‘It’s been a real journey’ - Couple build off-grid eco-cabin in Norfolk countryside
PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 08 July 2020
A Norfolk couple have used a spark of inspiration and a great deal of elbow grease to build an off-grid eco-cabin in a six-acre wildflower meadow.
Albion Nights is preparing to open for business in Woodton, between Norwich and Bungay, once the government gives the green light for holiday bookings.
Helen McGrath-Doherty said she had been building the cabin in her head for some time.
She said: “I’ve always loved the idea of reusing and recycling materials as I think that humans tend to throw away so much stuff that could be given a new lease of life. My husband Pete works in the construction trade, so we combined my ideas with his practical skills and set to work.”
However, shortly after the project began, Pete found out that he was being made redundant. Although this allowed him more time to work on the cabin, it affected the couple’s ability to provide for themselves and their two children.
However, Helen had the idea of running a Crowdfunding campaign and successfully raised several thousand pounds towards completing the project.
They were then given the chance to feature on a new TV series called Cash in the Spare Room, hosted by Sarah Moore.
Helen said Sarah was ‘a revelation’.
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“She really instilled a new lease of life in the project, and came up with a fantastic idea for an outdoor bathtub on the veranda,” she said.
“The team from Cash in the Spare Room then built the bath for us, while we carried on working on the interior.”
Almost all of the materials used are either reclaimed or recycled, many being left over from a barn conversion Helen and Pete previously undertook.
The internal cladding uses a mixture of corrugated tin, and hundreds of wood panels that were removed from dozens of pallets and individually sanded.
The cabin’s electricity is provided by a 12-volt solar battery, with a wood-burning stove providing the heat.
The stove has a back burner, which provides hot water for the shower and outdoor bath.
“It’s been a real journey,” said Helen.
“With all kinds of challenges along the way, but looking at the finished product, we really couldn’t be happier.”
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