Sims Hilditch, Dorset Manor HouseFarmhouse Entry, Dorset
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5. Head outdoors for a brisk walk. A big meal begs for a brisk walk in the crisp air. Bundle up and get outdoors with your family and friends for a neighborhood walk after dinner (or while the turkey is in the oven). Or, if you’re looking for an activity that mixes charity with exercise, run in a turkey trot! These road races raise money for good causes and are held all across the United States on and around Thanksgiving.
5. Manor House With Country-Chic CharmThis 11th-century manor house with its very own lake has an amazing history and location, on the edge of a beautiful rural village. But when a family of five living in London bought it, the protected historic property was muddled and neglected. They approached architect Jeremy Lowe of BLA Architects and interior designer Emma Sims Hilditch to transform it into their dream home. Additions had been tacked on to the house over the centuries, which had led to an eclectic mixture. The designers restored a lot of the original features. They replaced a 1980s-style orangery with a contemporary garden room. And they changed the entire layout and interior of the building, taking great care to bring the home into the 21st century without losing any of its medieval charm. “It was lovely to find all the character and preserve what we could, adding in just to enhance it,” Sims Hilditch says. The result is a light-filled space that retains its traditional roots but has modern comforts.
Work with the seasons. Allow your home to reflect the time of year, and it will feel more enjoyable and nourishing. In the winter, put up heavy drapes that can be closed to keep in the heat, then light candles and, if possible, a fire to create a sense of coziness and protection from the elements. In the warmer months, open the windows so you can hear the birds, hang gauzy curtains to let in lots of warm, soft light and dot your rooms with wildflowers.
Houzz at a GlanceWho lives here: A family of 5Location: Wiltshire, EnglandSize: 6 bedrooms, 5 bathroomsThe family was eager to have a traditional English country interior. “They wanted classic fabrics and furniture,” Sims Hilditch says, “so plenty of wool and natural wood. They wanted it to feel like a real country house without being too precious.” This is the main door the family uses to enter the home. The space was originally a small hallway that opened onto a poky kitchen. “We knocked through the original kitchen and hallway and made the space into a more grand entrance,” Sims Hilditch says. Through the entry on the left is a playroom that leads to a boot room and powder room, and on the right is a conservatory — a glass extension added by bla architects. The hall “wiggles” around to allow entrance to the kitchen–dining area and pantry, plus a sitting room. The decoration in the entrance hall has been given as much attention as in the main rooms. “We wanted to have something really beautiful in the hall to give it character,” Sims Hilditch says. They had the curtains made from Chelsea Textiles fabric, and had a door custom made with glass panels to let light in. They also raised the ceiling, which exposed lovely wooden beams.Flooring: Avignon Soft Tumble limestone, Beswick Stone; curtain fabric: Queen Anne Vine in mauve (“less intense”), Chelsea Textiles; bench: custom; wall paint: Hardwick White, Farrow & Ball