Modernist living: let your mind wander at Alain de Botton’s Life House

The latest house in the philosopher’s Living Architecture project is a minimalist space in Wales that offers an expansive – if expensive – escape from everyday life

The living room of Tŷ Bywyd fills me with awe and terror. Awe because the room is museum-huge, with pale timber beams and a wall of windows overlooking picture-book Welsh hills, with bouncing lambs. Terror because although the furnishings are minimalist, everything – from the marble-topped coffee table to the draped-glass floor lamps – looks exquisitely breakable.

As someone who sloshes mugs of tea and spreads sticky blue ink from broken biros, I’m more than capable of doing serious damage here on my own. But I’ve got my wrecking crew with me: seven-year-old twin boys whose energetic chasing game in the last place we stayed ended with me writing a cheque to replace a shattered table.

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