Can I Self-Build a Shepherds Hut?
Updated: Jun 9
Many original, century-old Shepherd Huts still exist today in salvageable condition and it was some well-documented restorations of these that captured peoples' imaginations and helped drive the Shepherd hut's huge rise in popularity. To take the shell of an original hut and restore it to its former glory is a wonderful passion project if you've got the time, the tools and the know-how... And if you're lucky enough to find an old disused hut to restore!
As originals are getting harder to find, we do sometimes receive requests for "part-built" or even "kit-form" huts for the customer to complete. Sometimes this is requested by the more hands-on and DIY savvy who wish to put their own mark on their hut. Other times, it's to save a bit of money and keep the hut within budget. This article aims to address what is and isn't possible when going down these routes, and how to get the best hut for your budget.
Self-Build Shepherd Hut Kits
What makes an English Shepherds Hut superior, in our opinion, is that they are extremely well built by our skilled and experienced team. Not only that, but every hut we make is a unique design, tailored to suit the customer. That's why we don't just sell our huts in flat pack form and ship them out with instructions- That approach works very well for IKEA, but it doesn't translate so well for bespoke, hand built products! Each hut is worth more than a sum of its parts, and much of the value is in the design and the care and attention to detail than just the materials.
Bear in mind also that the task of assembling a Shepherds Hut, even if you had all the parts pre-made, requires at-least-proficient carpentry skills, a workshop space, various tools plus the services of a qualified electrician and plumber if required. To complete the build in a timely manner, you'll probably have to budget for additional labour, extra "head scratching" time, and you'll likely spend more than if we'd just built it ourselves! That's why we don't sell or recommend self-build kits, nor do we offer guidance or parts to people making their own. If you've got the skills to assemble a self-build Shepherds Hut, you probably don't need to buy a kit in the first place!
Verdict: For the same reason most restaurants wouldn't just sell you the ingredients of their signature dishes to prep and cook yourself, we don't offer self-build kits!
Part-Build Shepherd Huts
We occasionally get asked to provide a hut that's been built up to a point, so that the customer can complete the build themselves. There are so many reasons why we absolutely don't, and here are the main ones:
We can't guarantee the quality if someone else finishes the hut. Every finished hut we make leaves our workshop with our seal of approval and a 10 year warranty, because we are confident in our own team's skill and the quality of their work. Unfortunately once a third party takes over a build, it's no longer completely our product and we cannot be liable for the work they do or the changes they make- effectively voiding our warranty. We'd much rather build a hut to completion, that we can put our name to. With safety factors regarding electrical wiring and stove installation, it's more an issue of your safety than our pride.
Retro-fitting can be a pain in the- : When building in bathrooms, kitchens, electrical fittings and joinery into our huts, careful planning and measurement is required to ensure that the design flows and that pipes, wiring, RCD units, stove vents and chimneys and water heaters are discreetly concealed into the walls, floor and fit out during the first fix. That's why we wouldn't be prepared to first fix the utilities for someone else to come along and fit their own kitchen or bathroom, for example, as there are too many margins for error which are quite frankly outside of our control.
It's actually more labour intensive all-around: When making a hut from start-to-finish, our team streamlines the build process so that the customer doesn't need to worry about the problem solving side of things. If the customer brings themselves or a third-party into the equation, the chain of communication gets longer, and the process becomes less efficient as those less experienced in hut-making have to tackle the inevitable learning curve- it slows things down and isn't fair on our other customers who may feel the knock-on effects of a delay.
The savings are often negligible: While self-fitting part of your hut might provide a material saving, there will often be additional design and labour costs for you in the long run that offset these savings by the time you complete the build. Not to mention time spent head-scratching and having to wait until the hut arrives in the first place means that you'll potentially be waiting a lot longer for your hut to be finished long after it leaves our workshop.
Verdict: For the same reason you cannot walk into a restaurant and ask the chef to part-cook your meal, whilst simultaneously cooking your own side dishes at the table, and somehow think that you are saving money whilst not throwing risk of food poisoning into the mix, we do not offer part-built huts.
Unfurnished Shepherd Huts
The good thing about Shepherd Huts is that they can built as spacious as you like, so that you can furnish them yourselves. For a simpler, more traditional hut, we are happy to provide you with an empty, but fully finished hut for you to fit out with your own beds, wardrobes and so on, no questions asked!
Verdict: An empty, unfurnished hut is absolutely fine. However, see the points above on retro-fitting if its your intention to eventually add in a bathroom or kitchen- if you do, it's best for us to do it ourselves.
We provide all of our huts fully built and fully finished, because to meet halfway on a build is to only meet halfway on quality. That way, each hut that leaves our workshop does so with our confidence and guarantee that it meets the standards that we strive to create. It may seem like the pricier option, but it offers the customer complete peace of mind and allows our team to do what they do best: create and deliver an outstanding product. This is why we do not sell self-build kits or part-built huts!
If you do wish to really put your personal touch to the hut, this can be done with the soft-furnishings, decorations and also the paint scheme (for which we offer a practically limitless range of colours). You can even design it in tandem with our in-house team, to really personalise the finish so that your hut is unique.
If you're trying to keep the hut within budget, we also offer some finance options meaning that you can spread the cost of your hut without compromising on the fit out you require. Contact us for more information on the finance brokers we work with.