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Generous couple transform rural cottage into a luxurious retreat and are now raffling it off for charity

By LLM Reporters  |  August 11, 2020

A couple relocated from France to Wales to renovate a cottage with the hopes of raising funds for charity and have now completed their luxurious transformation. The dream period property is now being raffled and Ryan McLean and Katherine Jablonowska are offering tickets for just £5 in the win a cottage competition, donating thousands of pounds to charity in the process.

One lucky winner will become the new owner, so whether you want this as your primary residence or you’re looking for a blissful retreat in the Welsh countryside for weekends, this really is a bargain!

Katherine, 33 and Ryan, 41, purchased the picturesque property in North Wales with a view to selling it in a raffle for just £5 a ticket, giving someone the chance to win Cwellyn Cottage, which the couple have totally transformed with beautiful bespoke fixtures and fittings.

No expense was spared when the couple undertook transforming the cottage themselves, taking a break from their high-flying hospitality careers to lovingly renovate the Welsh barn, which dates back to the 1800s. They even invested in installing beautiful oak doors, handmade by the same craftsmen who made the doors for a famous royal residence and the husband and wife team’s relentless renovations over the past two years have seen the two bedroom cottage double in value, now worth £290,000.

Katherine Jablonowska and Ryan Mclean (pictured at the very top of the article) spent two years renovating the cottage they bought for just £150,000

Hospitality manager Katherine said: “From the outset we knew we wanted to support a charity that helps children and we’ve already donated over £20,000 to The Children’s Society. When the competition closes on September 15th 2020 and the prize draw takes place later that month, we hope to also be able to match every charity donation made throughout the competition.”

Having worked within the five-star hospitality sector for years, the couple shared a vision of how they could convert the historic barn into a luxurious living space.

For the unique property project, professional chef Ryan and wife Katherine relocated to Wales from France where Ryan was corporate executive chef at Consensio, the luxury chalet holiday company in the Alps. Ryan, who specialises in fine dining, said: “We undertook the renovation work ourselves. However, we wanted to ensure what we created was a dream cottage that was luxurious in character, texture and comfort.

“From a style and sustainability standpoint, we wanted to incorporate reclaimed and rustic elements to create an authentic aesthetic, which would reflect the property’s rich heritage and abundance of character. We’ve designed a luxurious space which allows old-world rustic charm to co-exist within a modern redesign.”

All original oak beams have been exposed and lovingly restored, with reclaimed oak shelving installed throughout the bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen, many of which were part of the original barn. They invested in bespoke, handmade doors, complete with traditional bees waxed iron hardware and Suffolk latches, which feature throughout the cottage.

Ryan revealed: “Our oak doors were handmade by a company in Wrexham called Oak Ledged Doors, who made the oak doors for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex residence Frogmore Cottage.”

The stunning cottage now offers a beautiful dining area

The very rare ‘twin’ inglenook fireplaces were excavated by hand and sandblasted to reveal rare Welsh bluestone beneath. It was meticulously hand pointed with lime mortar and lined with a hand cut Welsh slate bottom and hearth. To complete the look, a restored reclaimed oak sleeper was added as the mantle alongside a reclaimed wood burning stove. All of this was accented with the finishing touch of white render running along the top.

To recreate a sumptuous bathing experience the couple also opted for opulence in the bathroom. Katherine said: “We have a custom sized roll top, claw foot, soaker tub, with exposed chrome brass fittings and the countertop basin that’s floating on a reclaimed oak shelf. For additional luxury, we opted for Crosswater chrome brass taps for both the sink and the bath.”

The couple spent thousands of pounds on fixtures and fittings, including the taps and modern triple column Victorian style radiators, complete with chrome brass fittings featuring throughout the cottage.

Ryan added: “The kitchen was entirely handmade to fit to maximise the space. The cupboards are made from hand cut reclaimed pine floorboards, and the beautiful concrete countertops were formed in our living room, hand cast, sanded and polished. All were finely scribed to fit the exact shape of the slightly curved original stone walls, and then edged with a backsplash of hand cut Welsh slate. It features reclaimed oak shelving, exposed stone and oak beams.”

The quaint cottage has been completely transformed into a modern home with original period features

The cottage boasts breathtaking views of the stunning surrounding countryside, situated in rural north Wales near the Llyn Peninsula, where the coast is a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s ideally located for those who want to some tee time. Ryan, a keen golfer and former junior champion, explains: “Cwellyn cottage is located in an area that’s a haven for golfers. We’re surrounded by some stunning golf courses including championship courses.”

The area is awash with endless opportunities for rest and relaxation, with a number of sailing and yacht clubs in the vicinity which run numerous national and international sailing events. Nearby and easily accessible is one of the best modern marinas in the UK, as well as fine dining restaurants and a host of art galleries.

The cottage is situated near Snowdonia, offering opportunities to enjoying the great outdoors and seeing stars, literally, at Snowdonia International Dark Sky Reserve. The wider area offers the opportunity to enjoy popular water sports including sailing, power boating, jet skiing and water skiing.

The cottage is now worth £290,000 and features two double bedrooms and stunning views

Ryan concluded: “We wanted an adventure and we certainly got it. We’ve made a lot of friends over the last two years and have fallen in love with this area. The plan is to hopefully settle here and in the future open a restaurant together.”

Pippa Lock, from The Children’s Society, said: “We’re thrilled CwellynDream has chosen to support The Children’s Society. Every pound you donate will enable the charity to provide a lifeline to vulnerable children across the country. We wish you all the best of luck when entering the competition!”

For more details on how to enter the competition and support The Children’s Society, visit