It is an amazing fact that the vast majority of all historic buildings in England – from stately homes to cottages, from stable blocks to temples or follies – remain in private ownership. Also, that the huge cumulative resources of love, labour and money that are invested in preserving and improving them are, to all intents and purposes, taken for granted.

This competition, in Association with the estate agent Jackson Stops & Staff,  aims to celebrate the variety, interest and importance of privately undertaken restoration work to historic buildings undertaken over the last decade (since January 2000).

Nominations for the competition can be of any scale – a great house, a cottage or even an important room – and be in any context, either rural or urban. The restoration can also be of any stylistic character. That is to say, it can be in keeping with the period of the original fabric or be contemporary in style. By leaving the terms of reference open, it is hoped that the competition will attract the broadest possible spectrum of nominations.

What is being judged in this competition is not the scale or ambition of restoration projects, but the more understated qualities that underpin them. Of particular importance are sensitivity to the historic fabric, ingenuity of approach and fine craftsmanship. In addition, the finished product must be of exemplary quality and possess flair, appeal and interest.

By these criteria, the complete restoration of a  tow orcountry house can be judged fairly against comparatively small-scale undertakings such as the renovation of an estate cottage or a terraced house. So too can well-thought out but relatively modest interventions be compared to more substantial operations; a well chosen coat of paint can, after all, transform a house or even a street.

Every restoration is a public statement of belief by the owner in the intrinsic value and importance of the particular building that has been repaired. Where they are successful, moreover, individual restoration projects can introduce whole areas to a virtuous cycle of investment and regeneration. In this sense, we all benefit from the private investment in historic architecture. This competition can help us celebrate this.

Nominations may be posted or emailed from the time the competition opens.

* Download the entry form 

Enter by email:

Please email Susannah_glynn@freelance.ipcmedia.com with the term Restoration in the subject.

Included in the email please make sure there are the following details:

* Name of restored property/project

* Contact name, phone number and email address for nomination

* Briefly give your reasons why you think this restoration should be nominated

* Dates of restoration

* Name of architect, if applicable

Closing date for entries is midnight 5th May 2010

Entries must include a minimum of one ‘before’ photograph and three ‘after’ photographs. Owners must be happy for the project to be featured in the magazine/website if required.

Properties for sale are not eligible for entry.

Full terms and conditions (link to www.countrylife.co.uk/restorationterms) 

The Competition:

For the purposes of the competition, England will be divided into regions. A shortlist of restoration projects nominated in each region will be published in Country Life towards the end of May. It will be possible for readers to view the short-listed entries online and also to vote for their favourites.
From this shortlist, a group of three finalists in each region will be chosen. An eminent judge will be charged with visiting the three finalists in each region and selecting from them a regional winner. All five judges will then meet together and decide upon Country Life’s Restoration of the Century. The winners of the competition will be announced in the magazine in November.
Please note that houses currently on the market are not eligible for the competition.
Entrants (and owners of properties entered into the competition as well as the photographers) must understand that pictures submitted to the competition could appear to visitors to the website www.countrylife.co.uk/restoration and also in the print publication Country Life in connection with this competition.

For further information, and to send in your entry please contact Susannah Glynn (020-3148 4449; susannah_glynn@freelance.ipcmedia.com)