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Tag Archives: Ben Pentreath

The New Higher-Impact Way to Hang Art

how to hang photos

Willliam Waldron

British architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath had finally persuaded an English antique map peddler to part with his last copy of a detailed engraving of 18th-century London’s streets. But the triumphant cartophile faced one problem: how to hang the 24 panels that comprised the 13-by-7-foot map.

Mr. Pentreath turned to a technique designers use on collections of similarly sized art (or large images broken into pieces): Framing each panel identically, he butted them to form a tight grid. This kept the presentation compact and imposed a pleasing geometry over the unruly arch of the Thames. (Antique maps of this size often come ready-made in panels, and Mr. Pentreath doesn’t recommend taking scissors to an image to achieve this look.)

The grid technique is arguably more surprising when you’re framing individual but related images. This refreshing alternative to salon-style hangings has major impact but captures viewers’ attention more quietly than the “trendy, heroically-sized works” that “consume the viewer as well as the room,” explained Manhattan-based designer Jeffrey Bilhuber.

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“The individual images draw you in,” said another New York designer, Richard Mishaan,“and when you stop looking closely, they become a wallpaper.” He hung 12 photos by Massimo Vitali in a client’s dining nook. The shots—from crowded Italian beaches to Alpine resorts—share an overexposed, sun-faded quality that unites the group. Any thread, such as genre or color scheme, can unify botanical prints, 19th-century silhouettes, even vintage wallpaper samples.

Explaining why he massed a client’s collection of etchings by German artist Thomas Schütte, Mr. Bilhuber said, “Having them in this grid format creates a dialogue.” Dispersing them throughout the house breaks up the narrative, diminishing their impact.

Thin, equal-sized frames work best. Matting can compensate for slightly different sizes of art. And a second set of eyes will help make sure the arrangement coheres.

Downsizing is completely acceptable. “A 10-by-10 grid of 1-inch-square intaglios,” said Mr. Bilhuber, “could be powerful.”

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Everything You Need to Know About Kate Middleton’s Interior Designer

For starters, he was recommended by Prince Charles.

royal family apartment

When you’re renovating a royal residence, you want design help from the best of the best. That’s why Prince William and Duchess Catherine enlisted the help of Ben Pentreath when they moved into their Kensington Palace apartment.

What made him qualified? For starters, he studied at the Prince of Wale’s Institute of Architecture before opening his own practice in London in 2004. Oh, and then there’s the fact that he came highly recommended by Kate’s father-in-law, Prince Charles, after the work he did on the Poundbury model village in Dorest and Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall estate.

kate middleton interior designer
THE NEW YORK TIMES/VIMEO

With Pentreath’s help, the royal family settled on a neutral palette paired with modern sofas an dramatic curtains for their apartment. The floor boasts an oatmeal-colored carpet with a large patterned rug that grounds the seating area. And, of course, there’s abundance of side table lamps — though we believe Kate mixed in a few of her own lamp and pillow purchases from places like Anthropologie and Zara Home, too.

image

However, the apartment wasn’t the pair’s first collaboration together: Penatreath also worked with Kate on Anmer Hall, which is the family home they escaped to after the birth of Princess Charlotte. The Georgian mansion is located on the Sandringham Estate, which is where the queen holidays, and has 10 bedrooms (no big deal).

anmer hall

If you want to live in a home Kate Middleton would approve of, Pentreath has two books you can take cues from: English Decoration, which was published in 2011, and he just released a second book, English Houses. This means it’s only a matter of time until we’re best friends with Kate, right? Right?!’

Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About Kate Middleton’s Interior Designer

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