By Liz Nicholson
Childhood memories of dens, treehouses and shepherd’s huts set the scene for often chasing the “home beyond the house walls”.
In my case, the shepherd’s hut was the real deal, abandoned in a leafy beech woodland on a bucolic Cotswold estate. The shepherd’s hut of my childhood was scarce in its furnishings, bare in fact, with apple-green walls and a rusty, old stove. As kids, we would set up home there and while away summer days: cooking sticks and stones and only returning home at night when our grumbling tummies couldn’t be ignored. The point is that despite the comfort of home, we seek that homely destination in our outdoor spaces.
Summer houses give us space away from the day to day, space for dreaming and time to think. Some may choose to have the space for a particular need – a lovely friend in the next village loved her summer house and used to while away the hours doing the ironing, in her space, while listening to her favourite radio station.
I often feel that many clients, faced with a need for more space, may be wise to consider a garden room as they are so much more flexible and, almost inevitably, much more affordable. If built from oak or larch timber, structures offer a much lighter carbon footprint and can endure for decades. One of our favourite projects over this winter was the design and build of an oak-framed structure with good log storage and a workshop area. The structure had to have a fairly flat roof, so we added the pergola to the front elevation to take the eye off the structure altogether. Our clients love the space and they tell us they use it all the time.