In 2013 my wife & I decided that we would like additional bedroom accommodation, but felt that an extension to the house was not practically feasible. Friends in Somerset have 2 old original shepherd’s huts, which gave us the idea that a hut in the garden could be the solution we were looking for.
Google searches over many hours identified potential suppliers and possible options:-
- A completed hut – this option was considered, but the initial cost meant that we would have had to save up for longer, before being able to take delivery.
- Purchase the component parts from one or more suppliers – this was probably the cheapest option, which would have relied on me being able to accurately specify and assemble individual components. I am an enthusiastic DIYer, not a builder, so this was possibly a riskier option. Supplier reliability and professionalism was also a concern.
- A self-build hut – this looked to be the option that best suited our needs. The lower initial cost meant that we could get things underway that much sooner. The self-build package better matched my DIY skills, whilst offering the potential for us to put our own mark on the finished hut.
Only a few of the suppliers of completed huts also included a self-build option and the Blackdown package offered a flexible and comprehensive range of choices.
Whilst visiting Somerset, I was able to visit Shrubbery Farm and was very impressed by the range of huts on show, the production facilities, the professionalism of everyone I met and the level of post-delivery support available.
Shortly after my visit I placed the order and, on confirmation, was told that my hut would be delivered on April 4th. Nine months later, my hut was delivered – on April 4th. Very impressed.
Delivery and unloading were managed very professionally.
The following 14 months were enjoyably spent building our dream.
Having researched the history and construction of the original shepherd’s huts, we wanted to construct a hut that was traditional in style and, although there was no single design or construction for the original huts, we opted for a metal chassis with corrugated tin external wall cladding.
The accurately constructed chassis, floor, wall and roof frames ensured that assembly of the hut’s framework was stress-free and straightforward, (assisted by the helpful accompanying video guide). With the side and end walls having been constructed around the door and window frames supplied, the door and window fitting posed no problems.
The external wall cladding, woodwork painting and weatherproofing was completed in the dry by September, leaving the winter months to work on the internal cladding and fixtures.
An electricity supply was installed for two wall lights, an external light and two wall sockets.
We selected pine for the internal cladding, with tongue & groove on the floor, TGV on the ceiling and butt-jointed vertical cladding on the walls. Osmo protection was applied to the floor and ceiling. The walls are emulsioned.
Following Blackdown’s lead, we opted to fit a Puffin 4 stove on a lakeland slate hearth, which, in combination with the CosyWool insulation fitted all round, keeps the hut very comfortable all year round.
I designed and built a 4’ bed frame to fit snuggly across the front end of the hut.
Using well worn second hand oak, we introduced some “age” into the hut by constructing shelves across each end.
We decided to construct a verandah to the rear of the hut, so that we could sit and enjoy the views of the surrounding fells.
The finished hut is now used most nights. Occasionally we allow guests to sleep in it, but for the most part we are very selfish and keep it for ourselves! It is the most restful room we have ever slept in.
From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed planning the project and all aspects of the construction process. Time consuming and hugely rewarding. It also provided a wonderful excuse for me to upgrade my range of power tools!
External corrugated wall cladding – A Steadman & Son, Warnell, Welton. Carlisle
Internal timber cladding – G H Chambers & Son, Workington
Electrical fittings – Holloways of Ludlow and Dowsing & Reynolds
From the Anvil curtain rails and cupboard door furniture – More Handles Ltd, Carlisle
Photo Credit: Andy Burr