How (not) to fix up a country house, by our interiors guru Giles Kime

Ignore your friends, take a long view and steer clear of anything that smacks of being fashionable: Giles Kime shares his advice on fixing up houses with the Country Life Podcast.

‘The ability to go in and specify everything for an interior might be within the powers of an interior designer,’ says Giles Kime, Country Life’s long-standing interiors guru.

‘ButI think when we’re doing on our own homes, it’s really important to take your time and put a lot of thought and effort into it.’

Giles has spent 35 years writing about interiors, the last seven of which have been with Country Life magazine. During that time he has bought, refurbished and moved on from a string of characterful homes, leading to his current project: a 1630 cottage in rural Hampshire.

He joined our podcast host James Fisher to share some of the tips he’s picked up over the year — and to tell some of the stories behind his hugely popular article on the Country Life website, ’10 things I wish I’d known about doing up old houses before I started.’

Taking a long-term view is a key part of Giles’s advice.

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‘Interiors is no place for fashion,’ he tells James.

‘To a certain extent, colours will come and go. But if it’s about a piece of furniture that has the capacity to last 100 years, which actually furniture should do, then I think people ought to take a much longer term view.’

Giles also explains why avoiding the advice and opinions of well-meaning friends and acquaintances is crucial.

‘Having done a lot of projects, it is extraordinary the amount of people who will come along and make it quite clear that you’ve slipped on a banana skin,’ he says.

‘And it’s similarly remarkable how, five years later, when they come back, they look at what you’ve done and they go, “Oh, gosh, yes. I didn’t really realise the potential of this house that you you bought. But actually, now you’ve done it all, it really is remarkable.”

‘I don’t know what it is, whether it’s a sort of general schadenfreude that that a lot of people have, but people are very quick to identify the negatives rather than the positives. Maybe it’s just part of the human condition.’

You can see more of Giles Kime’s articles at the Country Life website, or can follow him on Instagram @giles.kime where you’ll be able to see details of his upcoming talks and publications.

You can listen to the show wherever you get your podcasts, including:

Episode credits

Host: James Fisher
Guest: Giles Kime
Producer & Editor: Toby Keel
Music: JuliusH via Pixabay
Special thanks: Adam Wilbourn

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