Inside Prince Charles' Welsh Home

The Prince of Wales's first Welsh home, adapted from a former model farm in Carmarthenshire, bears witness to his philosophy of sustainable building, with a structure traditionally made from existing and locally sourced materials, an ecologically sound heating system, and elegant interiors that harmonise perfectly with the architecture

In his foreword to House & Garden's 2008 Green by Design supplement, Prince Charles wrote: 'Why, I must ask, does being "green" mean building with glass and steel and concrete then adding wind turbines, solar panels and water-heaters, sedum roofs, glass atria - the paraphernalia of the new "green building industry" - to offset buildings that are inefficient in the first place? Traditional homes - from the humblest to the grandest - were built to conserve as much precious fuel as possible, through solid walls, windows in the right places and of the right size, sounder foundations, stronger roof trusses, stouter doors and (most important) an ability to change, making them adaptable from generation to generation.'

The result of this philosophy is Llwynywermod, which itself has adapted to extraordinary change. Originally built as a model farm, architect Craig Hamilton has transformed the property into what now comprises three cottages and a grade II-listed threshing barn as well as the main house for the use of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The property has an air of retired quietude; a mansion that used to occupy the property is now a picturesque ruin, the lake has long since silted up, a small river runs through the valley around which sheep graze amongst ancient trees.

Craig Hamilton has rigorously implemented the Prince of Wales's philosophy of building sustainably: materials have been reused, other materials have been sourced locally, and the craftsmen and builders working on the project are based locally. Housed in a new barn is a wood-chip boiler, which provides heating and hot water for the entire complex. A reed-bed filtration system is being installed, as is rainwater storage.

The interiors of the property were designed by Annabel Elliot, who has created pretty, welcoming spaces using predominantly Welsh furniture, textiles and objects. She scoured the country for antique Welsh pieces including quilts and glazed-earthenware. Into the mix she added high-street buys, lamps she designed herself and pictures from the Prince's personal collection. With open fires, books, music and supremely comfortable beds, this must be the most desirable adapted farmyard in the kingdom.

Adapted from the November 2009 issue of House & Garden.

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