We used to spend our family holidays in Wales, in a stone cottage set into the hillside overlooking nearby Llandysul. Belonging to a friend-of-a-friend, the first time we made the long journey from Norfolk, we had very little idea of what we would find. Arriving over the narrow humpbacked bridge we were greeted by a wooden gate, half hanging off its hinges. The disappointment was palpable, amplified by the knowledge that our friends were having a fabulous time camping, cheek-by-jowl, with a swarm of other Brits in a heaving French campsite.
But when we woke that next morning, the sun slicing through the gap between the thick woollen curtains, to find sheep peering through the bedroom window, everything changed. We were townies and this was the back of beyond, we were in Wales, practically abroad!
My sister and I clambered down from the shared double bed, raised up by layers of squashy mattresses and topped with heavy blankets and an eiderdown. Down the creaking oak stairs, we tiptoed over the cold slate floor, past the warm kitchen range and out into the garden to find our father chopping firewood. Free to roam as we wished, mess around in the brook and explore the surrounding meadows, we were in holiday heaven.
After a day out scrambling over castle ruins or charging around on an empty beach in the mizzle, coming back to the holiday cottage felt like a warm hug. We would settle down around the fire to play cards, my mother looking on from the comfort of the cushion laden stick-back chair, mug of steaming tea at her side. Cwtch, is the only way I can describe it.
A little like hygge (the Danish term loosely translated as cosy), cwtch has no direct English translation. Pronounced ‘cutch’ and derived from the olde English ‘couche’ meaning a resting or hiding place, cwtch is an evocative term meaning ‘a cuddle’ or ‘safe place’ and has the magical quality of transporting us back to the safety of childhood.
And cwtch is how our homes should make us feel, nurtured, and like a welcoming hug when we walk in and kick off our shoes. So as the nights draw in, how can we make our homes more cwtch, like the cosy, timeworn cottage of my memory.
As much natural light as possible, then as the evening draws in metal pendants, fabric covered cable, vintage floor lamps, reading lamps and lots and lots of tea lights, storm lanterns and candles
The heart of the home is the log burner with underfloor heating under natural stone floor. In the kitchen a range cooker, and woollen curtains, door drapes to keep out the chill
Surfaces & Finishes
Painted masonry walls, tongue & groove panelling, natural wood stairs, sills and furniture, stone and slate floors, metal latches & stays
Green wood, wool, natural fleece, stone, slate, roughly hewn oak and raw natural materials
Create a fireside reading corner, a cosy sleeping nook and a welcoming table beside the kitchen range for shared family meals
Settles, side tables, stick-back chairs, Welsh dressers, metal framed beds, oversized armchairs and squidgy worn leather sofas strewn with blankets
Welsh blankets, welsh ceramics, whittled bowls, feather eiderdowns & woollen throws, woven fireside basket, tin jugs for vases and plenty of hedgerow flowers when in season
And not forgetting welsh cakes, bara brith and a steaming hot mug of Glengettie tea! For more inspiration, hop on over to Pinterest and check out our board Welsh Cottage . Get in touch if you have a Welsh holiday home or family cottage in need of refurbishment as we would love to work with you.
For help in making a cwtch home or holiday cottage this autumn, call us, we’d love to chat!