Country Life restoration of the century – could your restoration win?

** Visit the Restoration of the Century microsite

It is an amazing fact that the vast majority of all historic buildings in England from country houses to cottages, and from stable blocks to temples or follies-remain in private owner-ship. 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 agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, aims to celebrate the variety, interest and importance of privately undertaken restoration work to historic buildings carried out over the past decade (since January 2000).


Restoration comp logo

** Visit the Restoration of the Century microsite

Nominations for the competition can be of any scale-a great house, a cottage or even an important single room-and be in any context, rural or urban. The restoration can also be of any stylistic character. That is to say, the work 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 the competition will attract the broadest possible spectrum of nominations.

What will be judged 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 town or country house can be judged fairly against smaller-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 with more substantial operations; after all, a well-chosen coat of paint can transform a house or even an entire 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.

For further information, telephone Susannah Glynn on 020-3148 4449.

The competition plan

For the purposes of the competition, England will be split into five regions. From April 1, readers will be able to view entries online at the Restoration of the Century microsite and rate the entries as you see fit.

Three finalists in each region will then be chosen by Country Life and these will be profiled in the magazine towards the end of May.

One of five eminent judges-Loyd Grossman, chairman of Heritage Link; Sophie Andreae, trustee of the Georgian Group; author Jeanette Winterson; Tim Knox, director of the Soane Museum; and Will Palin, secretary of SAVE-will visit each region’s finalists and select regional winners.

The judges will then meet and decide on Country Life’s Restoration of the Century. The winners of the competition will be announced in the magazine in October

* Houses currently on the market are not eligible to enter the competition

** Visit the Restoration of the Century microsite