On the banks of the river Teifi in Wales lies a house of glass — beyond which, a world is waiting. A world that changes like a chameleon at the turn of each season: tempestuous and tawny at once, then verdant and like-velvet at another. In our latest chronicle, we speak with property owners Katerina and Tim about their nature-embracing riverfront home, The Glasshouse

Here on the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve in Ceredigion, Mother Nature takes centre stage in all her forms through floor-to-ceiling glass. But with blankets of fur, mugs awaiting sweet tea, and a crackling fire, there's plenty to make the most of the outdoors while nestled within.

The Glasshouse in Cardigan, Wales

Once a tiny cottage for the local water bailiff who kept look-out for any rogue salmon poachers on the river, The Glasshouse had fallen into a tired state “with a garden so overgrown you needed a chainsaw to get through" when the duo purchased it many years later in 2019. Despite the daunting project ahead, Katerina notes “it was impossible to ignore the allure of the house; even though the original building was not beautiful by design, the secluded situation and views were standalone.” With a personal affinity to the property (as a keen canoeist, Tim had admired the house from a distance when passing on the water over the years), the couple began breathing life into their new home; reconfiguring the spaces and adding an extension to make the most of the sublime setting from each and every room. 

In addition to drawing inspiration from architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and their various travels around the world, Katerina notes: “Our design concepts were predominantly inspired by nature and the natural world around us"; using locally-sourced wood from trees from the garden for floorboards and furniture — including an ash table made by Tim himself — and slate from the disused historic mine just up the river. Keen to create impactful spaces that celebrate the landscape, the pair ensured that the view would be the focal point thanks to the vast picture windows throughout, making the natural world truly the heart of this home.

To the left is The Glasshouse at night, to the right is the bedroom with river view and outdoor seat

Both with interesting tales to tell themselves, Katerina and Tim are professional violinists and have taken inspiration from such settings: “we’ve experienced some of the most beautiful concert halls around the world, designed by renowned architects. The opportunity to create our own haven inspired by these spaces was a real privilege.” The Glasshouse is a place where each time of year brings a different beauty and charm, as embodied in Vivaldi's famous musical works, The Four Seasons; one of the pair's favourite tunes to play.

With a reputation as one of the UK’s best wetland sites, the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve attracts birds (and eagerly-following twitchers) from across the globe; with airborne visitors including Canada geese, kingfishers and red kites calling the marshes home, as well as salmon, sea bass and mullet underwater. “It really is like living in an episode of BBC’s Planet Earth!” the pair add. 

To the left is the owners of The Glasshouse, to the right is a seating area with view over the river

Here, Katerina enjoys nothing better than “being snug in the living room in the middle of winter with the log burner roaring, watching the most extreme of the weather,” whilst Tim can be found “observing the wildlife, coffee in hand.” "Being situated right on the edge of the Nature Reserve gives you so many opportunities to do things — whether it be canoeing up the river, or even popping down to Poppit Sands where you can take a bracing dip on the beach," they conclude. 

Book your stay at The Glasshouse. 

Feeling inspired? Why not peruse our guide to the best wildlife spots in the UK, explore our round-up of destinations to visit this May, or view our collection of the best holiday homes in Wales