Offering a getaway without going away and valuable extra space, Laura Cartledge discovers why Nightingale Shepherd Huts have people flocking.
There is no place like home, and many people will agree there is no place like Sussex.
As the late summer sun sets on the South Downs and the sea I, for one, do not want to be anywhere else.
Thankfully Nightingale Shepherd Huts make it possible to holiday in your own garden.
Owned and crafted by Carsten Harud each hut is bespoke and not only draws on his traditional skills but his attention to detail.
“Initially the thought came about four years ago,” he explains. “I have been a carpenter and cabinet maker since 2002 and everything I make is made on site which meant I had a lovely workshop in Henfield I did not get to spend much time in.”
Now that he divides his time between the workshop and his home in Brighton, Carsten is aware of the ancient links his work has with the surroundings.
“With the downs and the sheep farming I know they [the huts] were used in Sussex,” he says, “and it is good to be doing it here because of that.
“For me it started because I wanted to think of something which would be a viable business,” he adds. “The old man who taught me mentioned shepherd huts and back then they weren’t as well known as they are now.
“They bring together all the things which have interested me, such as making small spaces useable – my work is all about fitting things into small spaces.”
As a result the huts are surprisingly spacious. All are built on a steel welled chassis, with additional wooden joinery supports, from a local blacksmith and the most popular sizes range from 10ft x 7ft to 14ft x 7ft.
Made, where possible, from reclaimed and renovated materials adds to the unique quality each radiates and Carsten clearly has an eagle eye when it comes to adding personality.
“They also use a lot of things I like to find from antique markets which bring character,” he agrees. “From 100-year-old windows to Tudor floor boards.”
Uniting style and substance means there is a range of extras which can also be incorporated such as electrics, wood burners, a fold up table, cupboards, shelves, a balcony and beds.
“My work is always about fitting people’s needs. It is about balancing what the client wants but the sky is the limit,” Carsten says with a smile. “I have got tonnes of ideas in terms of making them.
“I would like to do one which had windows on the corner, it really has invigorated my love for the job that I do.”
While the idea of having your own custom made getaway, being able to say good night to the stars and wake up with a view that would make anyone jealous, the Nightingale Shepherd Huts also have a great practical side.
In a time when less people are moving house, and more are looking to make the most of what they have got, the huts offer a stylish alternative to an extension.
“And when you move you can take them with you, which has got to be part of the appeal,” Carsten points out. “The standard model is insulated so it can be used year-round.
“My brother has two children, one four and one three, who love having their space,” he says. “The hut has the excitement of a den and when they grow older it will be somewhere to hang out with friends.”
After all who couldn’t make use of extra room, perhaps as an office or guest bedroom – that is if you could bear to share it.
A 10ft x 7ft Shepherd Hut starts from £11,500 (inclusive of VAT). Delivery costs extra and depends on location.
Nightingale Shepherd Huts are bespoke pieces of work, so if you would like something different, Carsten can work with you to make your vision come to life.
To find out more about Nightingale Shepherd Huts, or to enquire about other wooden buildings or carpentry, visit www.nightingaleshepherdhuts.com