Annabel Log Cabin Review

The Annabel Log Cabin is known for its sleek and modern design. Take a look at this customers overview of their installation proccess for the Annabel Log Cabin.


The customer writes as follows

Bought an Annabel Log Cabin in the summer and thankfully the weather was kind and allowed me to get it all up and painted without too much interruption. Overall, very pleased with the cabin – spacious, robust, easy to build and looks great. Delivery was quick even under the Covid problems and the driver was great – he did a great job of getting it down our narrow cul de sac and right up to the top of the driveway which meant I didn’t have so far to carry everything round to the garden. I have added some description and pictures of the build.

This is the site prior to preparation. It had quite a slope on it so needed to remove a lot of soil to get a level starting point. Also had to remove some of the fencing and move another area to give about 50cm clearance all round and have good airflow.

Annabel Base Prep

The site levelled off and ready to dig out the foundations.

Rather than trying to lay a concrete base and struggle to get that flat, I chose to lay concrete foundations (about 200mm deep) and then laid medium density blocks on top to give a level and solid base. You can see the damp course for under the concrete.

Turned out to be relatively straightforward to get the blocks down and level. I used adjacent blocks and checked across to other blocks as I went along to make sure it was completely level all the way round.

Laying the base for the Annabel Log Cabin

I used the composite foundation beams. They are a little tricky as they are not very straight and level but that improves as you build up the walls and some weight comes onto the beams. You just need to nudge them into the right place but when they have enough weight on them so as not to move the overall cabin – I did this when the walls were pretty much complete.

You can see the start of the walls here – just needed to make sure everything was square especially for the first five layers or so. I used a large square but found that measuring the diagonals was the better way. That also helped make sure the space for the door was correct.

Building the walls is really easy – it is just giant Lego! The walls go up really quickly – I had the walls up within half a day. One thing to watch is making sure the wall segments between the windows and door remains vertical and even. That said, when I came to paint the cabin, I took the windows and doors out so it was then easy to nudge them back into place and get them perfect. I used a further layer of damp proof under the foundation beams – probably overkill.

In the second image, this is the cabin fully assembled with the roof and facia boards all in place. I did have to cut some additional blocks to support the facia boards at the front and back to make sure they were strong and rigid. All looking good!

Annabel Log Cabin Installation Process

I used a rubber roof which was easier to lay than I thought. I put a drain in one corner which in hindsight was probably not the best solution – while it drains OK, there is a small pool of water always left. Perhaps a better way would be to fit a gutter at the back to catch the water over the whole width. The rubber comes up the side of the facia boards which are set slightly higher than perhaps normal – and the rubber folds over the facia boards a little. I then used some timber as a capping to firmly hold the rubber at the edges all the way around.

This is the cabin now fully painted and the fencing all back in place to finish it off. Prior to painting I treated the whole cabin – inside and out – with a wood preserver. There were two coats of undercoat and two top coats. I used Sikkens paint throughout – a little expensive but wanted to make sure it was going to be well protected and would last given the investment in time and money. Painting took ages – a full day to paint one coat – was pretty glad when that was finished. I did try using a roller but it wasn’t great at getting into the chamfers between the logs so settled on a brush.

Annabel Log Cabin Painted

I removed the windows, the doors and the door frame which makes both them and the cabin easier to paint. I also used clear varnish on the inside of the cabin to seal it thoroughly.

I then sealed all around the bottom of the cabin with clears builders silicone sealant – between the foundation beams and the foundation and between the foundation beam and the bottom log – and that stops any water from getting through.

Annabel Log Cabin Paint Details

As I live is right on the edge of the Peak district, it is very windy so I took the precaution of fitting the storm braces. We did have a few windy days and nothing moved.

As this is primarily being used as a workshop / storage unit, I opted to use the plywood boards from Tuin – really solid and much cheaper than elsewhere. These were all set on medium density blocks on a concrete foundation which makes them stable and rigid. I also treated each board with wood preserver. If we choose to change the use at some point in the future it would be easy to fit insulation, lay a nicer floor and so on.

I would definitely recommend reading through the instructions and all the helpful advice on the Tuin website before you begin – it made it so much easier as the instructions that come with the cabin are rather limited. Overall, put in the effort to get the foundations right, building the cabin is much more straightforward and quicker than you think, painting was easy but it is a big area so does take some time but the end result is really satisfying. Now just need to sort the rest of the garden but perhaps that’s a job for next summer.


Thank you so much to this customer for this overview of the installation process for their Annabel Log Cabin. A real transformation with a striking colour scheme to match the sleek style of the Annabel.

Interested in more reviews like this? You can find more with a range of cabins at: Tuin Pictorial Customer Reviews.

Clockhouse Log Cabin Customer Walkthrough

This customer review and walkthrough was certainly a delight to receive, while I will try and do this well thought out structure justice in this blog. All credit goes to Mr M for this detailed walkthrough of his installation of the Clockhouse Log Cabin.


Mr M writes as follows:

This blog is intended for information purposes only and should not be used for formal instruction or standards in anyway. I’ve produced this blog to capture and share some of my ideas in building the Clock House log cabin from Tuin. I am not a qualified builder, electrician, carpenter or any other trade, nor am I an expert in log cabins; this is my first build. I love making things and I consider myself to be a “reasonably competent” DIY’er.

Our requirements

We are a family of four, my wife and I and our two teenage boys, living in a reasonable sized house. We wanted to extend the house to give us more room and some breathing space, but lockdown happened and things changed. My wife and I are fortunate that our jobs remained, but the two of us working from the dining room table is not a viable option in the long term. The house extension was unaffordable for us and too high risk in these uncertain times, so we decided on a garden building of some description.

