Our wooden lighting and homeware brighten Blackdown Shepherd Hut's beautiful spaces - we spoke to them to find out why they opt for our sustainable, robust pieces...
TR: Can you tell us a bit about Blackdown Shepherd Huts?
BSH:“Blackdown Shepherd Huts was established in 2011 by William Vickery and his cousin George, but George moved on to new pastures in 2015. Blackdown now employ 25 people and are one of the leading shepherd hut makers in the UK. Domestic clients choose Blackdown to build them bespoke shepherd huts to use as spare rooms and garden rooms. Blackdown huts can also be found at luxury hotels across the UK, as part of Country Estate diversifications and on high end glamping sites across the UK”.
TR: Can you walk us through your vision for styling each hut?
BSH:“We always start with our clients in mind, and how we think the huts and interiors are going to be evolving for the next couple of years. For a display, Will, our Founder, and Emma, the Brand Founder, collect feedback and ideas they come up with, jotting notes down in a notebook as they go. These are always the start of any conversation about new huts. We narrow down the focus and then the rest of the team input ideas that they might have. So, we have shape and form and an idea of what style we want to go for. Then we’ll sit with our Interior Designer, Marina, and she starts working on the interior pieces required. Marina also works with clients to help them design their hut interiors.
We have a display garden of six huts at our base in Somerset, so we do aim to showcase different styles and options there. We’ve just launched our new Fusion Brace Shepherd Hut, which is two huts joined together by a glass walkway. We pioneered this method of joining shepherd huts and it’s been a very popular solution with our clients”.
TR: Why do you specify Tom Raffield in your lovely spaces?
BSH:“We’ve followed Tom for years and loved the brand, the quality of the products, and the innovation and shapes that his initial designs brought to the market captivated us. We actually visited the original workshop when we were looking to start using them in our huts - the house Tom built, and the products just blew us away. Our clients love them too, so all our huts now have Tom Raffield lights in them”.
TR: How do you let your natural surroundings affect your interior style?
BSH:“Shepherd huts are so connected to the outdoors that we are very inspired by our natural surroundings, we have to design them so that they are practical in all weathers, because they are a year round option and the sheep’s wool insulation keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We have skylights so that you can lay in bed and look at the stars, windows to make the most of the views and our latest launch the Fusion, has two sets of double doors which simply beckon you to come and spend time outside”.
TR: Do you have a favourite Tom Raffield product?
BSH:“It’s Emma here, I absolutely love the Artus Table Light especially in the evening – I love the light it throws from a large glow bulb. I have one as my bedside light and if I do wake up and switch it on, it doesn’t intrude like a bright light would! We also love the Urchin Pendant and the Skipper Pendant, beautifully made statement pieces”.
TR: How do you implement sustainable practices into your business?
BSH:“As a business, we’ve always played the long game, we don’t make short term snap decisions, we’re happy to grow organically. As a result, we have been able to build sustainable practices as we go. Things like:
Our wood offcuts heat the office and the workshop in winter,
We plant four trees for every hut we make,
We’ve designed and implemented a system that means we can use as waste sawdust as animal bedding,
We use local makers wherever possible and support UK designers in the Display Huts that we showcase,
We value our team and invest in things to improve their working environment and we’ve recently changed our work pattern so that people can have Friday afternoons off. I think as a leading brand in the shepherd hut market, it is incumbent on us to keep learning and to try and improve what we do constantly, for ourselves and our clients”.