Shepherd’s delight: The cosy appeal of haute huts

With their simplicity, cosy proportions and proximity to the great outdoors, it’s easy to understand the appeal of a shepherd’s hut.

Sarah Moore

The designer, writer and TV presenter lives in the West Sussex countryside with her husband Pete, their children Harry, Ed and Libby, and their dog Bramble.

Why a shepherd’s hut? I definitely have a thing for miniature, compact living spaces. I spent my childhood outside making dens and I’ve wanted one for years.

Who designed your hut? We have a brilliant craftsman, Paul Pinnington from Hill Lands Huts, who makes them in an outbuilding on our farm. This was his prototype and I just couldn’t resist.

Adjacent to the house and with views over the South Downs, the hut is the perfect spot in which to unwind. The canvas awning is a valuable addition for outdoor suppers, regardless of weather

Adjacent to the house and with views over the South Downs, the hut is the perfect spot in which to unwind. The canvas awning is a valuable addition for outdoor suppers, regardless of weather.

Sarah and Libby enjoying some mum-daughter time in the hut. ‘It is such a great space in which to unwind and escape modern technology,’ says Sarah

Sarah and Libby enjoying some mum-daughter time in the hut. ‘It is such a great space in which to unwind and escape modern technology,’ says Sarah.

Libby and her friends toasting bread and marshmallows around the fire. The central firepit is a repurposed galvanised tub

Libby and her friends toasting bread and marshmallows around the fire. The central firepit is a repurposed galvanised tub.

The design It is a new structure using locally felled trees for the frame, along with reclaimed tin cladding and salvaged antique farm-machinery wheels. Inside, the beds, shelves and shutters were all made from a £30 old winnowing machine. Even the drum was used to create the oven backplate. We have a permanent double bed and pull-out twin beds that double up as a sofa, plus an extending table that can be hidden away.

Wood-burning stove or oven? Both! I love a fire and adore cooking. Creating a full meal away from the house gives me a sense of adventure.

How do you use the space? For meetings, film crew lunches, book club suppers, sleepovers, sneaky Sunday naps and as a party den for the kids.

Always ready for a brew, an old tin kettle boils over the crackling fire

Always ready for a brew, an old tin kettle boils over the crackling fire.

‘I wanted both a wood-burner and oven in the hut,’ says Sarah. ‘This is a new piece sourced from Belgium, but eventually I would like to find an antique one to complete the look'

‘I wanted both a wood-burner and oven in the hut,’ says Sarah. ‘This is a new piece sourced from Belgium, but eventually I would like to find an antique one to complete the look’

How does it make you feel? Relaxed, restful and at home. Our house is pre-renovation so the hut is the only space that is decorated as I really want it.

Your favourite feature The simplicity.

Bonfire night traditions We have a big party with friends, a huge fire, candlelight, outdoor cooking and laughter.

Best decorating tip Reclaimed materials make a new structure look old, and mean you are never precious.

What would you buy with your last pound? Lamp oil. It’s cheap as chips, but the glow is priceless.

For more information on Sarah’s work, go to sarahmoorehome.co.uk

George Temper

The founder of bespoke craft company Temper Studio, George lives and works on a farm in rural Wiltshire, where he shares the land with cows and sheep.

How did you start designing shepherd’s huts? My home and workshop is located on Boyton Farm. The owner, a good friend of mine, found two old huts in a barn and wanted to do something new and exciting with them. I said I would help and it went from there. The first hut was designed as a mobile field kitchen and the second is being developed as a simple writer’s retreat.

George in the mobile field kitchen, the first structure in his Temper portfolio. He set up Temper Studio in 2013 with no formal training in making furniture and learned his practical skills from a book of his father’s and YouTube tutorials

George in the mobile field kitchen, the first structure in his Temper portfolio. He set up Temper Studio in 2013 with no formal training in making furniture and learned his practical skills from a book of his father’s and YouTube tutorials.