Some friends recommended Tuin so we made some investigations and sketched out what we wanted. Basically, we had three requirements;

1) Home office for me permanently and a second desk for Elaine and the boys to use
2) Chill out/TV/gaming area
3) Home pub/bar area for socialising

Tuin offer a massive range of options so we sketched out a few layouts and matched these to some Tuin designs. We settled on the Clock House as it was the right size, and looked attractive. We really didn’t want a “box” in the garden.

With the dimensioned plans of the Clock House on the Tuin website, I sketched out a layout as shown below. For reference I use Microsoft Visio for these sort of sketches.

Clockhouse Log Cabin Layout

Layout of Clock House showing plenty of room for home office, pub/bar and chill out spaces

With this settled we then researched all the various options for the project, the main ones detailed below:

A. The base
There is some excellent information on the Tuin website regarding the base options. For me, this is the most important aspect. Get this wrong and you’ll struggle with the build and longevity of the cabin. I decided on a concrete base for three reasons (i) we have a slope in the garden which can be easily dealt with by a bit of digging; (2) I believe concrete is a great way of dealing with damp by the application of damp proof course and damp proof membrane, and (3) I am an old school engineer and wanted a solid structure to build my cabin on!

B. The roof
Easy one this for me. Clock House a nice pitched roof so the shingles option was a no brainer. We opted for the free shingles offer from Tuin.

C. The floor
Lots on information on the website regarding the floor, but fundamentally this choice boils down to affordability and intended use. I plan to use the cabin all year round as my home office. It’s a large structure so, in my mind, the floor should be substantial. I also want to do it once only and have it last for the life of the cabin. I therefore decided the floor options from Tuin were best for us. After a little googling I calculated you can’t buy that quality wood for those prices from a timber merchant, so again the Tuin option was a no brainer. I ended up going for the 25mm floor. Probably overkill for our needs but for an extra few hundred I felt this was worth the peace of mind.

D. Insulation
As we intend to use the cabin all year this was a necessity. Once again the Tuin website provided great information. I decided on 50mm insulation boards for the floor and roof, a damp proof course to go under the foundation beams and a damp proof membrane to lay on top of the concrete base.

Constructing the base

I’m not going into the details of laying a concrete base as I am in no way qualified to do so. There is lots of stuff on the internet on how to do this. My biggest challenge was how to get the base perfectly flat and level as it is quite large at 5.5m x 4m.

I had a load of old decking boards laying around so I selected the straightest and flattest and used these to construct the shuttering. A couple of day’s hard graft digging by hand and laying the shuttering got me to a good position.

Clockhouse Prepping Base

Preparing the base. All done with lots of old wood, some decent hand tools, a long spirit level and plenty of string. Chickens are optional!

It’s really wise to use string as the basis to work out your levels. If you look closely at the picture you can see how I’ve used it. The shuttering is held in place by wooden stakes. Once I was happy with the level I screwed it all together using battens to ensure it wouldn’t move. Next, in went some hard-core. Again I had some old blockwork and patio slabs so I smashed these up and used them as the bottom foundation layer.

Clockhouse Base adding Hard Core

Hard core going in. Be careful not to move the shuttering

Finally, in went the scalpings. I needed approximately 1.5m3 so I ordered 2x1m3 bags. Many wheelbarrows later and lots of tamping by hand with a tamper from Screwfix the base was prepped for the concrete.

Continuing the base adding scalping

Scalping’s in and tamped down hard and flat. Note the re-enforcements to the shuttering I added to ensure no movement when the concrete was poured.

Finally a week later I had the readymix concrete delivered. 3.5m3 all to be borrowed in manually. With the help of two friends and #1 son we did this in approximately 45mins. The next hour was spent levelling and tamping down to a flat smooth surface.

Base Concrete Laying

Pouring, levelling and tamping. Take your time, get it right. There is no going back from here!

Taking Delivery

One week later the log cabin was due for delivery. Slight hitch from the hauliers in they they were a day late. No biggie, just a little frustrating although perfectly understandable during lockdown. The huge articulated lorry arrived. We are lucky in that we live on a quiet road and we have room in our front garden for the drop off of the pallets. They are massive and a little daunting if I’m honest.

Clockhouse Delivery

I checked over the pallets for damage and found a few scrapes and minor splits in a few logs. I took photos just in case but they turned out to be very minor and did not affect the build in any way.
The next task was unpacking and carrying the logs to the back garden. I was staggered at the volume of wood. It took 2 hours to unpack and lay out but by doing this properly it certainly helped the construction. I tried to lay the logs by size and shape, and the order they would be assembled.

Clockhouse Part Checking

Erecting the main structure

Several reads through of the instructions and lots of YouTube videos later I was ready for the build. To be honest, the instructions were not great. I am mechanically minded so I managed to understand them, but I did wonder how non-technically minded folk would fare with this build.

First job was the foundation beams. I’d opted for the black composite beams as opposed to wood. They’ll last forever and they actually look really nice. They were actually quite twisted and bent due to how they were strapped to the pallets but once they were laid out they were easy to straighten with a little pressure.

I spent a good hour positioning the foundation beams the base, measuring the diagonals to ensure they were square then cutting to length. It’s vital these are positioned perfectly, and once done, I laid down the first row of logs. Once happy I carefully lifted them to place the damp proof course underneath. One final measure and I was ready to build.

Clockhouse Foundations Installation

DPM under the foundation beams

Happy with the foundation beams I started the main structure. With the help of #1 son we were up to the final logs within a couple of hours and ready for the gable ends and purlins. So far this was very straightforward. One tip is make sure you install the windows with the way they open in mind as they are left and right handed.

