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Lovely book, but almost no different to the blog
on 28 January 2013
I am addicted to Ben Pentreath's blog, which is beautifully written and photographed, and updated every few days. I love his shop in Bloomsbury, with its ever-changing and joyously displayed stock. His interior decorating style - minimal structural alteration, the restoration of period detail, and an eclectic and unpretentious layering of modern, retro, vintage and antique furnishings and artwork - is gorgeous, comfortable and practical. I want his country parsonage, his London flat, and his garden. In fact, I want to live his life.
I had hoped this book would introduce me to Ben's wider design portfolio, but unfortunately I was really disappointed. It contains only images that are already available on his blog, or duplicated in other interiors books, notably Farrow & Ball's bestseller 'Living with Colour'. (Property porners will even recognise one house as a long-term listing on Rightmove, yours for a mere £3m). Moreover, the pictures are actually less appealing than they appear on screen. Looking over the blog on an iPad brings Ben's use of vibrant colour and contrasting textures to life; here it's evident printing technology is now a poor second to pixel perfection.
'English Decoration' was a present from Father Christmas and so naturally I'm very grateful. But those of you contemplating purchasing for yourselves: why would you pay for something you can read for free on the internet? I'm still happily buying books, but it's time publishers realised that we readers expect original content, not just screenprints in hard covers.