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Coes Faen Spa Lodge | Architecture & History

Coes Faen Spa Lodge

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Architecture & History

The history of Coes Faen Lodge dates back to around 1865, when the railway first came to the area and started the transformation of Barmouth (Abermaw) from a shipbuilding, fishing and trading rural community to a Victorian seaside resort destination.

The building was constructed on stone rubble quarried from the immediate surroundings of shale rock, and adopted a vernacular style to blend with Coes Faen Hall across the road. Its purpose was to provide accommodation for the servicing of the Hall, with a Coachman, Housekeeper and Maid all living there together. So did the horses that pulled the family coach, which entered the building via the large stone archway a the front. It is connected to the Hall via a tunnel, which is still in use to this day.

Coes Faen Lodge was built by the Lowe brothers, mill owners from the West Midlands, in the late 1800s as a service building for the main residence, Coes Faen Hall, opposite. It housed a coach and horses, a coachman and domestic staff, and was connected to the main house via a tunnel. It was extended in the 1970s and provided a fine private house until it was purchased by the present owner, Richard Parry-Jones, in 2001. In 2008, recognising the potential of the building and its location, Richard and Sara began making plans to convert the building into upscale guest accommodation. To kick things off, they prepared a detailed brief and ran a design competition among a set of North Wales based architects. This was won by George+Tomos of Machynlleth who came up with the idea of moving the main entrance round to the back with a more contemporary design hidden behind the traditional front facade. Richard is a renowned car design engineer, and set about applying his skills and experience to the development of this idea and the transformation of the building. The central passage way has been restored but completely glazed in, with a two-storey structural glass wall at the rear and together with the largest all-glass roof in the UK they combine to harvest solar energy and flood the interior with daylight. At night, the rock face at the rear is awash with white light and the stars twinkle through the glass roof.

The entrance hall embraces the natural rock outcrop, and water trickles gently down the rocks into a small pool, lit at night, in the lobby. The lobby is lined with ash planks, taking a visual cue from agricultural buildings, and the floor is made from worn green flagstones. Glass is everywhere, keeping the interior light and helping showcase the extensive use of natural local stone on the interior walls. A stone relief depicting a sailing ship was found from the ruins of the Baltic exchange and recycled into a wall adornment on the landing, recalling the rich shipbuilding history of the area and providing the inspiration for the Coes Faen Lodge Spa logo

The guest rooms are all designed to make the most of the views, and the ensuite bathrooms are crafted in very high quality natural materials. Underfloor heating is provided throughout, powered by a log-fired biomass boiler, which also supplies the hot water in the winter, although this is heated using solar power in the summer. Extensive heat and sound insulation has been specified throughout to improve comfort and conserve energy.


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