Clockhouse Log Cabin Installation

Up to now, I was really happy. All straightforward and simple and safe to erect. The gable ends and purlins were a different proposition though. With hindsight, I should have borrowed/rented some scaffold of some description. Doing this with ladders was a real challenge and I found it extremely difficult to stop the gable end logs from moving. In the end I used a nail at each to pin them together which helped a lot but was not ideal. The purlins were also slightly twisted which made it even more difficult. On reflection I wonder if the whole gable end structure should have been assembled with screws then installed as one unit?

With all the purlins now in, we were done for the day. No matter how hard I tried I could not get a perfectly straight row of gable end logs. The picture below shows the run out. With some careful persuasion I did rectify it to a degree but I could not get it perfect.

Roof Purlin Installation

Gable end run out which I did improve but only slightly. Main structure all completed. Very pleased!

The Roof

What’s the best way to describe installing the roof? Real hard graft! Simple as that. The Clock House has approximately 120 roof boards. I put 2 nails in each purlin per board. That’s 1200 nails! If you are not used to this sort of work, and I am not anymore, it’s just hard going and very laborious. I had a ladder with a roof hook which was ok but I’ve lost count of the number of times I went up and down that, even with help from #1 son! I did consider hiring a nail gun, but decided not to as that would add an element of rushing to the job, hence more likely to make a mistake. It eventually took a full day to complete nailing the roof boards.

Clockhouse Roof Installation

#1 Son giving me a break nailing the roof boards. The ladder angle looks awful! I think that’s just a photographic effect!

Now for the insulation board and the shingles. This was the most worrying part of the job for me. I’d never laid shingles before and was a little anxious that it would look horrible and I’d be stuck with it for the next 10 years. Lots of internet research that evening and I felt prepared.

First up was the insulation boards. 50mm boards from BuildBase as recommended by my builder friend. Easy job. I purchased 5kg of 65mm clout nails also from BuildBase. To help retain and conceal the boards I used the long planks that made up the pallets the cabin was delivered on! A trim up and a light sanding and they were perfect. My overall plan was that everything other than the main construction and essentials was to be re-cycled so this was a great start!

Insulating the Clockhouse Roof

Insulation boards up and nailed in place. 1 on each corner and 1 in the centre of each board. Note the pallet plank sits nicely to retain the insulation boards.

Now for the shingles. First job was to mark a line for the first row. I used a string line and spent time getting it spot on. The first row went up and looked really good. I found a really good YouTube video from IKO which showed it done really nicely. From there on, it was just a matter of taking my time over each one.

Log Cabin Shingle Installation

Once all the shingles were up I decided on a capping run to really finish it off. Again lots on YouTube here. I looked at lots of pics on the Tuin website and noticed that very few had done this. I think it looks great as once finished you cannot see any nails on the whole roof. Very pro!

Roof Shingle Capping

Cutting the capping shingles was very straightforward. The finished product looks really neat and adds additional protection.

It took me a full 1 ½ days to complete shingles; 2 ½ days for the roof in total. The main challenge was the pitch of the roof is at such an angle that I couldn’t stack anything up there easily. Hard graft and time consuming but I was delighted with the finish.

The floor

Another nailing epic begins! At least I was not working at height. First job was to lay out the floor joists and cut the insulation to fit. This is where the nice flat concrete base was beginning to pay dividends. I’d ordered the 26mm thick flooring from Tuin and for some reason (I think I saw it on a blog somewhere) I was expecting the floor joists to be 70mm. It turned up with the standard joists at 45mm so I had a small problem to overcome as my insulation boards were 50mm thick. To over come this and in the spirit of recycling I decided to cut shims from the shingle offcuts to raise the joists by the required amount. Perfect.

First the damp proof membrane went down. A few quick calculations and I worked out that by running the joists front to back at 500mm spacing’s I’d get a perfectly symmetrical layout with efficient use of the insulation boards. Although Tuin recommend 400mm minimum, in my opinion 500mm is ample for 25mm thick floorboards.

Clockhouse Flooring Installation

Final calculation for the floor was the length of the boards. I wanted a nice symmetrical look so I calculated 3 lengths to align with the joist spacing and leave 10mm clearance around the perimeter. This resulted in the joists being symmetrical to the building when laid staggered. I’ve tried to show this in the following pics. The cuts align beautifully with the door opening to give a really nice finish. I really took my time nailing the boards, aligning the nails to add to the finish. I was well pleased with the result!

Clockhouse Flooring Installation

After pinning the beading around the edges, I was done. I decided to lay the beading flat and used a mitre joint. The floor in total took 1 complete day.
Final task was to seal between the base and the foundation beams as added protection.

The electrics and network

Clockhouse Log Cabin Electrics Installation

Now I was structurally sound and waterproof I could begin the electrics and internet network. I sketched out my plans and had ordered the components so was ready to go. It’s really important to plan this layout carefully. Mine are shown in the following diagrams.

Finishing off

The last few jobs before kitting out and furnishing were treatment of the wood and fitting the Clock House feature. Regarding the treatment, we opted for the Embadecor in Walnut. Three coats on the outside. Looks lovely as you can see.

Clockhouse Treatment And Clocktower Installation

Scaffold is essential to install the Clock House feature. I borrowed one from my local builder friend.

Finally the Clock House feature. There were no instructions for this so I decided to assemble it on the ground and install it using scaffold. Far too heavy for ladders! We fixed it with 3 x 100mm screws at the front just under the eaves on the outside of the cabin, and 1x100m screw at the pack point from the inside of the cabin. This is a really tricky task requiring very careful placement and measurement.

