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FEATURE PROPERTY: Fashion designer sells character-filled Hyde Park home

Just a street away from King William Road at Hyde Park, fashion designer Binny Watson is selling her gorgeous sandstone villa boasting light-filled rooms, character features and a dramatic backyard vista of palm trees.

Belinda “Binny” Watson will sorely miss her home at 1 Clarence Street, Hyde Park, which has this week been listed for sale by expressions of interest.

The symmetrical villa features four character-filled bedrooms and two bathrooms and is set on a block of 464 square metres.

“The home has the most amazing light streaming into the back room all year round, and the courtyard provides such a nice sun-filled warmth to the bedroom,” says Binny.

“I love to swap the sitting room orientation around for winter and curl up on the sofas around the roaring fire with a book while watching the palms in the wind.”

Having lived in various locations across Australia for some two decades, Binny purchased the property in 2016 to return to South Australia and raise her son Ollie.

Binny grew up at Meningie, where her family bred thoroughbreds and merino sheep and still run the farm today.

“My real name’s Belinda, but ever since I was tiny, everyone calls me Binny,” she says.

“I grew up with the big skies and big paddocks, pelicans, the lake views and the Coorong. It’s untouched and that’s just how I like it.”

Since then, she’s had an eclectic working life, which started with studying law, dropping out to become an apprentice chef at the Hilton in the days of Cheong Liew, Bethany Finn and Simon Bryant.

“I’ve had as many career changes as I have had houses,” says Binny.

“I did a chef’s apprenticeship at the Hilton back in the Cheong Liew days and then worked for the iconic Tina Llewellyn and incredible Emma Reeves in catering.

“I then travelled overseas and somehow this segued into fashion design jobs based in Melbourne.”

She took a break from fashion to work for international thoroughbred stud Darley – owned by the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Mohammed – at its Double Bay office in Sydney and its stud in the Hunter Valley.

Binny returned to fashion, and in 2008 started her own business Binnywear out of her bedroom in Bondi as a side-project to her regular job.

“I had worked for other brands launching new labels for them so when I moved to Sydney I took a deep breath, quit my job, and focused on Binnywear,” she says.

“That only seems like yesterday. The business has gradually grown each year, it didn’t happen overnight.”

Today, Binnywear operates on King William Road, Unley, with a team of four staff, selling through wholesale and online channels Australia-wide.

“I’ve lived in countless houses and three states, three capitals and three coastlines, but it’s just so much easier to run a business from here than say, Sydney for example, and I’ve just loved living in this home,” she says.

It was in 2016, while living in Sydney with her son barely a few months old at the time, that Binny eyed a move back to South Australia.

She had spent a couple of years looking to relocate her business away from Sydney, and came across 1 Clarence Street, Hyde Park, and fell in love with the property.

“I had spent the last seven years in a tiny crumbling weatherboard apartment tucked in a steep corner of Wonderland Avenue overlooking Tamarama Beach in Sydney,” says Binny.

“I was drawn to the incredible backdrop of palms that frame the house and put an offer in almost that day after looking for nearly two years for something that felt right.

“I love the wooden detailing of the front verandah and I adore the archways and all the charm of an old home. Then, the view from the back room is such a great surprise.”

Adelaide provided the ease and lifestyle for running a business, while being close to her family and the farm at Meningie.

“I run my business from our head office on King William Road, not even a five-minute walk from home. I bounce between the family farm at Meningie and Adelaide all year round with my son Ollie and our two spoodles.

“Hyde Park is a really good place to have little kids because you’re so close to all the parks and good childcare.”

Although she has a primary passion for fashion, Binny also has a strong appetite for property and interior design.

“I feel it is all intrinsically linked … I really love it. I’m drawn to modern as much as traditional and love the challenge of creating a special space.”

Binny repainted the home inside and out, refurbished the floorboards, installed floor-to-ceiling robes in each room, updated the fireplaces and fittings to be more sympathetic with the heritage of the home.

She also updated both bathrooms to bring them out of the 80s.

Binny has commissioned a full renovation design by Spacecraft, but has not executed the plans – a new owner may wish to do so.

Binny will miss being able to nip over to King William Road for coffees, fashion and food.

“I have always lived close to a main strip – being on first-name terms with all your local shops is a lovely, welcoming feeling and makes you feel at home every day.”

The sale is being handled by Georgie Todd and Henry Gower Tillett of Harris Real Estate.

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