The ‘hovering house’, with its dramatic living room cantilevered over a rushing river, is a modern nature-lovers retreat, half-camouflaged by Welsh woodland
Ty Hedfan – ‘hovering house’ in Welsh – is the work of Featherstone Young, whose buildings are thoughtful but often playful as well, and always very attuned to their surroundings. This is Sarah Featherstone and Jeremy Young’s own family home, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to stay in such a highly personal architect-designed building.
Set beside a river, it makes the most of its position by means of a cantilevered first-floor living space – not just a daring architectural feature but a way of getting around planning restrictions that prevented any construction too close to the bank – so you feel like you’re hanging in the trees, with the river flowing by underneath.
There is a beautiful use of natural materials here (inspired by the local vernacular, slate and stone); the way they link to one another is incredibly well done, and there are some wonderful carpentry and stonemasonry skills on display. There are two parts to the house – the main space, with its cantilevered living room, a double-height kitchen and dining area, and two bedrooms above; and, perpendicular to this, a partially buried wing with two further bedrooms and a study room with bed mezzanine, outside of which a green roof slopes down to blend in with the woodland setting. Lots of terraced areas and all that glass help to ensure that guests feel completely a part of the verdant surroundings.
The interiors are great too, with simple wooden furniture complementing the timber cladding and floors, some traditionally Welsh touches like the graphic blankets in the bedroom, and a few blasts of colour, like Donna Wilson’s rainbow-hued Motley ottoman in the living room. Lots of British design, too – not just Donna Wilson but Ercol chairs and Tom Dixon lights, so hurrah for that as well.
For me, this is one filed under ‘too nice to leave once you get here’ but I suppose it would be a shame to miss the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park nearby; after a fortifying walk I can’t think of anything more relaxing than curling up under a blanket in the living room, doors open, with the sounds of the river bubbling by below.
Nearby: The Brecon Beacons, with hillwalking, cycling, canoeing and horseriding; Brecon, 10 minutes away, with shops and cafes; Hay on Wye, world-renowned for its bookshops and literary festival, is 40 minutes north-east, and Abergavenny, gateway to the Brecon Beacons, is 40 minutes south-east.
Photos via Ty Hedfan website