Skip to Navigation

Life House

Sleeps 6

Life House has been designed by John Pawson as a place for calm and reflection. Located in mid Wales, near the town of Llanbister, it is a timeless example of architectural simplicity and beauty based on the concept of a retreat, where serenity, contemplation and restoration are foremost.


Life House    

  • Beautiful and remote setting amidst the rolling Welsh hills, with many outdoor activities nearby.
  • Large open-plan internal spaces with extensive gardens to sit and enjoy. 
  • Superbly crafted house with many classic and bespoke pieces of furniture and design.
  • Spacious bedroom and bathroom suites. Bathe overlooking this glorious landscape.
  • For up to six guests of all ages looking for the perfect holiday setting.
  • Bring your well-behaved dog (sheep in adjacent fields).  

Life House is about the pure simplicity of design, comfort, and relaxation. Here on this remote hillside in mid-Wales guests can remove themselves from the day to day stresses of life, and settle in for a memorable holiday. For those looking for a more active outdoors holiday - everything from country walks to canoeing, cycling etc. is nearby. 

Set on one level; part-subsumed by the hillside, this large house stretches across the landscape, forming expansive and labyrinthine spaces within. Guests will discover the work of an architect whose use of simple forms and a limited palette of crafted materials, developed over many years, has led to the creation of this stunning building. 

From the covered porch entrance, guests encounter a generous and beautifully detailed timber lined kitchen, set alongside both dining area and large sitting room, all with large picture windows to the hills beyond. The highly polished terrazzo floors and white-brick-lined walls reflect the light and make for an open and calming place to cook, eat, sit and read. A large freestanding wood burner is ready for lighting on cool winter evenings.   

Three individual bedrooms offer guests the chance to experience distinct forms of contemplation: the library bedroom is lined with therapeutic works of eastern and western literature; the music bedroom has a generous audio system and carefully curated selection of CDs; and the bathing bedroom provides a bathing platform with inset bath, in which to lie and reassess one's existence with the help of views onto a Welsh valley.

Contemplation areas include a cavernous chamber, with retractable glazed roof, buried into the hillside, as well as an area outside with the Welsh mountains as a backdrop. In addition, Life House is placed at the nexus of a sequence of walks undertaken by the artist Hamish Fulton.

Life House epitomises the pure architectural aesthetic of ‘less is more’, whilst creating an exceptionally comfortable life-affirming experience for our guests.


Life House - Wales
Life House - Wales
Life House - Wales

About Your Stay

During Your Stay

Floor Plan

Open in Google Maps

What Guests Say

It is a wonderful house - way beyond expectations.

The house was beautiful. We cannot praise it enough. We look forward to The Secular Retreat.

We really enjoyed our stay and appreciated how every detail of the house had been well considered. I loved padding around barefoot on the terrazzo floor, the smell of the douglas fir, the manipulation of light and the views of the beautiful location. So much space was glorious.

About The Architecture

Life House is constructed of Danish handmade bricks; black for the exterior and white for the interior, and is the result of five years of work by the architect John Pawson, working in conjunction with our founder Alain de Botton.

Deeply influenced by Japanese design and the architecture of the Benedictine monks, John's work has focused on ways of approaching the fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials, rather than on developing a set of stylistic mannerisms.

Life House has been designed using a very limited palette of materials, brick, wood, and terrazzo; these bring both a warmth and intimacy to the house and living spaces within. With the interior walls being predominantly white bricks, the surprise of encountering the only black brick-lined corridor is both surprising and intriguing. This change in pace and perception prepares the guest for discovering a hidden room not normally associated with a domestic dwelling; a place to purely sit and contemplate, without distraction.

Life House is a wonderfully calm, reflective place to spend time in, with every detail attended to. The furniture, crockery, cutlery and hanging pendant lights have also been designed by John Pawson, completing the fully crafted experience.

Read further details

Contact UsBook Life House

Top of Page



We use a small number of cookies on our site to enable functionality including Google Analytics. By continuing use of our website you consent to their use. No cookies contain any personal information but they are necessary for the use of our site. See our Privacy Policy for more information about what cookies are used.