Town and Country – can a country house look work for the city?

During a recent interview, a journalist asked me how we translate a country look for the city. The question came about because although Sims Hilditch is known for designing country houses our work is just as much in demand by clients with city homes. It got me thinking about the differences and similarities between city and country living and how we address those when we design.

Making space work

Clearly, the biggest difference between city and country living is the amount of space available. Country homes can be a rabbit warren rooms so we need to carefully consider the purpose of each room and how they flow into each other. There is also a lot of indoor-outdoor activity so we try to create areas to contain that, like boot rooms (one of the joys of country living is that you can devote an entire room to muddy shoes). By contrast, space is often at a premium in the city so rooms have to be multifunctional. Life can be more hectic so we focus on creating an oasis of calm and making sure there is enough practical storage.

Mixing old and new

As a design practice we have a strong sense of our design identity but we translate this appropriately depending on whether we are designing for the city or the country. We mix antiques and rustic pieces with bespoke furniture designs and we do this for both city and country properties. The key difference is that a country home has to have those strong pieces of furniture that are more defining of a country property. For the city we pare it back but there is also license to be a little more edgy. For example, a contemporary pattern on the floor rug suits a city home but would look out of place in a timeless country library as you can see below.

Use natural materials

And finally, a word on materials. In the city the tendency is to plump for glass and metal, which feel sleek. There is nothing wrong with these materials but if overused they can make a space feel cold and glitzy. We create balance by introducing natural materials that bring texture and warmth – like the use of timber in the images below.

That’s it for this month. We’ve got some exciting news to announce soon so keep an eye on our journal and social media channels.

Thanks for reading,
Love Emma

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