Is This the Most Beautiful House in Wales?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tryst Williams Western Mail

Their house is 'homely', it was once a stable and they say they're not overly houseproud.

But the old coach house that Dan and Lavinia Cohn- Sherbok live in has been officially judged the most beautiful home in Wales.

Now the 140-year-old property, near Lampeter, is in the running to scoop the UK title in a magazine competition.

Built in 1860 by the Reverend William Evans, the derelict shell was rebuilt in the 1980s by Bryan and Mary Jackson of Llandrindod Wells before the Cohn-Sherboks moved in seven years ago.

Since then, the couple have stamped their own character on the old building and won the national accolade from 25 Beautiful Homes magazine.

The pair moved to the area in 1997 when Dan, originally from Denver, Colorado, became professor of Judaism at Lampeter University.

They readily admit to buying it because they 'didn't have to make many changes'.

In the magazine, Mrs Cohn-Sherbok describes first laying eyes on the property, 'I gave myself a week to look at more than 20 properties.

'When I saw this one it was love at first sight - it matched our needs perfectly. It remains just the same as when it was first built.

'It's what I would describe as a really honest Welsh country house.'

Despite creating a stunning house which has been featured on television and in glossy magazine spreads, they are modest about their achievements.

Mrs Cohn-Sherbok added, 'I've got to say, I'm a little embarrassed because the competition was to find the most beautiful home in Britain and I entered into it very lightly after the house had just been featured on S4C homes programme 04Wal.

'We love our house and I'm obviously proud of it, but to pretend it's the most beautiful home in Wales is absurd.

'It's a perfectly normal family house - it's not super-rich or super grand, it's a very homely space.'

The couple, who are in their 50s, moved from England where Mrs Cohn-Sherbok was headmistress of Princess Diana's old school, shortly after the young Diana Spencer had finished her studies.

Although they class themselves as 'incomers', they have enthusiastically embraced Welsh culture.

They can count 11 years of Welsh-language lessons between them and Mrs Cohn Sherbok is a member of Merched y Wawr, a Friend of the Eisteddfod and a founder member of the proposed Daniel Rowland Memorial Centre in Wales.

It is a process they carried over into furnishing their home as they attempted to create a distinctly Welsh look, in harness with references to their own heritage - such as the US flag in the hallway and Mrs Cohn-Sherbok's family furniture.

She added, 'The thing that's made it our own home is that I've always collected pretty things. New furniture is ridiculously expensive but you can buy beautiful old furniture for half the price and I've been lucky to inherit a lot. …