If I close my eyes and imagine my perfect Christmas country retreat it might look something like this. Although it seems to have fallen straight out of a fairytale, this isn't a magazine photoshoot - it's a real home. What's more it's available to rent through Under The Thatch, so you can book a stay for your own taste of the fairytale.
The vision and creation of Dorian Bowen, Ty Unnos is a traditional thatched cottage in a remote corner of Carmarthenshire. The idea behind the house originates from an old Welsh tradition in which it was believed by some that if a person could build a house on common land in one night then the land would belong to them.
This is a real ‘home-made home’ built in a traditional way using materials readily to hand, stones from the fields, clay from the ground and timber from the woods - an authentic reconstruction of the legendary 'one night house' built between sunset and sunrise.
I was lucky enough to be an early visitor to Ty Unnos shortly after Dorian completed work on it last year and it really was like stepping back in time to a museum quality interior. Internally the cottage has been furnished with traditional Welsh antiques inspired by a slate worker’s cottage from North Wales relocated in St Fagan’s National History Museum. The only truly modern element is the bathroom which features a stunning cantilevered bath!
Dorian made the tree out of larch twigs. I think it is quite possibly the most beautiful Christmas tree I have ever seen.
Picture windows offer inspiring views of the rustic Welsh landscape and lime-washed walls and antique Welsh furnishings lend it the air of retreat, with a refreshing lack of 21st century gadgetry.
Images © Ioan Davies.