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105 Sq. Ft. English Shepherd Hut Wagon Cabin

This 105 sq. ft. English Shepherd Hut Wagon Cabin is a guest post by Victoria Schon – share yours!

My name is Victoria and I discovered the English shepherd hut by way of a beautiful article written in the September 2013 issue of The English Home Magazine. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful photos of a little hut on cast iron wheels sitting peacefully in the beautiful and expansive English countryside of windblown summer grasses and wild flowers.

Inside, the hut was charming and inviting, decorated with fabrics of soft warm reds and ivory. The small space was filled with books, pillows, fresh cut flowers, a bed and a desk. This quaint tiny space felt cozy, quiet and rejuvenating. As I pictured myself there, I felt relaxed and inspired. At once I fell in love with the romantic notion that these little huts had restorative powers and I wanted to experience this for myself. I then filed away the article from which to draw inspiration in the future should the need arise, and moved on with my day.

Then something quite unexpected happened a year later. In the summer of 2014, I was driving my dog to the groomer. While stopped in traffic I glanced over to the side of the road to discover sinking into the ground, an old Wyoming sheep herder wagon at a farm market that looked as though it had been there for years! I had driven by that corner for the past 15 years and never even noticed it! I was instantly struck with inspiration and I envisioned myself building an English shepherd hut to match the one I had seen the year before in the magazine article.

As an interior designer, I could also put to use my experience in custom home construction and project management. This little project was going to utilize my complete skill set, experience and creative talents, and it was going to be so much fun! I could not wait to get started!

Please enjoy, learn more and re-share below. Thank you!

105 Sq. Ft. English Shepherd Hut Wagon Cabin

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Images © Victoria Schon

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What I discovered next was surprising. I began a thorough research into English shepherd huts and discovered that it was impossible to find an authentic English shepherd hut in the U.S. So I began to search in England. I narrowed my search and reached out to Blackdown Shepherd Huts in Somerset, England. They were very supportive of my dream to bring English shepherd huts to America. After a trip to England just a few weeks later, we agreed to work together and formed a partnership. In April 2015, my first two English shepherd huts arrived in America!

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Building the huts was more thrilling than I had imagined! I gathered an impressive team of local master craftsmen to meet the Englishmen who journeyed to Michigan to provide expert guidance in the assembling and finishing of the huts. With everyone enthusiastically and tirelessly working, we had the two huts assembled quickly and efficiently. Our local craftsmen then finished the interiors using the highest quality of materials and methods, and implementing U.S. standards for electrical and plumbing.

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This is our first fully finished shepherd hut, it is a 14 foot long hut. The interior design of this hut was inspired by the English linen fabrics and designed as a writer’s retreat, home office or creative haven. What I really love about this hut is the tranquil, yet cheery and bright colors. I consciously choose a warm and bright white for the walls and a soft blue in the same value for the ceiling. The objects and color changes are subtle and stay within a defined tonal range, which allows the eyes and senses to rest. Inside the hut, one feels the cares of the day fall away as the mind begins to slow down and attention is drawn to the tiny details. This is why I believe small spaces are nourishing for the soul and very suitable as a retreat. The finishes are a yin and yang between refined and rustic, classic and modern, mindful to not lose the feeling of the original humble heritage of the shepherd hut.

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What goes inside this tiny space must be useful as well as inspirational. The hut is furnished with an old farm table from Germany that functions perfectly as a desk, and an airy wrought iron day bed with lots of pillows to rest, day dream and rejuvenate. I added a hand-crafted bench made from tree branches to keep the space casual and connected to nature and allow for the occasional visitor. Framed photos of loved ones, sentimental objects and books, which line the shelves serve to inspire the creative spirit.

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This hut feels roomy and solid. It is insulated with English sheep’s wool insulation which not only keeps the hut warm in the winter and cool in the summer, it is an effective sound insulator. The hut is modernized with electricity for lighting and heat, and easily plugs into any household outlet. The cast iron wheels and solid oak rolling chassis are fully functional which allows a hut to be moved short distances for seasonal changes and new vistas. All of the doors and windows are handcrafted in England using time-honored craftsmanship and materials.

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The hut beckoned to be named, so we call her Buttercup, a tradition we will likely carry on as we complete more huts in the future.  We are currently working on our second hut, an 18 foot hut designed and appointed for longer stays which includes a built in queen-size bed with lots of storage, electricity, indoor plumbing, including a shower, WC, and a wet bar.

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Images © Victoria Schon

VIDEO: Blackdown Shepherd Huts at the Dexter Garden Club Green Day


I am very excited to share my love for English shepherd huts in North America. There is something incredibly rejuvenating about the interior spaces of these little huts and they fit so beautifully into a landscape or backyard garden. I hope I can inspire others to begin to appreciate the humble heritage of the shepherd hut and experience for themselves the restorative as well as functional space these tiny dwellings offer. These huts are surprisingly roomy and functional, yet very intimate and cozy. And as I was recently reminded by a friend, the English shepherd hut is the original tiny house!

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A big thank you to Victoria Schon for sharing with us! 

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Andrea
Andrea has lived simply in small spaces for more than 7 years and enjoys sharing her space saving (and space multiplying) tips from experience.
Andrea

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • jan July 22, 2015, 11:11 am

    At first i thought this was another TH that would only help those who could afford the things that most wouldn’t be able to use . But as I

    think about my own process in making a TH it gives one an outlook that maybe i can at least copy some ideas that are truly lovely.

  • Trish July 22, 2015, 11:11 am

    This is a great little hideaway, very cozy, nicely decorated. The only change I would make is another window above the bench. I like lots of light and views.

  • Sharee July 22, 2015, 2:22 pm

    No bathroom. No kitchen. This is just a nice room with a daybed and table.

  • Patty July 23, 2015, 12:55 am

    I like this space that could be used to rejuvenate oneself, write or create. It’s a nice way to spend some down time.

  • Nanny M July 23, 2015, 3:28 am

    A “she shed” idea, Mom’s “tine out”, place for meditation. Perfect for writing, sewing, dreaming, de-stressing. One on one conversation. One could take the idea and create it in a spare room in the house. I would have loved this for a playhouse, as a girl, to get away from four siblings.

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