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FForest: A Former Farm Transformed into the Ultimate Welsh Country Retreat

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FForest: A Former Farm Transformed into the Ultimate Welsh Country Retreat

May 4, 2017

Disillusioned with the gentrification of their formerly bohemian neighborhood, London creatives and entrepreneurs Sian Tucker and James Lynch decided it was time for a change. After some soul-searching in New Zealand, the couple found what they were looking for back home, or, more accurately, in Sian’s childhood home, the small village of Cwmplysgog in West Wales. There, the two bought a 200-hundred acre farm, FForest, which they transformed (along with their four boys) into a country retreat for other “city defectors” (if only for the weekend)—a place to stay, gather, eat, relax, and adventure in the great outdoors. Opened in 2007, today the FForest complex includes 500 acres on three sites, which include three different types of accommodations: tents, cabins, and restored historic homes. One of our favorites is the restored Georgian farmhouse.

Photography by James Gardiner, unless otherwise noted.

Nearly every space at FForest features traditional Welsh woven blankets designed by Sian. Loomed in a mill that has been in operation for 0 years, these wool textiles, including the Welsh Wool Coldatnight Blanket in Pebble Grey shown here, are available at the FForest shop; £5 ($3). Photograph by James Lynch.
Above: Nearly every space at FForest features traditional Welsh woven blankets designed by Sian. Loomed in a mill that has been in operation for 180 years, these wool textiles, including the Welsh Wool Coldatnight Blanket in Pebble Grey shown here, are available at the FForest shop; £245 ($316). Photograph by James Lynch.
Left derelict for 20 years, the 1800s farmhouse suffered from both decay and unfortunate modernizations. James and Sian, who spearheaded the design of all FForest accommodations, first gutted the interiors to reveal the original bones of the structure.

In the living area, the original slate walls and fireplace—quarried 0 years ago from the river gorge—peek out from the pine paneled walls.
Above: In the living area, the original slate walls and fireplace—quarried 200 years ago from the river gorge—peek out from the pine paneled walls.

When James and Sian finished gutting the original structure, they were left with “a cave.” They “liked the feeling of the cave, the atmosphere, but we had to figure out how to keep that feeling and add warmth, comfort, privacy, and the mechanisms of modern living.” Now, finished with textured materials such as wood, wool, and skins, the renovated interiors capture both the rusticity of a Welsh farmhouse and the adventurous feel of a Nordic ski lodge.

Original doors illuminate the kitchen interior. The high ceilings feature salvaged beams from the original structure.
Above: Original doors illuminate the kitchen interior. The high ceilings feature salvaged beams from the original structure.
The kitchen has a massive open inglenook with wood-smoking oven.
Above: The kitchen has a massive open inglenook with wood-smoking oven.
 Above, L to R: Nasturtiums in a vintage coffee pot illuminate a dark nook. In the dining area, handmade, local ceramics collected over the years by Sian and James are displayed on open shelves.
Above, L to R: Nasturtiums in a vintage coffee pot illuminate a dark nook. In the dining area, handmade, local ceramics collected over the years by Sian and James are displayed on open shelves.
The mudroom holds gear for hiking, swimming, boating, and more (even archery and bushcraft).
Above: The mudroom holds gear for hiking, swimming, boating, and more (even archery and bushcraft).
Bedroom details include fireplaces and more Welsh blankets.
Above: Bedroom details include fireplaces and more Welsh blankets.
Upstairs details such as the paneling and old door evoke a cottage-like charm.
Above: Upstairs details such as the paneling and old door evoke a cottage-like charm.
The dynamism of the design derives from a lively play of lights and darks.
Above: The dynamism of the design derives from a lively play of lights and darks.
Designed to inspire epic games of storm the castle, the bunk room at Ty Forest is a kid&#8
Above: Designed to inspire epic games of storm the castle, the bunk room at Ty Forest is a kid’s haven. Photograph by James Lynch.
A Swedish sauna.
Above: A Swedish sauna.
The farmhouse has five bedrooms, a large kitchen, and a flexible living area. Photograph by Jackson Tucker Lynch.
Above: The farmhouse has five bedrooms, a large kitchen, and a flexible living area. Photograph by Jackson Tucker Lynch.

Planning a trip? Here are more places to eat/shop/stay in Wales:

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