At the time of writing I’m 3 weeks in to the project. I’ve been working from home in the cabin for a whole week now and it’s brilliant. I’ve spent every spare hour on this project but it’s worth it. My first desk is in and I’m constructing the bar from left over floor joists, the delivery pallets and some wood I salved from a recycling yard. A second desk, a sofa, TV and a few pictures and we’re there! But before all that we are going to paint the interior with Embalan timber paint which Tuin kindly swapped for us for the two tins of walnut stain we didn’t use.

Clockhouse Garden Office Finish

Conclusions

The quality of the Tuin product is exceptional, as is the customer service. I would thoroughly recommend them.

The Clock House is quite a complicated build. The roof and Clock House feature do add additional levels of complexity so you might wish to consider this if you are self-building. That said, I managed it by careful planning and taking my time.

The layout plans I drew up were invaluable. Although I tweaked the ideas as the build progressed, it’s vital you have a basis to start from.

For me, the concrete base is a must for a cabin of this size. Every day I look at it I’m glad I went down this route. I personally could not imagine this log cabin in a similar setting on any other base type.

Overall, I don’t think you can beat this project for value for money. The utility and space it has provided the family is fantastic.


Thank you so much to Mr M for this extremely in depth overview of the installation process for his Clockhouse Log Cabin. A real transformation providing multiple uses within this Log Cabin, certainly sounds like a hit for all members of the family!

Interested in more reviews like Mr M’s? You can find more with a range of cabins at: Tuin Pictorial Customer Reviews.

Log Cabin Pub Inspiration

Our Log Cabins have been put into use for a range of reasons: home offices, summer houses, workshops.. You name it! But one use that has become a huge trend lately is to turn the Log Cabin into a garden pub.

An Inside View Of The Laula Log Cabin

A Laula Log Cabin transformed into a colourful garden bar

Pubs are just a part of British culture, you can’t deny it – So imagine the convenience of having one in your own garden, you’d gain the jealousy of all your neighbours!

We’re lucky enough to receive a load of photos of these garden pubs- But I’m sure there are plenty more out there.

This Jenny Log Cabin has been transformed into this elegant gin bar, in the comfort of the customers garden! Completed with some lighting and seating, you may find them there all day.

This project has taken our Superior Gazebo as the base to this open plan pub. Using extra timber to create infilled walls to hang their impressive collection of decor- Along with building their own bar table. It looks like a lot of work has gone into this DIY project but we can definitely tell it was all worth it!

An Inside View Of A Julia Garden Pub

This neon lit Julia Log Cabin seems to be the perfect social location

With the Football being our national game a Log Cabin being used for a mancave/pub is the perfect solution to be able to concentrate on the game in peace- With freedom to cheer as loud as you want (keep the neighbours in mind though!)

The Aiste Log Cabin proves to be a popular choice for many intended uses, especially Garden Pubs.

And, if you use an appropriate Log Cabin Treatment, a Log Cabin can become a plain canvas for your creativity. Like these customers, who used the Olson Log Cabin to make a seaside escape pub ready for the summer ahead:

Though when thinking of a garden pub, stock is a very important factor.. The Julia Log Cabin is a great candidate for a garden pub, at 3m x 5m there’s plenty of space to place the bar towards the end and space seating around the rest of the length- Ideal for large drinking groups.

I wonder if we could turn one of our showsite cabins into a pub…

Yorick Garden Pub

The Yorick Log Cabin provides plenty of light for cocktail hour.

This is one of my favourite pubs that we’ve been sent in, using the Peter Log Cabin. These customers tried to stick to the British roots of culture by styling the interior like a traditional pub, from the peanuts to the coasters:

 

Just as I was writing this post – We even received another picture set of a converted Log Cabin, these customers used the Meaghan 4.5m x 4.5m Log Cabin as a spacial garden pub. A guaranteed neighbourhood favourite.

This American styled bar is within an Aiste Log Cabin – Just look at the bar table!

Aiste Log Cabin Bar

Another Aiste Log Cabin with a more traditional looking bar compared to the one above – This one appropriately labelled by the customer as “The Boozy Coo”

Aiste Log Cabin Pub

This is a recent Ingmar Log Cabin that’s been transformed into a garden bar – At 3.8m x 3m the Ingmar is an ideal size for those with limited space available, and they finished it all just in time for the England match!

This Justine Log Cabin has been converted into an ultimate lounge area, one side is fitted with a TV and sofa, the other is turned into this beautifully monochrome pub area – I love the monochrome look in this cabin, it makes the cabin look bright and clean.

Justine Log Cabin Pub

This Ben Clockhouse Log Cabin has definitely proved that a cabin can serve multiple uses- Which has turned into the ultimate social location, with a hot tub placed under the canopy and the enclosed cabin being used for a garden pub:

This Emma Log Cabin has become the ideal solution for your empty garden corner. Measuring at 3m x 3m it’s ideal for your garden corner, complete with a bar table, some seating and beer on tap- Complete with decor, you’d think this garden pub has been a hot spot for years.

And hey, don’t just take our word for the quality of our Log Cabins – the Tuin Trustpilot Reviews even appear to show this trend. Comparing our customer service and products to some well loved beer brands!

Tuin Trustpilot Review

Beer and cake.. Its a solid suggestion!

Tuin Trustpilot Review

You can’t argue when it comes to Carlsberg

These are just a handful of the images our amazing customers send us, if you liked viewing these- Follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages we also have plenty of boards on the Tuin Pinterest page.

If a garden pub isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to utilise a Log Cabin, see our Uses Of A Log Cabin post for plenty of inspiration!

Julia Log Cabin

We have received a customer review from Mr P of their experience with installing their Julia Log Cabin. Thank you for sending this in!  We love how the bar turned out- It’s a great idea!


Mr P writes as follows: 

Back in February I purchased a Log Cabin from Tuin.

Several months later I have completed the project, turning it into a bar and brewery. Very pleased with it and your customer support and thought I would share some pictures with you!

