Country houses for sale

The best builders and craftspeople in Britain

Whether you're embarking on a new-build or painstakingly restoring a listed building, here is our choice of the craftsmen with excellent foundations.

Nigel Armstrong believes in the power of word of mouth. ‘There’s no substitute for personal recommendation,’ he says. ‘Research your builder thoroughly. Ask questions. Learn how they operate. Learn how the industry operates.’

A solid track record, he says, is vital: ‘Only employ a builder with vast experience of country houses and their owners.’ When comparing tenders and selecting your builder, consider quality, experience and service level, not only money.

Usually, the construction cost is fixed at the start of the work, so it’s essential that the design and specification are complete at this stage. Details that are overlooked before starting on site could cause cost uncertainty and delays.


Artichoke

Expert in bespoke kitchens, fitted furniture and architectural joinery, made in the company’s workshops in Somerset, it is sensitive to the requirements of listed and country houses and is in demand nationwide.

01934 745270; www.artichoke.co.uk


Carpenter Oak

Oak-framed house, building and extension specialist, it worked on the restoration of the Shackleton and Scott huts in Antarctica and, recently, the lantern-oak frames of the RIBA award-winning Brixton Department Store.

01803 732900; www.carpenteroak.com


Hare & Humphreys

Leading specialist decorator, known for the conservation of historic buildings, it has held a Royal Warrant since 2001, thanks to its work on Windsor Castle’s restoration after the fire.

020–7833 8806; www.hare-humphreys.co.uk


Moulding

Family-run for eight generations, specialising in the restoration and repair of old buildings, this company is based near Salisbury and operates within a 50-mile radius.

01722 742228; www.rmoulding.co.uk


Oakwrights

This Hereford-based company works nationwide on oak-framed garden buildings, extensions, garages and complete houses, often using traditional vernacular styles.

01432 353353; www.oakwrights.co.uk


Locker & Riley

This plasterwork specialist—doing design, production and installation— was responsible for the restoration of the Gothic glory of the ornate ceiling details and gilded mouldings of Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Victorian masterpiece the Midland Grand at St Pancras.

01245 322022; www.lockerandriley.com

One of Locker and Riley's plasterwork specialists at work

One of Locker and Riley’s plasterwork specialists at work


Prime Oak

The UK market leader in the manufacture and construction of oak-framed garden rooms and orangeries also produces timber-framed garages and annexes.

01384 296611; www.primeoak.co.uk


R. J. Smith & Co

Traditional builders with 40 years’ experience in historic buildings, monuments and bespoke commissions, the company also does conservation work, such as lath and plastering, and installing renewable-energy systems.

01256 892276; www.rjsmith.co.uk


R. W. Armstrong

This Hampshire-based residential builder covers London and south of England, specialising in new-build homes and refurbishment of period and listed properties.

01256 850177; www.rwarmstrong.co.uk

RW Armstrong

RW Armstrong pride themselves on their high standards


Stevensons of Norwich

The go-to experts in plasterwork, this firm is known for creating, installing and restoring architectural mouldings inside and out.

01603 400824; www.stevensons-of-norwich.co.uk


Symm

An upmarket building contractor, the company has a reputation for top-quality work, from restoration, joinery, cabinetry, decoration and stone masonry to general construction.

01865 254900; www.symm.co.uk


The best country house architects in Britain

Country Life has once again delved into its little black book and fully updated its list of the finest architects

The best garden designers and landscapers in Britain

A beautiful country house is as much about its surroundings as its bricks and mortar, something that the best garden

The best interior designers and decorators in Britain

Of all the decorating trends that have been in vogue over the last 50 years – be it Scandi, Minimalism