Commissioning Craft: Retreat

All around the British Isles, our makers’ materials have been gathered, their work benches cleared and tools poised in preparation to create enduring pieces of exquisite beauty and individuality for discerning customers.

Over the next four weeks we will be sharing ideas from a glorious spectrum of works which can be skilfully crafted for you and will be introducing you to our Craft Patrons who will share their experiences from years of commissioning joy. This week we explore THE CRAFTED RETREAT.

Commission Craft: Retreat


Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

By William Shakespeare
(from The Tempest)

Our retreat idyll is a place which our imagination happily revisits time and time again. It is a shelter for our mind to expand and creativity to be explored; a space in which we allow ourselves to wallow in fantasies and where we meet our true self. It is a place which feels acutely familiar, yet utterly otherworldly. We are intimate with the finest details of how it should be: how the atmosphere is created with the quality of light, the sounds and the smells within and without, and the textures which form it’s architecture. Every item within– from chair, to bowl, to handle and rug - has been chosen, crafted and curated with the greatest of care. We know how we will feel when we are there, and we radiate a sense of tranquil satisfaction.

We have invited Sam Lee - Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, conservationist, song collector and broadcaster – to share his fantasy retreat commission with architectural and furniture practice, SASA WORKS.


Sam Lee

The Moss House by Sam Lee

“So this is my imaginary design for my retreat – a dream fishing hut. That’s not a fishing hut that's in my dreams, but a fishing hut that I visit to go fishing for dreams and ideas.

The Moss House is located on an island in a chalk stream (a very particular feature of the English countryside) and almost totally unique to Southeast England. My specific chalk stream is The River Test.

The island is surrounded by braided passages of river which are full of salmon and trout, and billows of watercress and watermint. The water is always at 10 degrees celsius which is one of the unique beauties of chalk streams. There are no bridges to reach this hut, so you have to take your shoes and socks off and wade through the 10 or so feet of fine soft gravelly, chalky, flinty river bed.

I imagine that The Moss House will be a two storey lean-to between two alder trees which are growing out of the river, on the riverbank. Alder trees have enormous height, strength and straightness so they could become the two columns on either side of the main double length, double heighted hut.

It is a three-walled hut which is always exposed to the outside. Between the two alder trees is a porch or veranda which trails off into the stream, so that the margin between where the chalky bed ends and the hut begins, is ambiguous (chalk streams never flood because there is always a constant, measured, flow out of the chalk).

The whole hut will be made from wattle and daub which is covered with lime and woven with moss. The moss growing from the hut is a connection to one of my favourite, traditional songs which comes from Ireland – The Moss House - which talks of tumbledown homes that were the “keepers of song & story”. The roof will be thatched and made out of the reeds growing around the water.

As a recognition of the chalk landscape, inside the hut there is a beautiful white chalk hewn fireplace, which has blackened from fires, and a stone chimney.

There will be rudimentary facilities. The kitchen will have a simple basin into which water will be drawn from the river as it will be clean enough to be used for washing. There will be a set of waterbeds with reedmace and yellow flag (both types of rush) for cleaning all my grey water.

There'll be a ladder up to a platform, above the veranda, where there will be a double bed. It will also be open on one-side and looking down over the river, with the ability to close some shutters. From up high you can watch the trout and salmon swim past, and the ducks and geese all go about their journeys. It will be as though one's dreams could be fished out of the crystal-clear stream below. “


As you retreat into your ideal world for escape, contemplation and creativity, your perfectly curated space will need a few other things for comfort, beauty and function. Here is an edit of pieces that echo a sense of sanctuary, calm and ritual.

Download The Retreat Catalogue

If you have seen something that belongs in your dream retreat or would like to share your ideas for commissions with us, please email [email protected]. We will be delighted to discuss your thoughts and requirements further.