It's now six years since the original Country Life Top 100 was published, but the aim hasn't changed: we name the very best architects, interior designers, craftsmen, builders and garden designers in Britain.
The country house, in all its successive incarnations, is a shared endeavour between clients, architects and craftspeople. Today, the increasing complexity of both building and restoration projects requires greater collaboration than ever before with experts who share a deep understanding, not only of architecture, gardens and design, but also their interplay with sustainability, thermal efficiency and ecology.
Thankfully, there’s a greater choice of experts than ever before. In interior design, architecture, garden design and craftsmanship, new arrivals bring ideas that are creating a growing number of exciting options.
That’s the reason that this list evolves each year with new additions, many of whom have a track record in bringing a pared-back aesthetic to houses and gardens, both old and new. We highlight the new entries below, and here are the links to see the full lists.
- Best architects in Britain
- Best interior designers in Britain
- Best garden designers in Britain
- Best builders and craftspeople in Britain
2022’s new additions to the Country Life Top 100
Richard Parr Associates
Founded by Richard Parr in 1994, this architectural practice is known for its ‘modern traditionalist’ approach to residential and hospitality projects around the UK, with a wealth of expertise in the Cotswolds and a strong reputation for reinventing historically sensitive sites.
The practice has recently completed the refurbishment of a 17th-century manor house, complete with Arts-and-Crafts additions, in Gloucestershire, and sensitively transformed an original farm hamlet into 17 hotel-room suites with a restaurant, indoor pool and spa to become the Farmyard at The Newt in Somerset. The practice has also transformed a historic barn into an award-winning additional workspace at its Cotswold office, and launched its new studio in London.
01453 860200; www.richardparr.com
Nicola Harding & Co
After studying garden design and working for renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard, Nicola Harding set up her own studio in 2008, gradually embracing commercial and residential interiors in addition to gardens. Now, she combines a sensitivity to the link between indoor and outdoor spaces with a playful blend of old and new, carefully chosen antiques and a joyful use of colour to add personality to all kinds of projects, including country houses, historic buildings, hotels and private members’ clubs, including the exuberant Beaverbrook Town House in Chelsea, London SW1. Her deep understanding of what it takes to make an inviting home ensures her studio is in demand: recent projects include a Victorian villa on the Thames and a Jacobean manor house in Northamptonshire.
020–8743 6690; nicolaharding.com
A fresh take on classic interiors ensures this studio, founded by Rosanna Bossom in 2014, is in demand. Known for her work alongside couture designer Rifat Ozbek on the design of private members’ club 5 Hertford Street, in Mayfair, W1, recent projects include London and country houses and a glorious folly in Worcestershire designed by Quinlan Terry Architects. The studio is currently working on a listed house in Regent’s Park and other projects in London, the Cotswolds and New York. The studio offers a capsule collection of made-to-order furniture and pretty accessories, too, from cushions to lampshades.
020–3488 9744; www.rosannabossom.co.uk
Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock lead an interior-design studio, founded in 2007, that is admired for its outstanding creativity and confident use of colour and pattern. With offices in London and Geneva, projects include elegant — yet also relaxed — family homes in the capital, across the UK, Europe and Hong Kong, as well as chalets in the Alps. They recently launched the Turner Pocock x Lorfords Contemporary collection of comfortable upholstered chairs and sofas. Other collaborations include The Bobbin Collection of furniture for Chelsea Textiles and painterly table linen for The Sette. A new collaboration with master rug-maker Peter Page launches this month.
020–3463 2390; www.turnerpocock.co.uk
Cleve West Landscape Design
The designer, author and multiple medal winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show won best in show at Chelsea two years in succession. He has been creating gardens with a calm sense of place since 1990 and he has a well-established reputation for designs that experiment with mass and scale, often featuring sculpture. More recently, he has also become known for a more naturalistic approach to gardens and those that celebrate biodiversity. A passionate advocate of a plant-based lifestyle, his dedication to the environment can be seen in his plant and material choices.
The studio undertakes a diverse range of projects from country estates to contemporary urban gardens, currently including a garden surrounding a medieval manor house in the Cotswolds and wild meadows and orchards for a modern house near Chichester in West Sussex.
020–8977 3522; www.clevewest.com
del Buono Gazerwitz Landscape Architecture
Italian-born Tommaso del Buono joined forces with American Paul Gazerwitz to set up their landscape-design practice in 2000, after working for the distinguished garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Both quali-fied landscape architects, they now have a leading reputation for thoughtful designs, tailored to respond to the essence of a place. They favour clean lines, often creating a strong structure complemented by softer planning to instil their gardens with a timeless, ethereal beauty. Taking on gardens and estates across the UK and Ireland, as well as Greece, France, Italy and the US, the studio has recently completed new gardens surrounding an early-18th-century Grade I-listed house, now a five-star hotel, in Ireland and extensive gardens for a Restoration period manor house on a Wiltshire estate.
020–7405 7405; www.delbuono-gazerwitz.co.uk
This luxury bespoke cabinetmaking company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, having recently expanded its production facility in Halstock, Somerset. Known for attention to detail and top-end craftsmanship, the firm offers a full interiors furniture and joinery service, including design, manufacture and installation.
It counts more than 500 years of cabinetmaking experience among its staff, which includes designers, project managers, veneerers, polishers and fitters. Undertaking projects across the UK and internationally, currently including Portugal and the south of France, Halstock is particularly well known for bespoke fitted furniture in kitchens, wine cellars, libraries, studies, home cinemas and dressing rooms.
Sister company Little Halstock, situated five miles down the road, produces freestanding pieces, such as dining tables, luxury safes and jewellery boxes.
01935 891762; www.halstock.com
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