It’s been six years since the original Country Life Top 100 was published, but the goal hasn’t changed: we name the very best architects, interior designers, craftsmen, builders and garden designers in the UK.
A country house in all its successive incarnations is a common cause of customers, architects and craftsmen. Today, the growing complexity of both building and restoration projects requires closer collaboration than ever before, with experts who share a deep understanding of not only architecture, gardens and design, but their interactions with sustainability, thermal efficiency and ecology.
Fortunately, there are more experts to choose from than ever before. In interior design, architecture, garden design and craftsmanship, newcomers bring ideas that create more and more exciting possibilities.
That’s why this list is updated every year with new additions, many of which have a track record of bringing a stripped-down aesthetic to homes and gardens, both old and new. We highlight new entries below and here are the links to see the full listings.
New 2022 additions to the Country Life Top 100
Richard Parr Associates
Founded by Richard Parr in 1994, this architecture firm is known for its ‘modern traditionalist’ approach to residential and hospitality projects across the UK, a wealth of experience in the Cotswolds and a strong reputation for renovating historic sites.
The company recently completed the refurbishment of a 17th-century manor house with arts and crafts additions in Gloucestershire and has carefully converted the original rustic farmhouse into 17 suites with a restaurant, indoor pool and spa to become Animal Farm at The Newt in Somerset. The practice also converted a historic barn into an award-winning additional workspace in the Cotswolds office and opened a new studio in London.
01453 860200; www.richardparr.com
Nicola Harding & Co
After studying garden design and working with renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard, Nicola Harding opened her own studio in 2008, gradually expanding beyond gardens to commercial and residential interiors. Now she combines a sensitivity to the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces with a playful mix of old and new, carefully selected antiques and a joyful use of color to give personality to all kinds of projects, including vacation homes, historic buildings, hotels and homes. private members’ clubs, including the exuberant townhouse Beaverbrook Town House in Chelsea, London, SW1. Her deep understanding of what it takes to create a cozy home keeps her studio in demand: recent projects include a Victorian villa on the Thames and a Jacobean manor in Northamptonshire.
020–8743 6690; nicolaharding.com
Founded by Rosanna Boss in 2014, this studio, founded in 2014, is in demand with a fresh take on classic interiors. Known for her work alongside fashion designer Rifat Özbek on the design of the private club 5 Hertford Street, in Mayfair, W1, recent projects include London and country houses, and a gorgeous Worcestershire madness designed by Quinlan Terry Architects. The studio is currently working on a gated community in Regent’s Park and other projects in London, the Cotswolds and New York. The studio offers a capsule collection of bespoke furniture, as well as beautiful accessories, from pillows to lampshades.
020–3488 9744; www.rosannabossom.co.uk
Founded in 2007, Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock lead an interior design studio that is admired for its outstanding creativity and confident use of color and pattern. With offices in London and Geneva, the projects include elegant yet tranquil family homes in the capital, the UK, Europe and Hong Kong, as well as chalets in the Alps. They recently released the Turner Pocock x Lorfords Contemporary collection of comfortable armchairs and upholstered sofas. Other collaborations include the Bobbin furniture collection for Chelsea Textiles and the picturesque table linen for The Sette. This month marks the start of a new collaboration with master carpet maker Peter Page.
020–3463 2390; www.turnerpocock.co.uk
Cleve West Landscape Design
The designer, writer and multiple RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal winner has been the best at the Chelsea Flower Show for two consecutive years. He has been creating gardens with a calm sense of place since 1990, and has a well-established design that experiments with mass and scale, often with sculpture. More recently, he has also become known for a more naturalistic approach to gardens and themes that celebrate biodiversity. A passionate supporter of a plant-based lifestyle, his dedication to the environment can be seen in his choice of plants and materials.
The studio is working on projects ranging from country estates to contemporary urban gardens, currently including a garden around a medieval manor house in the Cotswolds, as well as wild meadows and gardens for a contemporary home near Chichester in West Sussex.
020–8977 3522; www.clevewest.com
del Buono Gazerwitz Landscape architecture
Italian native Tommaso del Buono joined forces with American Paul Gazerwitz to form his landscape design company in 2000 after working for eminent garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Both skilled landscape architects, they now have a leading reputation for thoughtful designs designed with the essence of the place in mind. They prefer clean lines, often creating a solid structure complemented by softer planning to give their gardens a timeless, ethereal beauty. With gardens and estates in the UK and Ireland, as well as in Greece, France, Italy and the US, the studio recently completed new gardens around an early 18th-century Grade I listed home, now a five-star hotel. in Ireland and extensive gardens in a Restoration mansion on the Wiltshire estate.
020–7405 7405; www.delbuono-gazerwitz.co.uk
This bespoke luxury wardrobe company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year by recently expanding its manufacturing facility in Halstock, Somerset. Renowned for its attention to detail and first-class craftsmanship, the firm offers a full range of interior furniture and joinery services, including design, fabrication and installation.
Its employees have over 500 years of joinery experience, including designers, project managers, tilers, polishers and assemblers. With projects in the UK and abroad, now including Portugal and the south of France, Halstock is especially known for its custom built-in furniture for kitchens, wine cellars, libraries, offices, home theaters and walk-in closets.
Sister company Little Halstock, located five miles down the road, makes freestanding items such as dining tables, luxury safes and jewelry boxes.
01935 891762; www.halstock.com
Country Life has once again updated the list of the best architects in Britain.
Of all the decorating trends that have been in vogue over the past 50 years, be it Scandinavian style, minimalism.
Whether you are embarking on a new construction or painstakingly restoring a monument of architecture, craftsmen with excellent foundations work here.
A beautiful country house is just as important to its surroundings as it is to bricks and mortar, that is, to a better garden.