For George, the interior of the hut is all about the detail. A dado rail runs around the interior and its wooden pegs enable shelves, dish racks and other accessories to be added and moved around to suit the needs of the day

For George, the interior of the hut is all about the detail. A dado rail runs around the interior and its wooden pegs enable shelves, dish racks and other accessories to be added and moved around to suit the needs of the day.

George at work in his studio. He combines traditional craftsmanship with a contemporary, architectural approach

George at work in his studio. He combines traditional craftsmanship with a contemporary, architectural approach.

 ‘The rolling Wiltshire countryside gives me the quiet I need to be creative,’ says George. ‘Having moved out of London, I no longer find myself filtering decisions through others, as I have the headspace to trust my instinct’

 ‘The rolling Wiltshire countryside gives me the quiet I need to be creative,’ says George. ‘Having moved out of London, I no longer find myself filtering decisions through others, as I have the headspace to trust my instinct’

The design My process always begins with material combinations, colours and textures. The designs fit architecturally with rural Wiltshire and I use sustainable local timbers such as oak cladding and cedar wood shingles, along with corrugated iron and a black paint finish. Inside, the walls are birch plyboard and the cabinets and surfaces are made from local timbers.

How would you describe your style? My huts are clean lined, modernist and Shaker-inspired. I create spaces I would like to spend time in and always prefer the slightly more austere aesthetic; I find it calming.

‘Lots of formally trained craftspeople know how to make furniture but have little aesthetic clarity to know what to make,’ says George. ‘I was the other way around – I am a firm believer that you can learn anything if you have a practical application for it’

‘Lots of formally trained craftspeople know how to make furniture but have little aesthetic clarity to know what to make,’ says George. ‘I was the other way around – I am a firm believer that you can learn anything if you have a practical application for it’

Your favourite feature The beautiful arched roof and the shape it makes within the hut. Plus the way the light falls in the mornings and evenings.

The best thing about living in the country Isolation and the time to learn how to learn.

The key to a happy life As long as potential exists, it is not difficult to be happy. You might have all the comforts in the world, yet no sense of potential.

For more information on George’s work, visit temperstudio.com

Katharine Pooley

Interior designer Katharine lives in rural Oxfordshire with her husband Daniel and their sons Jack and Charlie.

Why a shepherd’s hut? We stayed in the Molly Dishwasher hut – think boutique hotel meets camping – five years ago, when the boys were both tiny, and we were hooked. We wanted to re-create the magic at home.

Who designed your hut? We approached craftsman Paulus Smith of Artisan Shepherd’s Huts to work on a design with us.

The exterior of the hut is currently black but Katharine has plans to change it to Farrow & Ball’s grey-brown Mouse’s Back

The exterior of the hut is currently black but Katharine has plans to change it to Farrow & Ball’s grey-brown Mouse’s Back.

Katharine’s new interiors book Journey By Design was written from the desk inside the hut

Katharine’s new interiors book Journey By Design was written from the desk inside the hut.

The tented ceiling and curtains add a touch of elegance to the interior, while visually separating the sleeping and living areas from the cooking space

The tented ceiling and curtains add a touch of elegance to the interior, while visually separating the sleeping and living areas from the cooking space.

The design It’s a new structure, with a tin roof, reclaimed army wheels and black wooden cladding. Inside, a tented ceiling and panelling keep it warm and cosy. There is a kitchen area, with a sink, stove and fire, and a sleeping area, with a bed that doubles as a daybed.

The details The décor is very feminine, in total contrast to our more masculine, all-blue house. Inside, it is painted in the softest lavender with exquisite fabrics by Tissus D’Hélène. We’ve used luxurious furniture, including my treasured captain’s travel desk.

Your favourite feature The hut is lit by battery-operated faux candlelight.

How do you use the space? As a play den for the children, guest space, writing retreat and grown-up escape.

Bonfire night traditions Fire pit, toasted marshmallows and playing guitar and singing with the boys.

The key to a happy life Travel well but always enjoy the simple pleasures of home.

Do you have any further plans for the hut? We love reading to the boys so are converting an old Rice horsebox into a mobile library to go next to it.

For more information on Katharine’s work, visit katharinepooley.com

– By Ali Heath and Nicole Gray