Our Quality Cottages are all privately owned. When we meet with the owners we often hear some great stories such as how the houses were found or inherited, why they were bought, how they were renovated, etc. Here is our latest story, shared by owner Mr J Waite, about Bwthyn Mair, a fascinating 17th century Snowdonia holiday cottage near Portmeirion in Snowdonia.
The property was dated by the Gwynedd County Architect. It was built about 1630 based on the features such as the windows, stone spiral staircase, bressamer beam over the inglenook and the chamfer stops on the big beams. All of these features changed frequently according to fashion in those days and our mix enabled him to date the building fairly accurately. It was originally an inn built in the standard layout in Snowdonia at that time and was probably used by cattle drovers on their way to London from Lleyn Peninsula and Anglesey.
We have had the house since 1991 and have done a lot of work and we have attempted to retain and restore the original character. Works have included new drains, shower room, bathroom, central heating and plumbing, electrical wiring, water treatment plant and oak front door and banisters.
The ground floor was replaced with the riven slate floor and all walls were plastered with lime plaster. We used old pine where we had to replace floorboards upstairs.
The huge inglenook and the solid stone spiral staircase are special and our favourites because they are so unusual and reflect the quality of the original building.
We discovered our house as we restored it. Many features had been covered over in an attempt to make it look more modern! The original panelling was covered by more than 10 layers of wall paper. The stone staircase was completely concealed under a wooden staircase. Otherwise the whole house was lined with pine boarding from about 1900. This hid many features such as window ledges and fireplaces. Even the inglenook was bricked up with a modern fireplace in the wall. Gradually as work progressed everything fell into place and we used suitable hinges and door furniture and a skylight that copied earlier designs. No screws were used if we could use period nails instead. Wires and pipes were concealed as much as possible taxing our ingenuity.
The two local pubs are quite different. In Maentwrog village “The Grapes” is an old coaching inn, mentioned in Wild Wales by George Borrow. Now converted into a gastro pub it has a contemporary menu with Welsh beers. Nearer, just down the hill, “The Oakley Arms“ is more family friendly with a child’s play area and typical pub grub with no frills.
Bwthyn Mair is a Snowdonia holiday cottage straight out of a fairytale. It sleeps 4 guests in 2 bedrooms and has wifi. For more information about the cottage and how to book a holiday click on Bwthyn Mair.