Homes Under the Hammer star Martin Roberts 'constantly worried' and issues plea after buying Welsh pub

The second bar area that is now linked to the other side of the pub and served by the central bar
-Credit: (Image: Jo Ridout, WalesOnline)

BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer star Martin Roberts has undertaken his own property project. The presenter is renovating a pub in Blaencwm, Wales.

He 'accidently' bought the then closed down and empty Hendrewen Hotel and Pub in the village a few years ago, without telling his wife Kirsty. Since then he has been battling various problems that have emerged as the building team take the pub apart.

The plan is to put it back together in three phases as a welcoming pub and restaurant. It will have eight ensuite bedrooms, a stunning glass and timber restaurant extension with views to the hilltops and tumbling waterfalls, and an accessible accommodation block with shop and tourist information too, Wales Online reports.

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Among the unwelcome problems are rotten lintels, issues with joists, and water ingress, and Martin reckons the project is currently about nine months behind. The wonderful Welsh weather has been battering the site for many months making the digging out of the foundations for the eventual extension Martin's estimate as being the worst part of the renovation project -so far.

The outside space that will be home to the restaurant with stunning views and the accessible accommodation, shop and visitor information area
Inside Martin Robert's Hendrewen Hotel and pub renovation in Blaencwm as it is on 15 June 2024. Can be used across Reach plc with the corrent pic credit -Credit:Jo Ridout, WalesOnline

Martin has been sharing the stresses of the project on social media. The toll of such a full-on, back-to-bricks, renovation combined with the weight of responsibility of reviving a building that was once the hub of the village has been keeping him awake at night.

Martin says: "I’m not sleeping very well at the moment because I’m constantly worried. It's a challenging time to be going into the hospitality industry. I really am like a duck, I’m trying to keep smooth on the surface but I am paddling like crazy underneath to try and make this happen on a very, very limited budget.”

He adds: "I do wear my heart on my sleeve and the support I get keeps me going. The people who write supportive comments on social media, they shouldn’t underestimate the difference it makes to me, it means so much.

"I am ploughing so much money and so much time and so much effort into this, it’s really scary, really daunting, there are times that I wake up in the night in a cold sweat because I know I’ve got to do this for the community - I’ve got to do it, and I will do it, but every day there's a list as long as your arm of problems to solve."

Two rooms have been made into one with the bar as the central area
Inside Martin Robert's Hendrewen Hotel and pub renovation in Blaencwm as it is on 15 June 2024. Can be used across Reach plc with the corrent pic credit -Credit:Jo Ridout, WalesOnline

The whole stressful journey is being documented for a potential future programme called 'Oops I bought a pub!' but deep into the project WalesOnline managed to get an exclusive sneak peek inside the pub in its current state. The project has been divided up into three phases and it is still very much in phase one - the main pub and bedrooms which Martin hopes to open in the autumn.

Previously the pub had two main rooms but in true Martin Roberts style all the walls have gone apart from half a section behind the new bar area, and the result is a fabulous space that spans the width of the current building. Upstairs some of the eight bedrooms have progressed even further having been plastered and are now just waiting for the ensuite and flooring to be fitted.

Martin says: "I want all the rooms to be very individual, the bathrooms will be the same, but the bedrooms will have different themes, so for the last four years I’ve been collecting things from antique fairs and car boot sales so that every room will have original and quirky things in them."

Currently, the outside area is a mix of mud and laid foundations plus there's a wooden lodge used for storage, and the remains of a rear room that Martin envisages being transformed into a private space with its own entrance for up to 12 people that can be hired for private parties and even host some of his celebrity friends when they come to visit. But there's still so much to do.

Since Martin had the moment of madness and bought the pub, which will become the hub of the village once opened and will welcome visitors to the restaurant, he has involved the local community as much as possible as a cornerstone of the project. The renovation has welcomed young people from the area to gain valuable, onsite training via the Real Skillz project and when phase one of the pub opens Martin is hoping the space can be used by local musicians to perform and young people to learn music as well as cooking skills in the kitchen when it is not being used.

Now Martin is hoping that the community can help him with the absolute heart of the pub - the bar. He needs someone to design it, someone to build it, or someone who can do both the design and the build - he is open to suggestions. He says: "It's the chance for a budding interior designer to come with a design for the bar, the centrepiece of the whole pub and hotel, to leave a legacy, and as a springboard for their career. There is no age limit though, the competition is aimed at anyone with an eye for design."

Martin says the design needn't be an expensive, flashy piece and that upcycling materials would fit the feel of the pub. The approximate dimensions for the bar are six metres long by three metres wide, but for more information about the space and the potential design Martin is holding an open day for people interested in the opportunity to visit the pub in Blaencwm on Saturday, June 22 between 2pm and 4pm to see the space for themselves. Designs as CAD, CGI or hand drawn with details of the design including suggested materials to use can be submitted via email

Martin is hopeful for help as the pub reaches a critical stage with the bar at the core of its future interior design. He says: "I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew and the bar design will really help, I’m half way through this thing and I’m not going to stop until it’s done "

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