We first became aware of Barnacre Alpacas when both companies were at a local craft show at a National Trust property. Our kids were like bees to honey when they saw the pen of Alpacas and they kept going back to Paul and Debbie with numerous obscure questions! Not long after Debbie approached us about building them a shepherd hut to go on their farm, where they would display their exquisite alpaca wool knitwear.
The brief for this build was fairly straight forward and Debbie and Paul were trusting enough just to let us use our own vision for the hut. The only stipulation was that the insulation was to be alpaca wool rather than sheep’s wool! Fantastic. Dutifully Debbie brought us bags and bags of the wool, it was amazingly soft and silky with an incredible palate of colours, unbelievably these were the ‘off cuts’ unsuitable for spinning into wool! The bags were even labelled with the name of the alpaca who’d had the haircut. Sadly no one will ever see the insulation but they will appreciate its warmth in the long Northumbrian winters as, with all our shepherd huts, the floor, walls and roof are packed with insulation.
Externally the hut was clad with a reclaimed pine dance floor which had a magnificent naturally worn patina. On top of this we decided to use thin strips of oak over the tongue and groove joints. This was an idea influenced by a number of partially dilapidated railway workers huts which are scattered about the area (that we had unashamedly had a poke about in). We were very pleased with the overall effect as it adds depth and texture to the cladding and is certainly a one off.
Internally the fit out for the display space was outlined with Debbie and Paul, some hidden storage in the form of large rustic pull out crates and a fitted cupboard, the rest of the display space being a bespoke scarf rack, handmade knobs to hang items on coat hangers and an easily accessible button trough!
The hut was delivered halfway up a hillside meadow, awash with buttercups, which made the most of the extraordinary views.
Within a day Debbie had the hut stocked with knitwear and the alpacas, who were so curious to see what we were delivering, got the chance to take a closer look.