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We love the bar and brewery Mr P! Thank you for sending in your images, we hope the brewing turns out well!

Other customer experiences, build articles and ideas can be found at: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Shepherd Hut Review

One of our customers, James from East Sussex, has been very generous in sending us his review of the Shepherd Hut Gypsy styled caravan and his process of installing them from start to finish- with plenty of pictures!


James writes as follows: 

I ordered two Shepherd’s Huts before Christmas to take advantage of the generous discount. They were delivered in the first week in January. The delivery driver was superb and, though it was difficult and time-consuming, he managed to get both into one of our barns.

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We debated where to undertake construction and in the end decided that it would be best right by the house, which involved some nice exercise to stroll up and down the drive when stuff was needed.

The kits were extremely well packed and there was no need to use additional tarpaulin or covering. They have sat there in the barn until today when I opened the first one. I used my car to haul the heavy metal chassis and wheels, nuts, bolts and other hardware up to the build area. There is one thing we did: I read a review about the axle being tube which broke when the hut was moved a short distance. We decided to get a blacksmith to beef up that component, just in case, so the tube was cut off and solid steel bar was welded in its place for each axle.

Axle Tube Modifications

Since all the metal work was on top of the kit, I kind of thought that the contents of the delivery would be packed in the order you need them. But that isn’t the case and it’s not a problem. So, after looking at the drawings and instructions and much head scratching, we opened up the delivery and had another round of head scratching.

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Day 1:

Our aim for today – I am building this with my friend who is a great deal more handy and adept than I am – was to get the base done. We started at 10.00am and, unusually for me, we carefully studied the manual/building plans and decided we would just go at it a page at a time. So, first order of business was to build the chassis. The metal bit was easy and that was the starting point and first job to do. All we had to do was lay out the metal work roughly where we wanted to build the hut.

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It was at this point that we realised we would need various lengths of timber from the kit and, when I opened it, I noticed that a lot of them were right down the bottom of the pallet! So, we would have to take everything off the pallet and stack it in vertical piles. That took a little while as we looked at various components and discussed them and where they would fit into the overall thing. I was very surprised to see that the panels that had windows actually had the glass in! OK, if you want to double glaze your hut you need to change that but it says something for the quality of the packaging and the way things are shipped that all the glass is in first class condition – not a scratch or crack anywhere on it.

Looking at the build instructions, and the separate parts list, the various lengths of timber, some of which look the same length, I had hoped would be numbered to correspond with their number in the parts list. They aren’t. It’s not a problem – but you just need to be careful to make sure you use a tape measure to check the sizes to correctly identify the various components.

For instance, you might just be able to make out below that to join the two chassis units, you need to make up a joist which uses one 2, one 2a and a 2b. 2a and 2b are not dissimilar in size but if you make that mistake – we did – you end up with a joist that is either too short by a few inches or too long by the same amount.

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The first task that involves wood is to make two items that bolt onto the metal work. We did these on the ground and then fitted them.

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A point on the metal chassis. We did a bit of head scratching because what we had in front of us didn’t match the drawing. It was obvious that this assembly had been beefed up with two additional bolts but that isn’t reflected in the drawing. Sill, you would want to be fairly uptight to worry about it and I am certain that the additional metal and bolts are an improvement.

Metal Chassis Closeup

Getting on with the frame, we built the first two long joists (the 2 + 2a + 2b) that bolt to the metal frames on the ground. Then it was just a case of positioning them accurately, drilling holes and bolting to the metal. This fixes the length of the unit – and it’s big!

From here, you need to assemble the rest of the joists – another five. As mentioned, each one is made of three pieces of different length timber. There was a whole lot of head scratching trying to get the right ones together. Basically, we put all the possible pieces on the part-built base, which is a great work bench, and then worked out what went with what. You just need to take your time and things click into place.

Underlining the point that the Shepherd Hut base is a very handy workbench at exactly the right height, in the image you can see James making up one of the three-component joists.

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The Tuin hut is a quality item and as we were working we were having some thoughts about making sure it lasts. The base we are working on, the underside won’t show, unless someone crawls underneath. The wood is untreated and, as it goes through its life, while rain can’t get under there, dew and damp, over time, could. So we decided that we would not fix any of the joists for the moment. That’s because I am going out tomorrow to get some really good wood preservative for everything we have made so far before it is fixed – it’s a lot easier brushing on preservative when I can turn the joist over to get all sides, rather than crawling around under the base. Also, I am going to apply a coat of preservative to the underside of the floorboards – the ones that will be open to mist and moisture from beneath. So this is as far as we got on Day 1 – all the joists are ready to be screwed down but they will get a coat of preservative before that happens.

In terms of time, what you see above is not a day’s work – it took four hours work for two guys from start to finish, and that included a fair bit of time at the beginning getting familiar with the kit, instructions, components and how to read the drawings and specs, looking at parts and figuring things out. Most of all, we want to enjoy this build so we are not rushed. Tomorrow is preserving day. At this stage we are delighted with everything and though we have had the offer of whatever support and advice from Richard at Tuin, we haven’t felt the need to avail ourselves of it.

Day 2: 

Day 2 is a misnomer. On Day 2, as mentioned above, I treated everything with a preservative/sealant against moisture and that included the floor joists and all the underside of all the floorboards. I stacked the made-up joists on the axles and used the hut base to paint on the preservative to the floorboards and then I left them there and covered the lot with the tarpaulin.

We cleared the deck and positioned the five joists. It was at this stage that we discovered a length discrepancy in two of them – one was a bit short while the other was a few inches too long. Clearly we had made a mistake and we figured out we had used the wrong three components, as indeed we had. It didn’t take long to figure out where we made the mistake and we switched over components. However, it underlines that you need to take your time and make sure you identify all the components and put a pencil mark on them so that in the heat of constructing things, you don’t mistake similar sized and shaped lengths.

