The end of school term. Everyone is tired. Life has been a fast paced sprint for the past 7 weeks and we could all do with a moment or two to catch up with ourselves… And what better way to do so than escaping to a well designed hideaway in Wales, wifi free and largely mobile phone signal free too. In an age of constant connection I find it thoroughly refreshing not to have the option. To step back and refocus and just enjoy being with my four favourite people. And so, with that thought in mind, we packed everyone in the car straight after school last Friday and drove almost 300 miles to Bryncyn, a beautifully modernised holiday cottage nestled in the Welsh hills.
Before I share my thoughts on our stay I wanted to ask Bryncyn’s owner Dorian Bowen a little about the house. Here is what he said…
“I acquired the cottage in 2007 a simple traditional Welsh cottage probably built at the turn of the Century but it was in a pretty bad state when I acquired it. Most of the interior was in a poor state of repair and to be honest there was very little worthy of preserving. I was heavily influenced by John Pawson who taught me to strip away whatever was no longer necessary until you reach a point where if you remove anything else it may well collapse and I pretty much adopted this approach in the main house, removing anything which I think was no longer needed, for example the partition wall on the ground floor.
In the extension I was influenced by the National Theatre in London and thankfully my brother, who works in Civil Engineering, assisted me on the design of the extension. Once again the idea was to push the boundaries and see how far we could take the design. Thankfully he had the expertise to put theory into practice, we used wooden planks which were sandblasted to give the wood effect on the concrete. The glass door was my idea and although I looked at various alternatives the costly sliding door does give this place special connection with the outside. Because I knew this was going to be holiday let at the outset, what set it apart from so many other cottages was the addition of a hot tub. I decided to opt for the cedar hot tub. By incorporating a hot tub I wanted to enclose it for privacy but at the same time give you the spot to see the clear skies at night
I guess that I also wanted to showcase how you can modernise an old cottage without being precious about the idea of extending. I think the contrast works well and there are elements of tradition conveyed though the wood effect concrete.”
Bryncyn is, in my humble opinion, a little bit special. It has charm and character in abundance, from the ladder access to the room above the kitchen which Millie slept in (all three children insisted on climbing said ladder within about 30 seconds of arrival) to the inglenook fireplace with a modern stove, to the enormous sliding door, perhaps better described as a sliding glass wall, which opens to the back of the house where the sheltered hot tub sits.
Every wall and surface is interesting. It is a textural delight. I must confess to having taken over 400 photographs (although I am going to claim a whole lot of them as trials for playing with manual settings on my camera…) Suffice to say my cutting room floor is covered.
We lit the fire, ate croissants for breakfast, explored the local area and found a beautiful beach at Penbryn. We played board games, hide and seek, watched the cows in the field next door and some of us ventured into the hot tub. Not me. I draw the line when its below 10 degrees outside. We sat and we talked and we enjoyed every single minute. Even the grumpy tired children ones, as that is the end of half term for you. It rained, it was windy, then it was sunny and calm. It felt like an eternity in a few short days. Time slowed down.
I won’t go on, although I could, lets just say I adored this little cottage with its characterful interior and the wonderful time we had there. We wanted for nothing, and if you are looking for a secluded destination then I can’t recommend it highly enough. This little corner of Wales stole a bit of my heart.
Before I share a few more of my (plentiful) photos, Dorian has given me a discount code that is currently valid to share with you. You can enjoy £25 off any holiday up to the end of 2016 booked by 30 November using the code MODERNISTIC when booking.
Dorian also shares a journal which you can find here.
Our stay at Bryncyn was gifted, all thoughts and opinions are very much my own. We loved it xx