Podcast: Britain’s best architects, interior designers, craftspeople and garden designers

Giles Kime joins James Fisher on the Country Life Podcast to explain how he and the team come up with the definitive list of country house specialists in Britain.

For the past eight years, the Country Life Top 100 has been the essential list when it comes to finding the best architects, builders, interior and garden designers in the UK. The list is the brainchild of our Interiors Editor Giles Kime, who has used his decades of experience to showcase two of our nation’s great talents — architecture and design.

Giles joins James on the podcast for a second time, becoming the first returning guest, to discuss the history of the Top 100, what it takes to be included, who chooses what and, most importantly, why a list such as this one matters.

Country Life has had a rich tradition of promoting and maintaining our built heritage, dating from the magazine’s inception in 1897, when we were early champions of now-legendary names such as Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. As Giles points out, the Top 100 is more than just a directory, it’s a list designed to inspire and elevate the next generation of artisans and craftspeople. Perhaps someone in our list will be the next Edwin Lutyens or Gertrude Jekyll?

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While a lot has changed between 1897 and now (materials, sustainability implications, styles), one thing will always remain, says Giles, and that is timelessness. Not to be confused with ‘tradition’, Giles adds that ‘what is exciting about the best houses being built or restored today is that, increasingly, they combine desirable qualities both from the past and the present’. It’s that principle that has guided the best country house design and, by extension, those included on our list.

By beginning with functionality, with things that work for people in terms of comfort and practicality, timeless design grows outwards into a style and approach that is less likely to date. Timelessness is creating and restoring buildings ‘with a capacity to evolve as needs change’. You can find the Country Life Top 100 in the magazine on March 6, 2024, or on the website.

Episode Credits

Host: James Fisher
Guest: Giles Kime
Producer and editor: Toby Keel
Music: JuliusH via Pixabay