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 autumnal days far removed from the verdant and like-velvet scenes come summer. In our latest chronicle, we speak with property owners Katerina and Tim about their nature-embracing riverfront home, The Glasshouse

This month, we're putting a spotlight on what we’ve dubbed “The British Nordic”. Homes that lie proudly on UK soil, with elements borrowed from our Northern land neighbours; where Scandinavian lifestyle principles such as “hygge” (cosiness) and “friluftsliv” (outdoorsiness) unite. Here on the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve in Ceredigion, Mother Nature takes centre stage 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.

GP2952 - 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 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. 

“Our design concepts were very much inspired by nature and the natural world around us,” notes Katerina: using locally-sourced wood from trees felled in their very own garden for floorboards and furniture, and slate from the disused historic mine just up the river. In-keeping with characteristics archetypal of Nordic design, she adds “we wanted the end result to be calming, clutter free and zen-like, yet celebrating the natural exposed materials in their raw glory.” 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, meaning that the natural world really is the heart of this home. Also taking inspiration from where they’ve performed as musicians, Katerina notes “we’ve experienced some of the most incredible concert halls around the world, designed by renowned architects. The opportunity to create our own haven inspired by such spaces was a real privilege.”

GP2965 - The left is the exterior of The Glasshouse, the top right is a bedroom, the bottom right is outside

An embodiment of the concepts of hygge and friluftsliv, The Glasshouse is a property for all seasons. 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.” 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 finish.

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GP2966 - To the left is the owners of The Glasshouse, to the right is a seating area with view over the river