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Exterior

Joanna and Simon


landscaped the front
garden, which was
previously gravel,
laying a new lawn and
planting wildflowers
S LCUO
W I LT S H I R E GT H
TAEG
RE

GAME CHANGER
The ambitious overhaul of this worker’s cottage enabled
Joanna and Simon Binder to switch from weekend
visitors to full-time countryside dwellers

COUNTRY HOMES & INTERIORS 29


Boot room
Boot room The original cottage walls
Oak windowsills provide have been sealed with a
a modern finish. Wicker warm shade of limestone
storage basket, The Basket paint. Walls painted in Red
Company, is similar Ochre by Rose of Jericho

C hanging the direction of Joanna and Simon


Binder’s life from long-term city dwellers
to committed countryside lovers took only
one weekend. The epiphany happened 20 years ago,
when the couple visited Joanna’s boss who lived in a
picturesque valley near Bath. ‘We were smitten and by
the end of the weekend he had found us a property to
rent in a small village nearby,’ recalls Joanna.
Joanna’s job in fashion and Simon’s in the restaurant
business meant they needed to stay in London during
the week, but every weekend could return to Wiltshire.
About 10 years ago, Simon sent a note around the
village asking if anyone had any dry storage for cars. ‘We
received a reply from a cottage we’d always admired in
the hamlet outside the village, but they told us in order AT HOM E WI T H. . .
to benefit from the storage we would have to buy the
house as they were moving,’ says Joanna. Drawn to the Owners Joanna Binder is
location, the pair recognised the opportunity to develop managing director of interior
the house’s barns for additional guest accommodation. design firm Sims Hilditch and her
husband Simon works in the
Since buying the property in 2010, the couple have
restaurant business. They live here
embarked on an ambitious renovation that has unfolded with their red setter, Lily.
in two stages – first the main house and then, several House A worker’s cottage built
years later, the barns. ‘The cottage entrance was small, in the early 19th century.
so the first thing we did was open it up and change the
position of the staircase,’ says Joanna. ‘We also cut >

30 COUNTRY HOMES & INTERIORS


W I LT S H I R E C O T TA G E

Kitchen
Beautifully arranged
foliage brings the
outside in. Bespoke
table, Bow Wow. Ceiling
lights, Trainspotters
W I LT S H I R E C O T TA G E
Kitchen
Steel worksurfaces are
low-maintenance and
functional. The absence of
upper cabinets gives the
kitchen a spacious feel.
Cabinetry and worktop,
Mackenzie Wheeler
Architecture & Interiors

` THE KITCHEN FEELS LIKE AN


OPEN, FRIENDLY ENTERTAINING
SPACE WITH THE LARGE TABLE
CENTRAL TO THE ACTION a
COUNTRY HOMES & INTERIORS 33
W I LT S H I R E C O T TA G E

Living room
Textures of fleece, faux fur
and leather bring an earthy,
natural feel to the space.
Sofa, The Conran Shop.
Coffee table, Bow Wow

back the walls, which had been added to over the years
for insulation, but were thick and cumbersome. We raised LIVING THE DREAM
the ceilings in some cases and dropped them in others, Joanna describes the leap from being
plus we opened up all the windows to let more light in.’ ‘weekenders’ to fully-fledged locals.
The gardens were also landscaped. ‘At the front of the
house was a massive area of gravel, so we laid turf and What did you find most
daunting about leaving
created beds,’ says Joanna. They also planted two large London permanently?
orchards of more than 50 trees, as well as a wildflower
‘Making the decision actually to move
meadow to encourage bees and butterflies.
full time was very difficult and it took
It was after the completion of the barns that Joanna and a few years. We did it gradually,
Simon finally took the plunge to move here permanently. changing our work patterns and
They have given the cottage a ‘modern country’ interior. lifestyle accordingly.’
Wide pale oak floorboards bring a clean, simple quality Has your wardrobe
to many of the rooms, with reclaimed terracotta tiles changed since moving?
giving an authentic aesthetic to the kitchen. ‘The kitchen ‘When not at work, we’ve adopted
feels like an open, friendly entertaining space with the a more casual approach to country
dressing. We have a permanent
large table central to the action,’ says Joanna. Bathrooms supply of walking boots, wellies
were refreshed with Moroccan stone and Tadelakt and waterproofs at the ready.’
waterproof plaster. Smart joinery for windowsills in the same What do you miss most
light oak as the floorboards helps to unify the interiors. about London?
The shift from town to country has turned out to be a ‘Most definitely the choice of so many
positive change for Joanna and Simon. As Joanna says, great restaurants and different cuisines
‘The more you’re here, the more you get out of it.’ on your doorstep, and our London
Architecture by Mackenzie Wheeler, cabbies – I love them.’
mackenziewheeler.co.uk

34 COUNTRY HOMES & INTERIORS


Landing Main bathroom
The hall was updated with Placing the bath under the
smart tongue-and-groove low eaves makes excellent
cladding and Joanna’s use of the space. Sink,
grandfather’s chair was Duravit. Taps, Zucchetti
reupholstered. Painting,
antiques shop find

` TO ACHIEVE OUR MODERN COUNTRY-


INSPIRED INTERIOR, WE RAISED THE
CEILINGS, PLUS WE OPENED UP ALL THE
WINDOWS TO LET IN MORE LIGHT
a

Guest bedroom
The oak headboard, made
by a local joiner, doubles
as a display shelf. Rug, The
Conran Shop. Bedsheets,
The White Company. Throw
and cushions, Neptune
W I LT S H I R E C O T TA G E

ON OUR DOORSTEP Main bedroom


Stripping back the ceiling
and cladding the roof in oak
Visit… ‘Westonbirt, The National gave the room a more spacious
Arboretum (forestryengland.uk/
feel. Jute rug, The Conran Shop.
westonbirt-the-national-arboretum),
Mirror, Skandium
near Tetbury. It has trees from
around the world. Lacock
(nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock-abbey-
fox-talbot-museum-and-village),
a National Trust village with a
lovely abbey and beautiful
walks, is also close.’
Shop at… ‘Allington Farm Shop
(allingtonfarmshop.co.uk) near
Chippenham. It started off as a shack
selling meat and veg and now it’s a
full-blown deli with everything.’
Go for a meal at… ‘The White
Hart (whitehart-ford.com) on the river
at Ford for a Sunday roast.’

FEATURE JULIET BENNING PHOTOGRAPHS ADAM CARTER

36 COUNTRY HOMES & INTERIORS