I am so fortunate to have been involved in many dreamy interior projects over the years, and this one was no exception! In the Spring of 2018, I was asked to work with the very lovely Kirsty from Dither & Faff, on their shepherds hut in Dorset. The hut was an amazing project that was built with love and passion for the business Kirsty and her husband Gary, were creating.
Kirsty had a colour scheme in mind and we knew that we both wanted rustic and simple interior styling and design. During the final build stages, I made a couple of visits to Marnhull to discuss design ideas and fabric choices with Kirsty. I have happy memories of walking cross the paddock in the midst of snow and rain, in our wellies, armed with fabrics and ideas, to a hot cup of tea in the hut while we chatted about all things ‘interiors’.
My style is very much country interiors and I chose fabrics and designs that would reflect this. Shepherds huts were widely used in the 18th and 19th century by Shepherds during lambing, raising sheep and moving them from place to place. I wanted to reflect this history in the soft furnishings with natural linen and wool, for the blinds, curtain and cushions, for a simple rustic interior.
I met up with Kirsty recently to discuss the story behind Dither & Faff and to start planning for the second hut.
Kirsty’s Story of Dither & Faff
We bought Little Hains in 2014 as a project to create a family home and keep a few animals on the surrounding fields. Life was super busy for us both working full time, raising three children and renovating the house. Over many cups of tea my husband, Gary and I had dreamed and discussed about making this house move work better for us as a family and I had always dreamed of running something at home and keeping a few animals.
So we decided to make some lifestyle changes with a view to make the most of the beautiful meadow…so I gave up a full time job in education and create a space for people to come and stay and perhaps live a bit more off the land here in Dorset.
We had always loved the traditional style of Shepherds Huts and felt a rustic countryside build would suit the environment. Gary and I recognised Marnhull is an area that attracts tourists and are proud to support and promote some super local businesses around us. So from the very beginning we wanted to create a space for guests to come and completely escape the hustle and bustle and encourage the importance of simplicity and slowing down.
I am a true homebird at heart and so Dither & Faff was created as Gary had always laughed about me dithering and faffing at home. We felt it could be an exciting time to start a holiday business as current trends were showing how our nation were taking more short breaks in the UK, there was a demand for mindfulness time out and a huge appreciation for buying and supporting local businesses.
So after researching the build Gary decided he could take on the project himself being a property developer. It has been important throughout to create a simple space that encourages an appreciation for the natural surroundings, to get guests to be outside but at the same time supply extra touches that also make our guests feel a little bit spoilt!
Our Shepherd Huts have en-suite facilities, a kitchen area with a King-Size bed and a wood burner to keep our guests cosy. We wanted our huts to provide everything in one space without the need to go outside for the bathroom. Amazingly we squeezed so much inside and yet we feel with the simple interior design it feels spacious! For me the linens and fabrics were so important to get right and I was fortunate enough to work with Jacqueline Milton on our project.
My thoughts were to create a high end hotel level of comfort but at the same time not loosing the traditional rustic feel of the natural countryside. Jacqueline’s beautiful colours and designs were a starting point, and Helen’s additional ideas of texture and natural fabrics all combined to create the stunning interior. As you step inside the light and airy feel creates space and then the soft tweeds and wool make you want to relax in utter comfort!
The Dither Hut has been so successful and kept us busy even through the winter months, providing many guests with a beautifully designed space to unwind in over a short break to really just dither in Dorset. Our guests enjoy sitting outside having breakfast with the Sheep and Alpacas, listening to the birdsong…taking in the views of the surrounding fields, whilst being warm and relaxed.
Bring on the second hut…The Faff Hut! It will be the same design as it is a space that completely works, however the exterior will be black corrugated sheets.
We are excited to be working with Helen once again, and inside this Hut we really want to make use of natural materials with lots of reclaimed timber and copper…perhaps a darker cosy feel with a splash of colour! I feel less is more, and once again following a trend for simple living, but with a level of luxury to make our guests feel loved! Plans are also underway to create a Woodland BBQ area to cook outside and enjoy sitting amongst the trees, watching the wildlife. The Dither Hut will also have a wood fired hot tub installed this year to relax in under the stars together.
As a family we are thoroughly enjoying running Dither & Faff and so fulfilling that guests embrace our vision and enjoy the space we have created.
Visit Kirsty and the Dither and Faff hut here