When Mike saw the property for the first time in August 2015, he rapidly formulated a plan to revive the fortunes of this iconic building. It had previously been a prestigious hotel and destination restaurant, but had latterly operated as a House of Multiple Occupancy with a hotel as a sideline. According to our building surveyor, the property is mostly sound but suffering from neglect going back many years.
Our refurbishment plan has five major phases, and the overwhelming majority of this work will be undertaken by Team White (aka Carrie and Mike). To date, the exceptions are an emergency roof repair in December 2015, and a new boiler fitted in July 2016.
The stages of work are:
1. Purchase the property. This was achieved, with vacant possession, in December 2015.
2. Investigate breach of damp-proof course. Responding to our surveyor’s report, we dug a trench to explore and relieve damp issues. This demonstrated that the external brick-weave path was breaching the damp proof course, in some places by more than 30cm. Even worse, when it rained, the path drained into this trench and so we had to remove 9,000 pavers along with approx. 80 tons of builders rubble and slate chippings to resolve the problem. The area has been partially laid to grass and planters have been incorporated. Work completed Jan to March 2016.
3. Refurbish bar. To create a cafe restaurant with attached catering kitchen, the wooden bar was stripped out and the old beer ‘cellar’ emptied. These leaky and dark rooms have been improved by completely replacing one pitched slate roof and one flat roof / balcony floor; re-glazing /replacing all windows and doors; relocating several doorways; beginning the construction of a fire-rated stairwell which will service accommodation on the floors above; and then plaster, tile, paint, re-wire and re-plumb to make good the new restaurant and kitchen. Externally, we have begun to create flower beds to landscape the grounds immediately outside the restaurant, creating a seating area with remarkable views of the River Lledr and forest. Work undertaken April-August 2016.
4. Refurbishment of rooms. We are currently extensively refurbishing the three floors of rooms above the cafe/restaurant. These rooms enjoy magnificent views across the delightful River Lledr and of the protected woodland and grounds behind the building, which we have begun to landscape. The additional new staircase is under construction, and we will soon be re-configuring the internal walls to create 3 suites of rooms, each comprising two double/twin bedrooms with en suite facilities, plus a sitting room which can be equipped with put-u-up beds. These suites will be ideal for parties of up to 6 family or friends looking for dedicated space for long weekends or weeks in Wales. Larger groups could be accommodated if two or more of these floors are booked together.
On the first floor, all three rooms enjoy access through patio doors to external stairways and/or balconies leading to the ground floor. On floor 2, the master bedroom similarly has access to an external stairwell. Plans for the stairwell were approved in May 2017 but there have been a number of technical issues and delays. We now hope to have rooms ready for occupancy in 2018.
5. Creation of accessible suites of rooms. We will refurbish the eastern end of the property to create two suites of rooms, each with a sitting room and accessible double/twin bedroom on the ground floor, and a double/twin bedroom on the first floor. Work expected to begin in 2018 and we hope rooms will be available towards the end of 2020.
6. Refurbishment of manor rooms. From Winter 2020 onwards, we will be able to fully turn our attention to the parts of the building which date from 1884. There is much work to do to bring the rooms up to modern standards for a hotel /B&B, which include more than an upgrading of the decorative order! Work likely to continue until 2025.
The work has been carefully scheduled so that, as each element of the work completes, the remaining works will not detract from the beauty or tranquillity of the setting. We look forward to welcoming returning visitors year after year as the building re-emerges in its full glory over the next few years enabling visitors to relish the relaxing surroundings in comfort and leave us refreshed and rejuvenated.