Dorian Bowen of The Welsh House on his favourite cottage

A traditional white cottage in Wales

Dorian Bowen of The Welsh House on his favourite cottage

A ceramic jug on the window of a Welsh cottage

Lime-washed walls and Welsh antique pieces lend an air of a retreat to Ty Unnos

Dorian Bowen of The Welsh House, which rents out rescued and restored rural cottages, talks about his favourite countryside escape, the effect of space on our well-being and the importance of a digital detox…

A ‘hole-and-corner’ is an old English term meaning a secret place: somewhere you go to escape the world, to be inspired and to contemplate and create. Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
For me it has to be Ty Unnos (One Night House), an authentic traditional Welsh cottage set in a remote, rural location in Carmarthenshire, with one of the best preserved Welsh cottage interiors (built 1755). With no WiFi, this place offers the perfect destination for those in search of a getaway where the focus is on slowing down and enjoying the rustic charms of a simpler way of life.

Can you explain why it is so special to you?
Having lived in London for 25 years, I was longing for a country retreat; somewhere to escape the crowds with a rustic interior. Rescued, rebuilt, revived and nurtured back to life – the love this little home in the Carmarthen countryside has been shown, it gives back in abundance.

All the buildings and outhouses are built using materials readily to hand: stones from the fields, clay from the ground and timber from the woods

Is it important to you to have somewhere to escape form the hustle and bustle of life?
I’ve become increasingly aware of just how much the space I’m in affects my mood and well-being. I love the simplistic, authentic interior of Ty Unnos which I find liberating. Modern technology means we can be connected anywhere, but if mobile phones, constant internet access and multiple social media accounts mean we’re always on call, then how can we switch off? With so many of us allowing our working lives to infiltrate our leisure time, then opportunities to truly relax are severely curtailed.

What do you like to listen to when you’re working?
Typically the radio: a mixture of Radio 4 and Classic FM but I also love hearing the birds outside in the garden.

What elements do you think make a perfect ‘hole-and-corner’?
I like to create a space more conductive to ‘hygge’ time; it’s a need more than a want. Turning off, shutting down, logging out: the digital detox holiday is here. We should all have a go at stashing away our digital addictions for a day or two and indulge in some good old analogue fun.

A green garden with a wooden fence and gate

The front door opens onto the garden and the rustic Welsh landscape beyond

Is it private to you or do you let other people visit?
It’s available for the right people – typically those looking for a digital retreat.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you.


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