With the current boom in high end property on the Llŷn Peninsula, Architects and Project Managers alike are seeking suitable and elegant interior design to attract buyers and visitors to their properties.
Recent grant initiatives by the Welsh Government aimed at stimulating the tourist economy, encourage development of 4 and 5 star accommodations; be it in hotels or self-catering premises. With the demand from tourists for higher spec accommodation, and a recent surge in the ‘stay-cation’ market (holiday makers choosing to stay within the UK as opposed to travelling abroad) it’s no surprise that business is booming for the building and associated sectors here on the Llŷn.
Rob David is one of the local businessmen that seeks to reap the benefits of this current trend and has already built a strong reputation for providing top end interior design for some of the peninsulas most prominent tourist destinations.
Rob, who was born and raised on the Llŷn started his business ‘Rob David Art & Design’ back in 1996. Prior to this, Rob has been a successful Actor and property developer based in Cardiff before pursuing his passion for interior design by enrolling in the Parsons School of Design in New York – US to formally train in the field. Following the passing of his parents, Rob and partner Carl returned to Rob’s native North Wales in 2008 upon inheriting the family farm. Rob recall’s that after leaving North Wales at the age of 18 and returning at 40 it had ‘…revived his appreciation for the area.’ The family farm featured a derelict Flour Mill as part of the estate and both Rob and Carl saw ‘…the next phase of our lives together here.’ The renovation project of the Flour Mill began shortly after and Rob set about gaining commissions for his Interior design business back on his home ground.
‘…It was really difficult at first… I felt like an outsider in a place where I had grown up and knew. I’d still bump into people from my childhood and they’d recognise me… but this had very little advantage to my business…I had to start from the bottom”
In 2010 Rob’s first big commission came in. To restore and redesign the interior of ‘The Whitehall’ Pwllheli. The Grade II listed property dates back to 1818 and was formerly a Hotel. The commission to redesign into a Gastro Pub, marked the first significant client-based project undertaken by Rob David Art & Design in the area. ‘I wanted to make a statement… nothing quite says that like a huge spiral staircase in the centre of the building’.
Following his success Rob was then commissioned to redesign the interiors of both the Ship Hotel and Ty Newydd in Aberdaron to great acclaim. In his most recent project Rob has turned his hand to the 5 Star Self Catering accommodation market with a commission for Ty Hen, a barn conversion holiday let in Llangwnnadl near Aberdaron. The impressive complex features 3 immaculate properties set within a stone built hay barn perched on the edge of a spectacular Peninsula farm. With far reaching views to the sea and of the surrounding peak of Mynydd Mawr and Mynydd Anelog.
The property was initially converted by local builder Ian Ambrose before Rob brought his modern interior design to enhance the space. Rob’s style sits somewhere between sleek modernity and pastoral Wales. The barn retains its industrial and architectural features with exposed beams and wrought iron brackets as well as all original openings of the barn. These are fitted with bespoke doors or glazed units and serve in retaining the feel of the original property. They also ensuring that natural light entering the interior is not compromised by the resizing of window openings just to accommodate standard frames.
Throughout the property we find a seamless blending of interesting textures on all surfaces, from the exposed repointed stone on the gable end which is dramatically up-lit to enhance the space, scaffold storage in the master bedrooms and riveted metal cladding that adorns the mezzanine balcony. The whole property feels like it’s been reimagined and re-clad in the materials of its former use. It’s cleverly done.
Each of the properties feature stunning handpicked items from local suppliers. In fact the vast majority of the materials for this job were sourced through companies local to North Wales. The furniture is from V&R Company Pwllheli with the standout pieces including up-cycled bicycle crank bar stools that surround the stylish ‘Steil Cyf’ central kitchen diner island; as well as a ‘welded box trunking’ recliner that brings a touch of Le Corbusier-esque Brutalism to the collection.
Rob’s modern and masculine style purveys each room with cool earthy pallets combining with moments of bold colour either in the soft furnishings from Swear Interiors Pwllheli or through the numerous pieces of artwork that adorn the walls from local artists such as Tess Urbanska and decorative ornaments from ‘Cwt Tatws’ Tudweiliog.
Other standout features of this property are in the ‘Jack and Jill’ bathroom which employs a clever dual purpose or functionality; An en suite for the Master Bedroom and a family bathroom for use during the day. This is achieved by including respective entrances from both the living area and the master bedroom and capitalises on maximising the interior space by not having to accommodate a secondary bathroom on the ground floor.
The mezzanine floor bedroom features a balcony devised from the barns hayloft opening giving an immersive and outdoors/indoors experience for guests who can admire the stunning vista across the surrounding countryside from the comfort of their bedroom.
‘…it’s a far cry from when self-catering accommodation meant you got a chipped plate and a knife and fork from the farmer next door..’ mentions Rob; remarking on the luxurious kitchen-diner.
Conclusively, Ty Hen brilliantly combines stylish 5 star living with Rural North Wales and what’s more it marks its identity clearly as ‘Rural – North Wales’ through its design rather than feeling contrived or detached through its modernity. Not an easy thing to do, yet admirably done so by Rob.
Rob wants to inject modernity and style into Welsh property with his interior design. He speaks very clearly of the misconception that modern interior design doesn’t feature here on the Llŷn, and that rural North Wales is wrongly assumed to be a backwater with no progressive flair. Rob states that ‘…this couldn’t be further from the truth.’ With notable high end design and building taking place in and around the Abersoch area the effect of this is emanating across the peninsula and national park. The importance of tourism for the local economy cannot be underestimated and with a wealthier clientele being attracted to North Wales by the lifestyle that pervades here, the demand highlights the importance of a continuing requirement for the high end.
Rob’s next projects see him diversify into Public spaces with a commission for the Tourist office in Conwy and a particularly special project working with a Children’s Hospice on Anglesey. You can find out more about Rob David and his projects at www.robdavidinteriordesign.com
Written by James Noon for the Autumn issue of Abersoch Magazine. Subscribe now by clicking here