Plain Huts: Designed for Life
The Jacob Hut (photo courtesy Jo Po Photography & Visual Arts)
Our little village in Wiltshire is full of the most interesting and creative people. Living in the middle of Salisbury Plain means that we are surrounded by the open skies and fields of the countryside, and without a doubt this has an effect on one’s creative output. My friend Cath Caesar, founder of Plain Huts, designs and makes the most beautiful Shepherd’s Huts, and, deciding to take a break from both the studio and the kitchen a few weeks ago, I went to pay her a visit at her workshop.
Plain Huts is a family business based on The Plain- hence the name "Plain" Huts. Cath specialises in building bespoke shepherd's huts that are beautiful, functional and contemporary. Embracing the romance of the past through design choices such as large cast-iron wheels and the distinctive curved tin roof, yet combined with modern practicalities of double glazing and closed cell foil backed insulation, means that a Plain Hut, with its use of clean lines and beautiful Western Red Cedar cladding, is really like no other. Cath began making her huts in 2012, and every year since then she has brought out new versions of her existing huts: Cath now builds huts with en-suite wet rooms and bathrooms, compostable toilets, fully fitted kitchens, all still reflecting her contemporary take on the traditional style of shepherd’s hut.
Cath Caesar in her workshop, Salisbury Plain
I love the idea of having an extra space or room, particularly a little add-on that doesn’t need planning permission, and can be tucked away in a corner of your garden. The beautiful cedar vertical panels of a Plain Hut, juxtaposed with Cath’s cast iron wheels, glass sliding doors, recessed lighting and woodburning stoves all make for an aesthetically beautiful combination of traditional meets contemporary. It just works. My favourite bit of the huts is the corrugated tin roof: reminiscent of our farm house roof in South Africa, I couldn’t think of anything nicer than being tucked away, wood burning stove going, with that unmistakable sound of rain on a tin roof.
Many of Cath’s customers buy the huts as part of farm diversification. Setting up campsites or glamping experiences is something undertaken by more and more farmers every year, and Cath is able to provide that sort of solution to diversification, in the form of fully built, or flat-pack huts. Many customers order the flat packs- people who are experienced enough to put the huts together themselves often order several flat-pack huts as part of a camping/glamping set up, and assemble them on site. A few years ago we went on holiday to such a farm in Sussex: and it was blissful. We slept on proper beds, we were warm, and safe, yet felt completely as if we were "properly" camping. That’s the other thing I love about the huts: they have all the mod-cons, namely electricity: I’m not one for proper roughing it camping, I did far too much of it in my childhood, I loved it, but those days are over and a few home comforts are needed when I’m on holiday: namely a hot cup of tea, cold vino, a good light to read by, and a bathroom: all of which are provided in the huts. You still get that outdoorsy feeling, without being cold and having to traipse across a field in the middle of the night to the loo.
The cedar clad Jacob: beautiful verticals
When I paid Cath a visit, she was in the middle of a build: and it was fascinating to see the hut take shape. I love watching people work, I love seeing their process, their set-up, the space they create in, and it was a real privilege to be able to see a hut being built.
You can find out more on www.plainhuts.co.uk or contact Cath Caesar on 07903313922.
Glimpse of the cast-iron wheels and the hand made oak verandah
Hand forged cast iron wheels
Tools & Tin
I love creative spaces...
With thanks to Cath Caesar of Plain Huts for allowing me to interrupt the building of a Jacob with my incessant questions and snapping away!