Things are still a bit slow at this stage, as compared with later but you need to just take your time. The joists have to be positioned accurately and we did that and clamped them in position while we screwed on the metal brackets. There’s 20 of them so, even with two of us, it still took time. I guess, from unwrapping things, getting the joists positioned and putting the brackets in – with a stop for a bacon sarnie and a tea – it took us nearly three hours to get everything ready. After that, things began to speed up in terms of seeing real change and progress. I think it only took us about half an hour or so to screw the floorboards to the joists and suddenly we had a platform and we could look at putting up the wall panels.

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We decided to offset the side windows, looking over the timestamps of the images I was able to work out that it took just a few minutes over one hour to get from the first image… To the last one.

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It is definitely a two-man job but not a difficult one. Up goes a panel and while one holds it in place and pushed tight against the base and its neighbour panel, the other then screws it bottom and sides to the next panel.

The next task, attaching the curved roof timbers, was a slower job because they are attached at each side with small metal brackets using fiddly little screws plus being up a ladder. But from start to finish, and in all of this construction work we were not in a hurry or rushing things, it took over an hour to fit all of the curved roof timbers and the two end sections.

So below is where we got to by 4.00pm when we decided to call it a day. Tomorrow we need to complete the roof pieces to cover the porch area, and then apply the tongue and groove roof boards.

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After James headed off and I did a few chores, I decided it would be pleasant and relaxing to do at least one side with the primer undercoat I had bought from Screwfix that comes very highly recommended. It’s a job that needs doing, so why not get a bit of it done. And, in the way of these things, a couple of hours later and I had done the whole lot.

And so, construction Day 3 looms and the forecast is for it to be very hot and sunny all day.

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Day 3: 

Today’s forecast was for the hottest day of the year so far and they didn’t get it wrong. It was in the 70s with not a cloud in the sky. I was up early and while having my first coffee of the day, I tried a patch of the blue I have selected for the exterior to check the colour. It will need another coat but I like the light blue.

Paint Test

I was probably jumping the gun last night by priming/undercoating the build so far because we added on the porch today which will need to be primed. But what I have done certainly wasn’t a waste of time. We started work before 9.00am and we used the van to move up all of the tongue and groove roofing boards – there are three sizes that make up a length. As we looked at things, we discovered a slight error in that one of the roof beams was not in the right place – we were about 5cms out, so we did a bit of remedial work to get that set up perfectly. Then we built the porch which went together well. We had some head scratching because we hadn’t noticed that we needed a little batten up top on the outside of the porch upright at each side, but once we realised that, it didn’t take long to find the two bits of board and get everything properly lined up ready to start work on the roof boards.

A word of caution on those curved roof beams. They are held in place by a little bracket which you can see in the photo below. It stands slightly proud – and we couldn’t see a way of avoiding that – which causes some fun and games when you try to put a roof board on top of it. We worked out a way – bash down the metal edge that is protruding and leave the board above loose while you fit the final board, then nail them both down. But it would be good if a nick could be taken off that bracket in manufacture – or maybe we should have positioned it further inward so it didn’t stand proud, but that doesn’t look right as you can see from the second shot.

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From the time stamp on the photo, I can see that we started work on boarding the roof at 12.00. It was really hot so it was sweltering doing the work but we got it all done by 3.25pm, which included about 40 mins for lunch.

By the time we had roofed the entire hut, we were tired and decided to call it a day. We haven’t quite made up our minds about the roof – use the felt supplied or go for a corrugated roof with insulation beneath. So we will have to leave things for a few days while we earn a crust so we decided to cover the roof with a tarpaulin. It is not big enough but I have a bigger one that will go on before the rain arrives tomorrow afternoon.

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After my friend James left, I was still in the mood to just potter about and do a little more. So I fitted the doors and the door frame and that was a fairly easy process. I just needed my wife to hold the components steady while I screwed them and we got the doors hung after a bit of messing about trying to put them on backwards!

Then I decided to fit the little gates things at the end of the porch. I was hot and tired and not at my brightest so there was an awful lot of head scratching and trying to figure out these strange hinges. I have never seen anything like them in my life before. On the left, that’s just one hinge – I know they are special and let the little gate thing swing either way and open back out of the way. I couldn’t figure out how to fit them, so I left that for another day when I am less tired and hot and bothered…

I contemplated getting out the primer and doing the new pieces we had fitted – mainly the porch – and also the underside of the interior roof but it was still very hot and I decided instead to make up the steps which was a fairly easy task.

Shepherd Hut Completed.

So that’s it. There is more work to do – the roof in whatever material we decide to do it, but other than that we’re pretty much there. There’s the fitting out to do – prime and paint the rest of it; add the exterior trim, run some electric cables inside for lights and power; insulate inside and then panel the walls; lay an oak laminate floor; general painting and decorating and “dressing” the hut, etc. etc. I’ve bought a sofa bed from Ikea specially for it and I have been collecting a few period things that will look the part. But that is an on-going fun element which we will do over the next couple of weeks because we are in no hurry.

As I was reading customer comments on building one of these, it was suggested you can build one in a weekend. Of course the devil is in the detail – at what stage do you determine it is built? If you look at our timings and what you see in the photo above, then certainly, two averagely handy guys, working at a steady, unrushed pace, got this far in a long weekend. If we were building the other one, I think it would be quicker because we did an awful lot of head scratching and that’s understandable. There are no written instructions in terms of describing that you need to do this, then that, etc. etc. and how you do it. The manual is made up of about 18 pages of drawings – very well annotated drawings – that show you what is needed, and where and how it is placed. It shows you what screws to use and where necessary, there are little exploded drawings for key details. It is easy to miss something or confuse two pieces of the jigsaw so double check everything. That is not to criticise the instructions – but what we realised is that we weren’t familiar with following this kind of instruction booklet and at times things didn’t make sense. And then the penny would drop and you would see what was required and it was easy.

