In 2017 we tackled our upcycled Farm Shop Building Project here at Middlewick.
Those who have stayed with us in the past have visited our original farm shop and reception. It was the little room next to the Annex cottage. In the past, before my time here at Middlewick, the room was used as a Bed and Breakfast room. When we moved here the room had become a small office and reception area for the cottage complex.
When we bought Middlewick the retailer in me decided that there was so much more that we could do with this room. So we knocked down a few walls, put in my old Green Baby shop fittings and the expanded room became our new Farm shop and Reception. It was nice to be able to offer our guests the chance to buy our home produce, our eggs, pork, lamb, and vegetables as well as other local and organic food and drink.
We had outgrown our little space
With the shop getting more and more popular I needed a bigger space. The Holiday Cottages were also getting busier and the room was just too small. Sometimes we would have 5 or 6 arrivals trying to fit into the little room at one time. Much as we love our guests, it could be a bit up close and personal.
In the car park there was an area of green space that we decided we could fill in and build something on. This would be the perfect place to position the shop and reception. We could see everyone as they arrived. Now we had to figure out what sort of a building to put up there.
The building had to be a temporary one, so that limited what we could do. The original idea was shipping containers. There have been some amazing builds done with old shipping containers and I love the look of them. A shipping container is only 8 feet wide though so it limits what you can do with a space. They also arrive with you pretty basic, with no insulation, heating, electrics, or windows. A very big and expensive project.
What to do with an Ugly Grey Building?
So after a conversation with John Tucker Carpentry (the man who built our E-dens for us), we decided to do a refit of an old Portable Office Cabin. Off we went to eBay to see who was selling a used building. We found an old battered up one for sale in the Forest of Dean. For £6,000 we got what we wanted, an Elliot building with double-glazed windows, electrics, and heating. Basic and quite ugly but it was our starting block to build around.
The building would be delivered on a lorry to us. We were slightly nervous about it making it up our little lane and then down our driveway. Not every day you have a 32-foot building delivered. But it all went very smoothly.
From the grey building, we had to create a Farm Shop. A large wooden deck with a ramp and steps, and topped with a crinkly tin roof. The Building was cleverly disguised.
Exterior Garden Design
We then needed to make the outside look interesting. Off I went on a mission to find interesting-looking ones to plant up. I headed to the Flea Market at the Bath And West Showground, the perfect place to find just about anything.
The inside of the unit was probably the hardest to make look like a shop. Metal grey walls are not very inspiring. So we had to do some interesting things with the furniture. The reception desk was made using leftover tin from the roof with a counter made of recycled plastic. The desks were the only thing that we made new. The space we had to use was a bit limited so smaller desks were required. With small doors and small spaces, we had to have specially made ones to fit into the space. By having them custom made we could make them in our Middlewick purple.
I still had my old Green Baby shop shelves and display cabinets, I worked it out and they are 20 years old now. Alongside those, I popped a few wooden shelves and crates from Wells Reclamation yard.
John Tucker had done a bit of reclamation for us and found an old fire surround that had been thrown away. We could use this to disguise one of the walls and it also made the perfect backdrop for our Christmas display. A wooden stags head, Christmas garland, and lots of Christmas goodies covered up the grey quite nicely.
We never get tired of recycling and upcycling hereThe next thing to do was signage and this produced the best recycling idea for us. We went to work with some leftover tin and recycled plastic to make a sign for the driveway.
Then my favourite; the neighbours’ old Tractor Tyres became the sign under Glastonbury Tor. Perfect Instagram photo opportunity.
The Middlewick Farm Shop is open to the public 7 days a week. Hours do vary during the season so have a look at our FB profile to double-check.
Lots of yummy local produce and you can admire our quirky little building project at the same time.