A British couple desperate for a change from the city life moved to Scotland, where they transformed a rundown Snowdonia cottage into their dream home.

Well before the Covid-19 pandemic forced many people to reassess their lives and where and how they lived, Louis Eveleigh had had enough of city living and was desperate for a change.

From the north of England originally, Louis had lived in Scotland previously and loved the open spaces and breath-taking scenery. Louis told Wales Online of how he and his wife were unhappy with where they lived, where schools had growing class sizes and they worked stressful jobs.

"We were tired of the attitude of people, the materialism and living in the city; none of it made a great lifestyle for us or the kids,” he said. “But my idea of getting away from everything was to persuade my wife we should live on an island!”

"It wasn't until she pointed out that my choice was nearer to Norway than Scotland and if I suddenly had a craving for a beer and chips, then I might have to wait days for the next ferry out!"

The couple have transformed a rundown Snowdonia cottage into their dream home (


Louis and Gen Eveleigh)

But then his wife, Gen, had the idea of looking at Snowdonia. They began to look at homes and eventually settled on the worst house they had seen on the internet.

Louis says: "Why we considered viewing it then still makes us laugh. There were no great pictures, the rooms looked tired and pokey, and then there was the photo of what looked like someone who had died and been covered over with the bedclothes!"

But a quick look on Google Earth at the cottage and the location soon captivated them, showing them the beauty of the area and the idyllic rural life they were craving - even if it meant taking on a full renovation project.

Louis said the house was close to a village but not in the centre - positioned in a quiet area which he described as being calm, surrounded by trees, hills and a river.

"We arranged a visit with the estate agents and one Saturday we set off. When the sat-nav told us we had arrived at our destination we couldn't believe our eyes; it was just pure magic. We couldn’t have asked for more,” he said.

"It was a beautiful sunny day and, despite the tiredness of the images that were advertising the house, we just fell in love with the place."

Louis and Gen have worked hard to bring a new chapter of life to the charming cottage (


Louis and Gen Eveleigh)

The stone cottage was at that time a holiday home that had not been used regularly for a long time, so the couple were eager to grasp the opportunity to create their family home.

Louis says: "It clearly needed a lot of work but it was exactly what we wanted – a blank canvas to create our home.

Whilst ploughing through the work to update the cottage, the couple discovered that the property exists on local maps at least as far back as 1750 and that it was once two separate farm workers' cottages. The second-storey was added around 1829 with a grant from the local church, and more recently was occupied by miners and their families.

Louis says: "Each property had two upstairs and downstairs rooms. None of them were particularly big and we later learned that at some point each house had about six people living in it.

Louis said it had taken us years to get the house to where we want it (


Louis and Gen Eveleigh)

Now Louis and Gen have worked hard to bring a new chapter of life to this charming cottage - though it hasn't been an easy journey.

Louis says: "It's taken us years to get the house to where we want it and perhaps the biggest challenge was getting a company to give us a mortgage. The property is made of a slate floor on an earth bed and the walls are made of local riverstone and slate.

"We spent ages researching old properties on what should and should not be done to them and battled the company for months until we finally got the answer we wanted.”

As neither of them had done any renovation to this level before, the learning curve was steep. It began with the back-breaking work of removing all the concrete floors that had been added to the home over the years, without damaging the original stone floors beneath.

Louis urged anyone undertaking similar projects to “be realistic” about timescales for doing things and make sure they had the money to achieve what they needed to do.

"Thirdly, don't live in the property while you are renovating it if you possibly can move out,” he said.

Louis urged anyone undertaking similar projects to “be realistic” about timescales and budget (


Louis and Gen Eveleigh)

The couple are now happy they are able to “chill” and enjoy what they have created.

The couple are keen on upcycling and have scoured eBay and second hand shops for vintage finds and used a local recycling plant for quirky extras. As a continuation of the eco-friendly trend, Louis has learnt how to make furniture from salvaged wood, beautiful examples of which are dotted around the cottage, and are very popular with the family pets for curling up for a snooze.

The couple's favourite room is the living room; in here they have shunned the suggestion of going with a light colour in a small space, and chosen a dark and moody dark red to make it “cosy”.

The couple have been settled in their Welsh dream cottage for over a decade, and are now thinking back on their rollercoaster ride with the home.

"Don't get me wrong, life isn't perfect and living semi remotely has its challenges – but it's these challenges that make you think and work around them till you come to a solution,” Louis said.

The local community helped the family through the tough times, helping the couple get through the difficult times.

Louis says: "It's unique because whenever you get tired or fed up with things you only have to open up the front door, look out, and let the surroundings take those cares and fears away."

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