Furniture Making Meets Agricultural Heritage
Making Shepherds Huts in a modern world
When I’m not working on furniture or joinery projects I am often to be found making Shepherds Huts with my old friend and mentor, Paulus Smith. A master carpenter of many years standing, he has taught me a great deal.
Traditional shepherds huts of the past were simple affairs, invariably moved about by horse power. In this region, the hilly South Downs, that meant they had to be low in weight. In our early days, most of the huts we built followed the pattern of their ancient antecedents, apart from some additional insulation and modern fixings: they were modest in size with a simple fit-out — a day-bed and a dresser perhaps.
But clients’ needs have changed. Customers often now request extra features and facilities and so, inevitably, the huts we make have become bigger and more sophisticated.
This means new challenges — to build in these features, with simple but elegant joinery, and still retain the look, feel and proportions of the traditional hut.
This hut, shown here, is just such an example. It has been specified for the customer to be able to offer ‘glamping’ facilities, so it has a built-in shower room with sink and composting toilet, a kitchenette with stove, butler’s sink and fridge, plus a full pull-out double day-bed. And a wood-burning stove.
Including such elements while retaining the ‘X’ factor of the traditional hut, with its simple charm, unique proportions and distinctive simplicity, is no easy task. Paulus’s huts, I think, achieve it in spades. There is no compromise on quality and it shows.