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The Woodcutter’s Refuge was designed and built for private clients in South Devon.

The initial conversation with the clients was simple. Similar to that of a Scottish Bothy (a small hut or cottage especially for housing farm labourers or for use as a hill/mountain shelter) Our clients wanted a cabin built on their land that could store tools and equipment and double up as a refuge should the weather turn. 

As with all Life Space projects, the brief developed into something quite amazing. Upon a site a visit we discovered that they didn’t just want a simple rustic cabin in a field they wanted a beautifully designed space using considered materials that would withstand the weather and naturally blend into its surroundings.

It wasn’t just any field it was a steep Devon hillside that entailed driving trucks through four fields until they reached the stunning location of the Dart estuary.

In our opinion the perfect challenge!

Where to begin?

Sometimes 2D images and designs are not quite enough for us to show the client exactly what we hope to achieve for them. With this cabin project in particular, because the cabin was built into a steep hillside, nestled in a woodland, drawings were a restrictive medium for communicating how the space would interact with its surroundings. The answer? Life Space Cabins architect Alex made a beautiful cabin maquette. The delighted clients were shown the model and could immediately envisage it on their plot and subsequently were able to make better judgements on choices for materials and placement of doors and windows.

Materials

The clients valued the time it took to get the design right, to choose the correct materials in order to create their perfect amazing small space. We showed them various material options and advised on what we knew worked best. The refuge is clad in Corten Corrugated steel sheets on the roof and rear wall and has thin vertical strips of cladding for the other elevations to give linear consistency. Windows were double glazed Crittall windows allowing light to flow through the space. We worked with a local Yacht and Architectural Rigger Lee Rogers Rigging to create the drop down window using a combination of winches and pulleys. Local blacksmith John Churchill handmade all the latches and handles specifically for the cabin.

The Build

Once planning permission was granted we then began the task of pulling together everything needed for the offsite and onsite construction. This was by no means a small feat. With the cabin location being on a steep Devon hillside and the design having the exciting (but complicated) elements such as the dropped down side this was our most challenging project to date. Not to mention the two heavy snow falls Devon had this year.
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