Friday, 31 May 2013

The Best "Hobby" in the World Comes to Hampton Court & Tatton Park.

As we announced last week, Flyte so Fancy in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society and Country Living Magazine, are collaborating to bring Celebrity Designer Hen Houses to Hampton Court and Tatton Park this year. Phillipa Forrester, Sophie Conran and Kate Humble are being joined by gardener David Domoney (dubbed the Gardeners Gardener), Nikki Tibbles (florist to the stars) and Deborah Meaden (of Dragon's Den) to bring unique touches and a rainbow of colour to the Royal Horticultural Shows.

Chickens and Coop

As such, I took a trip down to the workshop to watch Deputy Foreman Toby build these six very special Long Legged Hobby Hen Houses. Having just finished his build of Annie's Arks (perfect for smaller gardens by the way) and having drained a cup of coffee, Toby turned his full attention to crafting these coops, reminiscent of an alpine retreat. 

Building a top quality Hen House
Starting by building the frame around the 9mm marine plywood floor, the square and tape measure were everywhere to make sure that everything was millimetre perfect. A millimetre here or a millimetre there can mean a centimetre out later on. The use of superior solid Scandinavian redwood timber 38 x 50 for the frame, certainly makes this level of craft work far easier. 

Finishing the Hobby Hen HouseOnce the frame work is finished (along with another cup of coffee) its time to clad the front and removable back door of the coop. Toby's fastidious attention was then turned to the houses handles. These handles make the coop perfectly portable, and are designed to fit the hand comfortably, meaning its just a two person lift to pastures new. 

As morning turns to afternoon and more coffee is quaffed, the cladding of the sides are done. Once everything is flush and secured in place, using stainless steel nails, the sand paper comes out and all the corners are smoothed and sanded down to a beautiful soft finish. The nest boxes (large enough for two hens to lay eggs at once) get their privacy wall attached, the finished item and perches then get installed in the house, all ready to go.  

Having been elected tea maid by the workshop staff, by the time I returned Toby was putting the pièce de résistance that adorns all our houses onto the coop. With a steady hand and nerves of steel, the Flyte so Fancy trademark heart window was carved into the Hobby Hen House. A final sanding, a brushing off and a small label with the name "Phillipa Forester" tied carefully to the handle and I was shooed from the workshop. 

Flyte so Fancy Trademark HeartThat was one of the Long Legged Hobby Hen Houses built, only five more to go; then they shall be off to various celebrity designers to be painted, daubed and decorated into real stars of the RHS Hampton Court and Tatton Park shows.

Flyte so Fancy Hobby Hen House HeartThe Hobby Hen House is a great starter house for people new to the chicken keeping way of life, equally, it is a terrific all round dependable house for people who want their hens of many years comfortable, safe and secure. Ridge ventilation and a full lift out back door for ease of cleaning are just some of the practical features this coop comes with. The final option of a variety of run lengths for the coop, so that your chickens can get their daily exercise safely, make it an ideal hen habitat. The coops we are sending out to our celebrities are the long legged version, designed so hens can gaze majestically over the surrounding savannah as they enjoy their morning cup of mealworms. This gives the added bonus of a shaded place in the summer to keep cool, or as is more likely, somewhere to keep out of the rain. 

With one house down, we've still got a lot of work to do, I had better put the kettle on.

Hobby Hen House off to Designers at RHS Show 2013

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