This enchanting Welsh farmhouse looks like its straight out of a fairy-tale. Nestled deep in the Denbighshire countryside just outside the market town of Ruthin, it’s been lovingly renovated and restored by Charles and Linda Whittingham.
It was an estate agent friend who first brought the dilapidated house to their attention. Despite being locals to the area for over 50 years, they had never seen the old limestone farmhouse, sitting at the end of a very overgrown lane, just one mile from their home. The house needed a lot of work, but they were completely captivated by the surrounding landscape and peaceful setting. Previously a working farm, the house is estimated to be at least 200 years old. It was built in the traditional local style, with white washed walls constructed out of limestone from the village quarry and a classic welsh slate roof.
When the property came up for auction the couple were traveling in Italy. They had to bid over the phone and had their offer accepted whilst sitting on the steps of the Vatican in Rome. Charles and Linda had never renovated a property before. As farmers they weren’t intimidated by the 17 acres of unmaintained land, but taking on a damp and rundown house was going to be a huge project.
Charles was actually physically involved in the renovation, acting as project manager, while Linda was in charge of the decor. The couple redesigned the internal layout themselves. They demolished extensions, leaving the original rectangular house and adjoining barn. New roof timbers were fixed in place alongside existing beams and the disintegrating slates were replaced. A highlight of the project was recovering original fireplaces hidden behind 1970s fittings.
Linda’s interior style was strongly influenced by family holidays in Provence. There is definitely a rustic French feeling to the décor. Hallway walls were removed to create a spacious farmhouse kitchen, complete with limestone flooring and exposed stone walls. I particularly love the neutral coloured aga, traditional butchers block and large large farm table.
They were careful to maintain the adjoining barn’s original features. The collapsed window has been restored and offers a spectacular view of the lake. The barn space now provides a fantastic entertainment area and has even been kitted out with a hot tub, pool room, bar and two reclaimed cartwheels. I love the rolling lawn leading down to the jetty, where one can enjoy gin and tonics while watching the sunset.
The renovation took 18 months to complete. Charles and Linda describe it as a labour of love, but they definitely don’t regret their decision to buy this unique home. They have made a huge effort to retain the historical character of the house, while making sure it’s fitted with high-end modern luxuries (like under-floor heating). Their dedication to using local producers and keeping it as eco-friendly as possible is admirable.
Luckily for all of us, the couple now rent out this gorgeous home as a holiday let through Unique Home Stays.
All photos shared with kind permission from Unique Home Stays (www.uniquehomestays.com +44(0) 1637 881183.)