Couple build a Lord of the Rings inspired house in Wales and you can stay there

When Amy and Tom Jones decided to create a rural retreat in the rolling Welsh hills of Powys, they looked to the hobbit homes in the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy for inspiration.

The outstanding result is The Warren, a spectacular glass-fronted oak-framed structure nestled in 300 acres on Dolassey Farm.

While featuring the signature curves and turf roof of a home intended for the wider Baggins family, it boasts a very un-Hobbiton interior more in tune with a luxe 21st-century bolthole.

Constructed by Tom along with a small team of local builders, the lodge is one of three that stressed-out city couples or families can escape to for some rest and relaxation.

‘A lot of farmers in the area are starting to diversify,’ says Amy, a graphic designer who lives on Dolassey Farm with Tom and their children, Rosa, five, and Max, three.

‘We’re in a lovely part of Wales and we wanted to create something unique which didn’t spoil the landscape.

‘While we love traditional homes, we wanted to build something more contemporary. We have beautiful views so incorporating lots of glass doors and windows was really important. We envisaged a lodge that was quirky and a little bit different, something which would stand out from the crowd.

‘We looked at the hobbit homes in the Lord Of The Rings films, which we love, and did some drawings together before engaging an architect. We took the curved shape built into the hillside as a starting point but made our version lighter inside.’

Though Tom’s parents still live on the farm, he is now the main farmer. A plumber by trade, he took on most of the construction himself, including the dry-stone walling, when he wasn’t busy with lambing season and silaging.

A local father-and-son building team helped out, as did an electrician and a friend who put in the oak beams.

The three-bedroom glass-fronted palace is a clever mix of locally sourced materials and sustainable, unobtrusive design.

There are ‘wow’ factors galore, chiefly the gently sloping grass roof, which sits in perfect harmony with the landscape and is even kept short thanks to the farm’s flock of sheep!

‘We have mischievous teenage lambs in spring and they sometimes jump up to graze on it,’ says Amy. ‘We send Tom’s dad up to mow it a couple of times in early spring to allow wild flower seedlings to emerge, and once again in the autumn to remove dead grass. We have to water it in hot weather and give it a haircut to keep it in shape.’

Tom made the kitchen table from old oak sleepers – some of which were reclaimed from a disused barn on the farm – and the stone he used to build the walls that back onto the hillside came from a nearby Welsh quarry.

Amy took charge of the interiors, drawing inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram, installing Howdens kitchen cabinetry and blending homewares and furniture from high street favourites Anthropologie, Cox & Cox, Made, Smeg and Zara Home, as well as The Rattan Company, where she found the swing chair that is always a big hit with guests.

‘I didn’t want it to feel too “country” or tweedy. I wanted to create a modern, on-trend space with comfort at the core,’ says Amy. ‘I love the style and ethos of Soho Farmhouse, which embraces farm life, and the Artist Residence hotel in Brighton, which is very cool with bright pops of colour.

‘I’m a minimalist at heart and I played much safer with my own house, using more pale, tonal shades, but people come here for such a short time so I think it’s fine to go bold and have some fun with colour. I love the bright orange sofa but I’m not sure I could have it in my own house!’

Practical touches include blinds, which are sandwiched between the glass panels so they can’t be touched or get dirty, granite kitchen work surfaces that can withstand hot pans and a mix of natural oak floors in the bedrooms and Mandarin Stone wood-effect tiles in the living area, which are highly durable and easy to clean.

Amy’s favourite purchase, however, is the impressive Lusso Stone circular bath, which dominates the huge bathroom.

‘People come here to escape and relax and the bath was a key part of that,’ she says. ‘I wanted to go very stripped back, white and contemporary after putting a copper bath in one of our other lodges, which is hard to clean, very labour-intensive and stains easily.’

An outside shower blurs the lines between the exterior and interior and the barbecue and hot tub on the terrace bring much enjoyment all year round.

The build took a year to complete and it was the turfed roof which proved to be the biggest challenge.

‘We went for a curved roof to mirror the landscape but waterproofing it was complicated,’ explains Amy. ‘Beneath the turf is a huge, heavy membrane-like pond lining, which is tarred down.

‘There is a lot of additional weight from the roof, especially when it’s wet. We also had to make sure the soil depth was enough to keep the grass green but not so deep that it became too weighty.’

The couple use The Warren themselves when it’s not rented out and spent last New Year there. ‘We tend to save it for special occasions,’ says Amy. ‘It’s only three fields away from our house and the kids love it, they want to move in permanently!

‘Aesthetically it looks very eco and has become part of the landscape. Everything has been locally sourced by us and created to sympathise with the surroundings, but there is a touch of luxury, too, in the huge foldback glass doors, underfloor heating and the Smeg coffee machine.

‘We are finding more and more families with young children who previously went abroad now want to do something exciting but not too far and The Warren seems to fit the bill.’

To find out more or book, check out @theburrowdolassey on Instagram

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