Building The Country Kitchen

We wanted to build a street food outlet from which we could sell sustainable food, sourced from the Devon countryside that surrounded us. Eating local and sustainable is the way in which we like to feed ourselves and we wanted to promote the richness and variety available to us in an enticing and exciting way.
We had gained inspiration from our travels but it was both Spain and Mexico that particularly inspired our vision for the shacks. The ultimate outcome, however,  is solely at the hands of Nathan. With access to little in the way of funds, the majority of the materials were recycled. Here is how he did it, step by step…
The Build:
  • We paid £60 for a galvanized caravan chassis which we purchased off ebay. It was a single axle light weight touring caravan. We removed the body and shortened the wheel base to make the trailer the proportions we desired.
  •  It is good to recondition and service the brakes whilst at this stage.
  • Set it up nice and level and you have your platform to start working off
  • Buy some tanalised timber. Fencing rail is the cheapest and its a bit smaller than 4″ x 2″ .
  • Build yourself a nice secure platform by drilling through and fixing it firmly to the metal chassis, then start with the uprights of the square timber framework.


Remember when building a cube its only strength is in triangulation to stop the box from collapsing

  • We went for the rustic look with the galvanized tin sheets, it took 2 days free labour to strip off a barn roof for a local builder and we were paid in tin sheets!  The patina is a very desired effect and they will last for years and years.

Exchanging skills for materials where you can is a rewarding and financially satisfying way to move forward when you’re struggling for resources

  •  Once you’ve got your completed framework and you have decided where your apertures are going, then begin to cut your tin sheets and cover your framework. Leave your apertures uncovered for opening serving hatches to be made later.
  • Once you have clad the structure with your beautiful tin sheets you can make a simple ledge and brace door from  6″ x 1″ planks.



  • The apex roof is built to the desired pitch with the same timber and clad with tin sheets and ridge capping.
  • Once it is clad all over it is an incredibly strong structure and you can now make the framework for the opening hatches
  • Cut a timber frame work that fits neatly inside of the opening you have left, not too tight so it will open easily.
  •  Use 2 or 3 butt hinges along the top edge.
  • Then clad these opening frameworks with the same rustic tin and overlap the body you have already clad making it weather tight.
  • A simple sliding bolt on the inside will lock the inside hatches shut.
  • A simple plywood trim over the wheel arch helps neaten things up.


  • Basic work tops were made from 1″ thick waney edge timber planks purchased from our local saw mill for £20. Shelves and cupboard doors were made from reclaimed floorboards and two fridges from the recycling centre put in place.
  • Low power, LED festoon lighting was strung along the inside of the roof. Old enamel and tin signs that we had collected from travels were put into place to decorate the inside walls.
  • You suddenly find a use for some of those grandparents nick knacks handed down to you that you didn’t know what to do with.
  • We used number plates from both our grandparents vehicles as well as vehicles from previous road trips.



We then adorned it with our home made , retro, Country kitchen sign. This is where you put your unique business stamp on it.
For us it was creating an aluminium sign from plywood and the aluminium sheet metal left over from the body of the caravan !
 You get some funny looks when driving down the road with, what many refer to it as, ‘a chicken shed on the back of your car’. The shacks are compact and easy to store, tow, set up and pack down. We used the same process for both The Country Kitchen and Jurassic Coast Seafoodhayride-16-208



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