With just days to go now until Christmas it seems like the perfect time to sit down, fire gently crackling away in the log burner in my Snug hut, and reflect on the year just gone.
Getting off to a very positive start, the first half of 2023 started with the workshop running like a spinning top, with Nicola managing the production, Jonesey and Mark focusing on the design needs and innovative build methods, and our brilliant team leaders and furniture makers, joiners, hutmakers and finishers hitting their stride. It wasn’t overheated – we don’t like that – but a well-run, busy workshop is a joy to see. Our customers all sense that positive creative energy when they book a workshop visit; do come and see us if you haven’t already.
May saw us heading to RHS Chelsea Flower Show once again, with our new RHS Bothy hut in the centre of the Great Pavilion, as well as a stand in our usual spot down in Ranelagh Gardens, away from the main hub and more of an artisan area. We enjoyed showing thousands of visitors old and new our display model – a 20’ en-suite Cabin with double bed, very smart kitchen, shower room and seating area. It’s such a popular design that we usually build the Cabin as a ‘ready to roll’, with one often finished, or soon to be completed, and ready to go almost straight away. As I write, we have one in the workshop in our new Watermill interior aesthetic, ready to load up and be delivered to a lucky new owner. Do get in touch if you’d like to come and see it.
The year, from summer onwards, involved many more one-off bespoke projects than we would usually see, including a ‘push me pull me’ hut which has a front at both ends. It’s a brilliant design, for wildlife photography, and is heading up to a very special spot in Lancashire soon. It has camo net curtains which pull around a deck at each end, and open-in sweet chestnut doors and windows so that the occupants can have 360-degree photo opportunities completely hidden from view. It’s got to be one of the best huts we’ve ever made.
We have also launched the Sixpenny Hut House ™ , our exciting new take on the popular Tiny House, based on the design of an iconic Dutch barn near the village of Sixpenny Handley, Dorset. Read more about this exciting new design by following the link to our website page.
Having made about 25 huts for THE PIG Hotel group over the years, we’ve also been excited to build our first ever THE PIG- at Home Wagon this year. Lined with their signature reclaimed timber, and with reclaimed flooring and beautiful THE PIG bathroom fittings, the collaboration will mark a really exciting next step for Plankbridge when THE PIG-at Home launches officially in the new year.
While economic uncertainty has definitely been noticeable in the last quarter, with larger projects, and some domestic ones too, holding back while the whole country seems to be holding its breath waiting for things to change, we are hugely excited about our plans for next year, with some unique glamping projects coming up in some very special locations.
Right now, we are working on a few bespoke residential huts, with quirky twists like outdoor baths, sliding saloon doors and also a couple of Lodge-width huts heading to Vermont in the US. When we resume in January, we also have huts nine and ten to finish for the wonderful Elmley National Nature Reserve in North Kent. I often talk about the magic to be found in products and places, and Elmley has it in spades.
If you are keen to talk huts, design, off-grid ideas, we’re here to help, and we look forward to cracking on next year. In the meantime, thank you for all your support over the year and here’s to a very Merry Christmas!