It’s a well-told tale: London couple on holiday in the countryside spot a for-sale sign on a tumble-down farm and turn in for a look… Here that couple are Australian Kari Morgan and her husband Chris, and the countryside is a particularly idyllic slice of the Wye Valley, 10 minutes’ drive from bookish Hay. But instead of the usual rustic barn conversion, they’ve built a refreshingly sleek black-timber-clad annexe housing five suites.
The effect is more self-contained apartments than B&B, especially in four of the rooms (numbers 2 to 5), which have beds up on a mezzanine level. Kari retrained as an interior designer and her skills are on show here: trompe-l’oeil wallpaper of white-washed exposed brick against the minimal black four-poster give room 1 an urban loft vibe; a zingy, lime, mid-century-style sofa pops against a bookshelf print wall in room 5. All have local touches — apple crates (this is cider country) re-purposed as shelves and Welsh wool throws from Melin Tregwynt, as well as little decked terraces that catch the morning sun. During the week these are just the spot for breakfast, a delivered hamper brimming with hard-boiled eggs and fresh-baked pastries, little pots of fruit and yogurt.
At weekends the Morgans open up their 17th-century oak-beamed farmhouse for a proper fry-up (sausages and bacon from Gibbons butchers in Hay; eggs with marigold orange yolks from the family’s hens) eaten sat on Tolix chairs around a communal table where young city couples, outdoorsy families and retired walkers swap tips. Kari’s on hand, too, for much more than just rounds of toast and coffee: out come maps of walks, Hay Festival programmes, and personal favourites and finds, depending on what direction the day looks like taking.
Address: Westbrook Court, Hereford, near Hay on Wye
Telephone: +44 1497 831752
Price: Doubles from £85
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