The Woodcutters Refuge

Slow architecture, fully designed cabins and tiny houses

The Woodcutter’s Refuge is a bespoke cabin, designed and built for clients in South Devon.

The initial conversation with the clients about The Woodcutter’s Refuge was simple.  Similar to that of a Scottish Bothy (a small hut or cottage specifically for housing farm labourers or for use as a hill/mountain shelter) our clients wanted a cabin on their land that could store tools, 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 visiting the site, we discovered that the clients didn’t just want a simple rustic cabin in a field.  Instead, they wanted a beautifully designed space using considered materials that would withstand the weather and naturally blend into its woodland surroundings.

The clients valued the time it took to get the design right and to choose the ideal materials in order to create their perfect small space. We showed them various options and advised on what we knew worked best.

The location for the Woodcutter’s Refuge wasn’t just a straightforward field, it was a steep Devon hillside that entailed driving trucks through four fields until they reached the stunning location, with a backdrop of the Dart estuary.

In our opinion, it presented the perfect challenge!

Cabin Maquette of Woodcutter refuge

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. This was especially true for this cabin project which was built into a steep hillside, nestled in a woodland. Drawings alone felt like a restrictive medium for communicating how the space would interact with its surroundings. What was the answer? Life Space Cabins architect Alex made a beautiful cabin maquette. The delighted clients were shown the model and could immediately envisage the bespoke cabin on their plot. They were able to make better judgements on material choices and the placement of doors and windows for their Woodcutter’s Refuge.

  • “The woodcutters shed has proved a haven on many occasions over the last few [covid] months! It is still wonderful.”


  • Exterior: Corten corrugated steel sheets on the roof and rear wall with thin vertical strips of cladding for the other elevations to give linear consistency.
  • Interior: Working with specialised Yacht and Architectural Rigger Lee Rogers Rigging we created the fun drop down window using a combination of winches and pulleys.
  • Windows: Double glazed Crittall windows allowing light to flow through the space. We worked with DandR Design
  • Details: Local blacksmith John Churchill handmade all the latches and handles specifically for the cabin.

02Cabin Facts

  • A full oak frame
  • Hillside location
  • Bothy style small hut refuge
  • Drop down side element
  • Bespoke elements such as door furniture
  • Design can conform to Permitted Development guidelines
  • Woodburning stove fitted

03Life Space Cabin Sevices

  • Full Design
  • Full Planning Service
  • Full Construction Detailing
  • Full Build Service