterly splendid….such beauty and such joy… Thank you, and you were missed!


Dear Ben & Charlie
Thank you again for your wonderful blog and your very wonderful photos from your parents new home ! I love it, it shows your handwriting !
Enjoy your time in Venice, Rainer and me were last week in Tuscany, Italy is always worth to visit it.
All the best wishes,
Yours Birgit 🙂


Dear Ben
Thank you for sharing the inside of your parents flat. You are amazing at making a new home look interesting. I first heard of you after visiting the showhome in the roussillon Baracks development in Chichester. It was so different to any show home I had ever visited, so refreshing and original. I then found your blog which I love, so inspirational. Thank you Ben.


Lovely blog Ben some great pics love the temple. They say variety is the spice of life you and Charlie certainly have that. Charlie looks great blonde nice to have a change. Your mum and dads apartment looks beautiful l love the curtains in sitting room. Have a wonderful time in Venice is it your first visit? Please keep us posted on how it is would love to go sometime. Thank you once again for sharing your very varied and interesting life. Missed seeing Mavis and Littlebredy.


I knew it would be good. A veritable hedonistic cornucopia. I love the pale chalkiness of Veere’s paint choices: is his Temple a forerunner of a Huf Haus? Your parents are so lucky to have an expert on-tap interior designer to advise and execute. Please could you post some pictures of Venice? Best wishes to You and the Blonde, Nicola

Jennifer Phillippssays:

My goodness, from famine to feast. A new hair colour for Charlie and the wonderful home for your parents….look forward to more stories about that as well as the other antics, parties et al. Makes us regular folks seem rather boring compared to the busy life you have been enjoying. As for Venice, my favourite place in the world, very jealous on that score…hope you have a lovely break and that the tourist numbers are less oppressive as it is now more autumnal for you. Here in NZ we have seemingly swung from Spring to Summer and back to a wild burst of Spring craziness with snow falling in the Sth and hot sunshine in the north…..greetings from NZ anyway!

Nicola Lawrencesays:

Dear Ben – it’s all just so beautiful and inspiring. I turn 50 next year and can see I will have to up the anti for birthday celebrations after seeing/hearing about Lucy Claytons. The Nasturtium is such a happy wallpaper and I just love it – and as for Nympheus – it’s one of my all time favourite fabrics, in the Pistachio colourway at home but yours (your parents) looks so beautiful and esp, I’d imagine, with the nearby grasscloth. What a beautiful home you have organised for your parents. Have a great time in Venice, both you and Charlie xx


Your blog always makes me cry, Ben. Not sure if it’s from happiness or jealousy. Maybe a bit of both. Love the peek of your parents’ flat and can’t wait to see more!

Pierre B.says:

Nice “before/after” photos of your parents’ appartment!


Dear Ben,
this is just a lucky coincidence – but after nights spent on dreaming about all the possible blue tones, we have just painted the wall of our hallway with F&B Stone Blue, which looks exactly as the one you have chosen for your parents. We love it already, I can´t wait to put everything back to see the whole effect,it is an amazing color, so intense and bright.
Enjoy Venice, this is the perfect time to be there, and say hello to Charlie – the new look is very nice!


David Sanderssays:

Very impressed by the nice generous hallway in your parent’s new flat Ben. Every home should have one, as they are such wonderful places to loiter in.

lillian sharpsays:

I love, love ,love the kitchen. What is the name of the wallpaper?

the blog is as always just wonderful.


ps….love yer’ mum and dad’s teal walls!


thank you! for showing up to your blog, dear ben. wild times chorused with inspiring walks in nature’s wilds, as only an englishman could. yes, kiwi charlie does make a handsome blonde! a helpful large venice article in the just out oz vogue living mag, in case you are stumped for what to do/where to go. travel blessings, dear ben and charlie.



I completely adore your form of interior design. Every room you do, I love and every single one looks like it has been that way for years. Beautiful. Xx


Well this was a bit like a dessert buffet! Would have loved pictures of the Costume Caper, but you might have lost track of your camera. 😉 Your parent’s home is going to be stunning…love the blue hallway. Charlie’s hair is charming. Have a lovely time in Venice and “see” you soon. Safe home.


You were missed! So glad you are back. Your parent’s flat looks just grand. I hope there will be more photos of it in the future. Have a good time in Venice.


Well worth the wait! Crikey, you have been busy. AND, you also managed to fit in a splendid and stimulating talk at the Bridport literary festival about architecture, and have to live well to the rhythms of time. My head has been buzzing with thoughts and questions ever since. Brilliant!


Forgive me for not getting Laurel’s name right! It’s Laurel BERN, not Berg. Clearly , I need more tea to wake up..:-)


When given the opportunity, might as well fully embrace the fun things in life, seeing how precarious it all can be.
While you were ‘otherwise engaged’, I still had a delightful visit to your home via Laurel Berg’s blog. Laurel is a interior designer/huge fan of yours and all things classical design and architecture. A few weeks ago she had the opportunity to visit you and Charley and your wonderful house as part of a classic architecture tour, which she shared with her readers.
Your Mom’s flat will be so beautiful, and I esp love her curtains. I have the same PJ Baker curtain but in a different color. Their exuberant color and pattern just make me happy.


You are totally forgiven for sometimes being an occasional blogger and I’m confident none of your faithful readers will get the hump and desert you (I think there is a camel pun there somewhere)
Have a wonderful time in Venice you and gorgeous blonde Charlie. of course you will

Patricia Taylorsays:

What excuses for not writing the blog! It was certainly worth the wait.
I’ve been to Brunswick House so can certainly picture how splendid the
ball would have looked. Once again an uplifting peep into your life for which I thank you. Enjoy Venice.

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