I think, most of all, I’m happy with the attitude we approached the build with: this is going to be fun. Let’s enjoy this. We certainly did despite the head scratching as we turned another page onto another stage of the build until it sank in what we were looking at and what we needed to do.


Thank you to James for your article. We appreciate the amount of detail and passion you show in both your writing and your images! I send my best wishes for when you build the other one and modify it. We would love to see images of the interior design when you’re finished!

Other customer experiences, build articled and ideas can be found here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Chloe Log Cabin Review

One of our lovely customers, who I will refer to as Mrs A has sent us a review of their experience of building their Chloe Log Cabin which would be used for a garden gym! As well as their service that they had received from our team here at Tuin.


Mrs A writes as follows:

At the bottom of my garden sat an 8x9ft Summer House, not a very old one around 18 months old which I purchased on-line the quality sadly reflected the price I paid from the on-line supplier. It was purchased for use as a gym by for my son, but it was soggy and damp and not fit for purpose as the walls were so thin and badly manufactured. We took it down and sadly it was so damp to the tip it went as I don’t think we would have been able to burn and sing around it as it went up in flames cursing the on-line supplier who’s rating on Trustpilot seems to have more red stars than I have ever seen.

We decided it was time to spend our savings on something bigger and much better quality that we could divide and use half as his gym and the other half as a nice relaxing space. I started the search, so many places to buy but as I had made such a bad purchase the first time around I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. My friend at work had been talking about a large summer house her friend had brought from a company called Tuin which she helped to build and couldn’t fault the company or the quality. So off to the Tuin website I went and started to look, the range of products was fantastic so many choices of all sizes, my imagination went wild and before I could stop myself was looking at the biggest ones I could get and imagining what I could put in side! However reality hit me that evening when I got home and measured the space I could use and although I was going to build a giant palace the biggest I could purchase was a 4x3m. I then found Chloe, she was the right size and looked perfect and even better in budget.

I contacted Tuin and after fantastic service from Richard, who I say goes over and beyond for customer satisfaction I placed the order in late February. As we had yet to build the base I picked the furthest delivery slot I could to allow us to build a concrete base where Chloe was going to take residence. Building the base seemed to take forever due to bad weather and finally it was done. Left it for a couple of weeks to dry off and then Chloe arrived and we were ready to build – have to say I enjoy DIY work but both me and my husband were really looking forward to the build it’s like giant Lego for adults and you get to use big mallets!

Now, onto the process of building Chloe…

When we ordered we selected a required delivery week and the Sunday before I received an email for payment, once this was complete I received a call from a very nice lady from the delivery company to arrange a delivery date.

We knew from looking on the Tuin website how the cabin would be packaged and the size of the packaging. I would recommend you take a look at the site so you have an idea how large your delivery will be so you can work out where you want it to be put. We knew that it would be a couple of weeks before we would be able to start the build so by having it placed in the garden next to the driveway would mean that we didn’t have to worry about not being able to use the driveway for the next couple of weeks.

She arrived on the advised date as promised, no sitting around for a delivery that doesn’t turn up when advised and we have all done that. I received call from driver that morning advising us roughly what time he would arrive, my husband was at home and was watching for the lorry, then down the road came a forklift with the cabin. The driver had had to park up the road and drive the forklift into our close as once he had the lorry in he would not have been able to get back out again. My husband asked if he could drop it other side of the drive which he did with no problems. A couple of my concrete edging blocks were slightly damaged and the driver was very apologetic but it’s wasn’t a problem, he had nearly a ton of cabin plus whatever his forklift weights driving over them which we asked him to do you cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. He was unable to stop for a well-deserved cuppa as his very large lorry was parked up the road and didn’t want to upset anyone so he had to move it quickly. Chloe then sat in the front garden for a couple of weeks until we were ready to start the build.

The Chloe Log Cabin Unpackages

The unpackaged components to the Chloe Log Cabin

Picture taken after we had started to move the parts into the back garden (sorry I forgot to take a picture of the wrapped package). If you don’t start your build straight away don’t worry the cabin is so well wrapped it will be fine, and will wait until you are ready.

As you move parts sort them as you go putting all the parts into piles according to size, you can then use the checklist provided to check you have all the parts. I did expect parts to be numbered which would make it easier but none of them were, however as you start to check off the larger parts then it does become easier.
When we finished checking parts I noticed that one of the parts had a large crack, we wanted to start build over the weekend so I emailed Tuin out of hours service to see if we were able to use the part or needed a replacement (it was 9pm on a Friday night) and I received a response within 15 mins. I sent over pictures of the damage and was advised it was fine to use or if I wasn’t happy they could send a replacement. We opted to use it but receiving a response on a Friday night was great service. Really I wanted peace of mind it was ok to use, last thing we wanted to do was use it only to find out we should have waited for a replacement.

Day 1, the build started at… 10am…

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I am helping, but someone has to take pictures ☺ however to get to this stage has taken 30 mins and most of that time it was checking that everything was square. The whole cabin is slotting together very nicely.

By the last image we were ready to put in the doorframe, a quick email to Tuin as from the instructions we were not 100% sure on orientation of the frame. Saturday morning and quick response received from Tuin clarifying our question and we are good to go again. Tuin’s contact team can go back to watching Saturday morning Kitchen ☺

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To be honest, the build is so much quicker than we expected!

