Many of you told us that you enjoyed meeting some of the owners of our Under the Thatch family in last week’s newsletter, so here are a few more we’d like to introduce you to!
Nick Davies, Y Capel & Y Becws
Nick Davies, like ourselves, has always had a renovation project or two on the go. We came across Nick when filming the television programme Y Tŷ Cymreig (The Welsh House) for S4C, and writing Cartrefi Cefn Gwlad Cymru – Houses of the Welsh Countryside. His restoration of a semi-derelict upland farmstead, Plas Pennant, was exceptional, so much so that we put it on the cover! Nick went back to Uni in his 30s to do a postgraduate degree in Building Conservation and moved from the Peak District to Wales where he became Cadw’s Inspector of Historic Buildings for north Wales, leaving in June this year after 22 years. Within the grounds of Plas Pennant you’ll find two impeccably renovated projects of his – Y Becws and Y Capel.
Jen Jones, Dolau Canol
Jen Jones, from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, arrived in the UK in 1970 and has since become the doyenne of Welsh quilts. Jen loved Welsh blankets and quilts, and gradually became the most significant collector and dealer in them. She was instrumental in establishing the Welsh Quilt centre in Lampeter and in publishing books on the subject. Her marriage to conservation architect Roger Clive-Powell gave the pair the perfect skills to restore and decorate eighteenth-century Dolau Canol in the Teifi valley, where you’re always sure to find a traditional carthen (blanket) or quilt on the bed or walls. Jen lives just down the lane where she runs a small shop selling quilts and blankets, and the Quilt Centre is only minutes away.
Greg, Under the Thatch Director
Greg’s an architectural historian and vernacular conservation specialist who quit academia to work hands-on rescuing traditional buildings in need – originally in Wales, but later also in Andalucia, Poland and Ireland. Mickey’s Cottage is a personal favourite as it has a traditional exterior, with a modern interior, and an unbeatable location with what is effectively private beach access (beach accessed only by UTT properties or the sea). Greg co-authored the book on Donegal vernacular (Traditional Cottages of County Donegal), as well as others on Welsh architecture, interiors, prefabs, 1930s homes, ceramics etc.
Roland & Ralph, Ffin y Parc
Ralph is the leading Welsh gallerist, and Roland is a chef and jazz player – the perfect combo for managing the three UTT apartments in the service wings of their country house between Llanrwst and Betws-y-Coed. No surprise then that the Ffin-y-Parc apartments have wonderful art on the walls, and delicious biscuits or cake in the welcome baskets. If you’d like to stay you’d better hurry, as these boutique boltholes are closing at the end of 2023 when the boys move the gallery up to Llandudno. DISCOVER THEIR WORK
Jane & Jonathan, Garth Gell
Jane and Jonathan established Hackett & Holland architects back in 2001 and have consistently been named since among House & Garden’s Top 100 Interior Designers. You’ll recognise their projects by their light-touch classical design and clean, timeless lines. Their restoration of Garth Gell in Eryri (Snowdonia) is a delight – retaining all the character of the 1805 house and the magic of being off-grid, high up on a mountainside. These days the house is owned by Jonathan’s brother Lewis and wife Kathleen who runs Alpaca Pie clothing company, and is also well regarded for her interior projects.
It felt like a great loss to UTT when owner Megan Huggins passed away earlier this year, but it doesn’t feel right to discuss the owners that have helped make us the success that we are without giving her credit for the two fantastic restorations that she undertook at Islawr y Dref on the slopes of Cader Idris – Gallestra and Cae Einion. These family farms have been in her family for generations, but needed considerable work to bring them to modern standards. Her meticulous restoration reviving the farms has brought joy to many, and they’ve been perennial favourites of our customers since. Megan was from the farm, of that mountain, and her dream was that it could continue in family hands for future generations.