Another one saved! Shepherds hut restoration
Victorian Shepherds Hut Restoration
As soon as the chainsaw came out we knew this was not going to be easy……
Its one thing having to cut a tree back to move a shepherds hut but another to have to dig it out of the mud where it has sat for 40 years. The customer aka PM has had this in the family as long as his grandmother can remember and it has always been on their farm near Bury St Edmunds. His brief to Suffolk Hut Makers is as follows… Gents I would like this back to original condition but keeping the character and charm of the 130 years the hut has endured. So the shepherds hut restoration challenge was on.
Having done some restoration in the past we knew the key to keeping the character of the hut was to use as much as the original material as possible but make it a welcoming and warm useable space.
Deconstructing the hut was a task for gloves, we thought to ourselves ‘no wonder the hut has lasted 130 years the shear weight in nails would have held it up if all the timber had of rotted’. Once deconstructed back to the axles we could then see what was still useable and what had perished. Along came a fairly major chassis renovation using as much of the original timber as possible and some reclaimed timber scarfed in where necessary. Now it was time to build up.
Remaking the frames for the walls whilst using the old ones as templates it was cool to see how the old timers had jointed and fixed in their day. We pretty much did side walls, ends walls and gables like for like but added some modern fixings and adhesive just to make sure of another 130 years. The original insulation of twisted straw although very cool would not quite cut it so we sourced some ‘thema fleece, cosy wool’ 100% Bristish sheeps wool and natures finest insulation apparently. This gives the hut a really cosy feel and the slight smell of lanalin on entry is very nice. Guess thats how they should smell?
The roof is the same external dimensions as the original but due to the 100mm of insulation some jiggery pokery had to take place to ensure this hut can now be used year round by not only the toughened shepherd. As the customer did not want it looking like a new hut the tin had to be reclaimed from a local farmer and a waterproof membrane had to be fitted below it with the utmost care ensuring old look but modern weather retention.
The interior fit out is minimal but much effort has gone into using original materials and fixings, a particular favourite of ours is the use of the old exterior cladding, cleaned and waxed on the interior walls.
We really appreciated the opportunity to renovate this hut for PM. The farm colours of Minster Green boarding and red lead chassis are tremendous and we are really happy with the outcome.
More importantly we hope PM and his family get all the joy in the world from seeing and using this hut.
If you are interested in shepherds hut restoration please contact us.