An iconic Welsh mansion that used to belong to a queen of the high street is up for sale for £1.8 million – But unfinished renovation work will leave any potential buyer reaching a bit deeper into their pocket.
Rhydoldog House in Rhayader, mid Wales is on the market after several incredible upgrades by its current owners, including new terraces, restored decor, and a secret rooftop space.
The charms of the luxurious property are even a step up from its previous occupiers, Laura and Sir Bernard Ashley, who originally bought the house back in 1961.
The famed designer, born near Merthyr Tydfil in 1925, had been in need of a new home near her fledgling business in the town of Carno.
Rhydoldog House in Rhayader, mid Wales is on the market for offers in excess of £1.8million. The property was the home of the Ashley family for over four decades and has been used as the site of several lavish parties and photo shoots across the years
Despite having thousands in renovations pumped into renovating the home, any potential buyer will still need to deal with unfinished work on the cellar, guttering, and replacing the period-style sash windows to transform the home back to its former glory
The terraces on the front of the sprawling mansion were added by its most recent owner who bought the property in 2009 after Laura Ashley’s widower Sir Bernard died the same year
A secret rooftop space nestled above the house was also created recently by the new owner, who went to painstaking lengths to restore the Victorian frontage and other aspects of the mansion
Believed to in part date back to the 15th Century, this arts-and-crafts style mansion offers stunning views across the Elan Valley area, and shed-loads of space to play with inside.
Following a restoration by the current owners, the Victorian facade has been mostly recovered, as well as stained glass windows, cast iron guttering and an impressive pillared porch.
Two balconies and a roof terrace were added provide incredible elevated views of the rural landscape.
However, a slight issue for anyone looking to move in straight away is that parts of the house still remain unfinished.
Several rooms in a second floor ‘owners apartment’ have been completed so that the owners could keep a watch over the rest of the painstaking renovation works happening on the three storeys below
The entrance to the famed mid Wales home includes an impressive pillared porch. The National Trust believe that parts of the building date back to the 15th century
One of three new open air spaces created by the new owners with stunning views over the Elan Valley
The property boasts a total of six tastefully renovated bedrooms with en-suites that are dotted throughout the sprawling property
When Sir Bernard Ashley died in 2009, his daughter Jane spoke to the National Trust and The National Museum of Wales about potentially restoring the property and opening it to the public
Given the beautiful mansion’s remote location however, the idea was a non-starter logistically and never came to fruition. It was sold to the current owners a few months later
The completed areas of the house hold a gym, several large bedrooms, a kitchen diner and four reception rooms
The current owners had concentrated on creating an owner’s apartment on the second floor from which they could watch over toe continuing restoration project.
Significant building work is still required to complete the house, with structural works in the cellar, insulation, external rendering, period style sash windows still yet to be added.
But beyond the works, the price tag for the mansion seems pretty reasonable, with four principal reception rooms, a kitchen diner, six bedroom suites and open air spaces to enjoy.
The ground floor plan proposals show the full scale of the incredible, sprawling Welsh mansion, including an extensive kitchen-diner, entrance way and main hall
The first floor contains most of the property’s six spacious bedroom, as well as imposing south-facing balcony accessible through the master lounge
A series of exquisite guest bedrooms cover the second floor, which also provides access to the secret rooftop spot
The property also comes with three acres of surrounding gardens which even include a waterfall, and a further 13 acres of pasture land
The gorgeous property pokes out from behind some trees in the sprawling set of well-maintained grounds
The surrounding gardens also include this beautiful natural waterfall. There is a nearby set of reservoirs which form the Elan Valley area in mid Wales
A paranomic photo shows off the incredible surrounds of the Elan Valley region, with the Ashley home nestled onto a hillside
According to the estate agent selling the property, the purchaser can either continue and complete the restoration plans prepared by the current owner or implement their own personal internal specification.
Rhydoldog House sits in three acres of surrounding gardens which even include a waterfall, and a further 13 acres of pasture land.
Rhydoldog House is on the market with estate agent McCartneys for offers in excess of £1.8m, call them on 01982 552259 for further information
How did Laura and Sir Bernard spend their years at Rhydoldog House?
Laura Ashley in a 1976 documentary about her clothing brand
The pair originally bought the home in 1961 to be near to their fledgling business in the town of Carno. Laura Ashley had been born in Wales and had opened the company’s first shop in Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire.
Rhydoldog would accommodate high-level company board meetings as well as some of Wales’ most lavish parties.
At the height of the their success during Laura’s life, the house would also be used as the backdrop for the fashion brand’s iconic photo shoots of clothes ranges.
The surrounding grounds were even said to have inspired the designer’s famed floral prints that continue to this day.
As the years went on the pair spent less time at the property, affording to buy home in France and Belgium as well as a yacht. Sir Bernard, trained as a private pilot, would fly back from their home in France to keep up with the running of the company.
Laura died due to injuries she sustained in a fall at her daughter’s home in the Cotswolds back in 1985.
After the 40th anniversary of Laura Ashley in 1993, Sir Bernard retired as chairperson and became an honorary life president.
Not much is known about Sir Bernard’s life as a widower in the property, but he lived there for the next 24 years until his death in 2009.
The home went on the market soon after, although the couple’s daughter Jane said that she had spoke to the National Trust and even the National Museum of Wales about restoring the property in public hands but logistics could not be agreed.
Daughter Jane told the Western Mail: ‘I had several meetings with the National Trust and even the National Museum of Wales was trying to think of a way [not to sell the property]. It was just too problematic to keep it.’
The home was eventually sold for £1.2m in the autumn of 2009 to new owners who restored much of the frontage.