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It’s now around 5pm and the cabin is built! We are calling it a day as it seems the neighbours have had enough of us banging in the garden all day. Despite me not being in any of the pictures it has taken just 2 of us to build this in one day. The build went very well, only one slight problem with the door not shutting correctly, this was a job for the next day.

Day 2, time to put on the roof tiles… Not so many pictures of this as we were both on the roof. One slight problem nothing to do with the cabin but the ladder being on very uneven ground meant that it slipped when we were up on the roof and neither of us could get down. The cabin might not look very high from the ground but it is high when you want to get down. After a few min’s of us laughing about how we were going to get down and me trying to step onto damaged shed roof our neighbour noticed and asked if we wanted her to come round and hold the ladder. We arrived on the ground safely which was a bit of a relief as after too many cups of tea before starting on a cold day nature was calling.

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The shingles do take a long time to put on, most of the day to be honest but once you get the hang of putting them on it is very easy. Yes it would be quicker and easier with felt but once you take a step back and look at the result well I think it says it all!

So Chloe is now completed and looking great. The base around Chloe does look a bit of a mess but that job is for next weekend.

The finished image of the Chloe Log Cabin

The following weekend; decking, steps and raised platform fitted.

Chloe is finished!

The quality of the product is excellent, the cabin is well designed and slots together so well, we are very pleased and Chloe is now the pride of our garden.

The whole Tuin team are a pleasure to deal with, they are all very knowledgeable they know the product inside out and I would have no problem in recommending them.

You may be wondering why none of the pictures show the inside of the cabin, well I intend to write another review once the floor is down, as we blew our budget on the cabin we have been saving for the floor, also at the moment a few bits of furniture and a weight bench sitting on a concrete floor does not really show her off. We intended to put down a plywood base sitting on some 2×2 with laminate floor on top, but after sitting inside and looking at the walls and roof this would not do her justice. The floor would look so much better with ‘real’ wood so we have just placed an order for the wooden floor pack which we feel will look so much better. Once this is down then I will take some more pictures of the inside.

Well think I have just about covered it, thank you Tuin!

 


Thank you to Mrs A for your article, reading how our customer service helped ease your confusion on building was great to hear. Your Chloe log cabin looks stunning! We’ll be looking forward to see images on how you modify the inside of your log cabin to make your gym/relaxation area!

Other customer experiences, build articles and ideas can be found here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews

Julia Log Cabin Build

Like many of our customers Mr W (Raymondo) has been kind enough to send us in pictures of his project and finished building. This is alway much appreciated as it is very enjoyable for us to see a build progress but also for other customers to see what they are letting themselves in for when undertaking a self build of a log cabin.


Mr W wrote:

I purchased a Julia Log Cabin from you during august this year and have recently completed it.

I must say that the help I received prior to purchase was second to none. The order process was also second to none as was the delivery. The quality of the cabin is exceptional and I am well pleased.

As you can see I am using the cabin as my home cinema …. and it works very well. I am well pleased.

Mr W sent us the following pictures of his build of the Julia log cabin:

Timber Frame base being used for Mr W's log cabin

Timber Frame base being used for Mr W’s log cabin

A damp proof membrane is important under any base

A damp proof membrane is important under any base

Decking boards are used on top of the timber frame

Decking boards are used on top of the timber frame

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This is typical of how all our log cabins are packaged.

This is typical of how all our log cabins are packaged. Delivery is always with a demountable forklift.

Mr W has very sensibly put to one side the floor and door parts and other ones he does not immediately recognise for the start of the build

Mr W has very sensibly put to one side the floor and door parts and other ones he does not immediately recognise for the start of the build

Main building logs layout and stored correctly on top of each other.

Main building logs layout and stored correctly on top of each other.

Julia log cabin start of build

Julia log cabin start of build

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Roof purlins and side window have been completed

Roof purlins and side window have been completed

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Bargeboards have been fitted as well as the door frame. It's always a good idea to build the cabin without the doors fitted as it gives you more room.

Bargeboards have been fitted as well as the door frame. It’s always a good idea to build the cabin without the doors fitted as it gives you more room.

Mr W is insulating the roof as we recommend using insulation boards on top of the roof.

Mr W is insulating the roof as we recommend using insulation boards on top of the roof.

Roof shingles are fitted on top of the insulation board

Roof shingles are fitted on top of the insulation board.

Insulated roof on the Julia log cabin

Insulated roof on the Julia log cabin

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Julia log cabin with the doors in and not far from being finished.

Julia log cabin with the doors in and not far from being finished.

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As per our recommendations the insulated floor is being added.

It is always a good idea to insulate the floor as Mr W is doing here.

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Make sure you allow for the natural expansion and contraction of log cabins when installing electrical circuits in your log cabin

Make sure you allow for the natural expansion and contraction of log cabins when installing electrical circuits in your log cabin

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The completed Julia log cabin

The completed Julia log cabin

Julia log cabin - an impressive personal cinema

Julia log cabin – an impressive personal cinema

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Guttering is essential with any log cabin.

Guttering is essential with any log cabin.

Amazing home cinema inside the Julia log cabin

Amazing home cinema inside the Julia log cabin

Julia log cabin home cinema

Julia log cabin home cinema

Mr W also recently sent us the following notes on his build:

All in all the time taken to build was as follows.

The base:- 14 hours.  All complete prior to delivery.Total base cost £512.00
The Cabin:- 25 hours to erect. 22 hours to finish with 3 coats of paint
outside and 2 coats of paint inside.

Thank you very much Mr W for sending us your pictures and letter, it is very much appreciated, I love your home cinema and am most envious! I hope you enjoy the present we have sent.

Other customer experiences, build and ideas are here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews