Building the dream...
Home Sweet Home
Jason and Ruby Stanley have both grown up in the small village of Mayfield.
An elderly family friend of Ruby's owned a country cottage in Mayfield, along with 2.5 acres of land.
The lady decided to sell her house in 2017 after 50+ years living there.
Jason and Ruby were lucky enough to purchase the property in the village they love.
Five-pitch Touring Caravan Site
The property was sold including 2.5 acres of grassland which for 20 years had been used as a small touring caravan site with five electric hook up points.
The previous owner tried to maintain the site as best she could but years passed and it got very overwhelming for her on her own.
By the time Jason and Ruby moved in, it was an extremely boggy grass field with lots of humps, bumps and 13-foot brambles coming out of the hedge bottom!
That didn't faze Jason and his dad Kevin. With their hard work the site soon became unrecognizable. Jason and Ruby decided to take over the little caravan site and they kept it running up until the end of 2019 when it was agreed they should close the site to make way for the new lodges.
Decision Making Time
Jason and Ruby had been on a lot of UK lodge holidays over the years and during each stay would find themselves scrutinising every inch of the property. Talking about what they really liked, what they thought worked well together and what they would have done differently if they had designed and constructed them. Both sets of families soon joined in, adding their thoughts when on holiday in larger lodges together.
At the time of moving in to their new home together, Jason was a general builder working for his dads Building company and Ruby was working at a lodge holiday park on reception.
Ruby could see there was a high demand for top of the range lodges with hot tubs and thought if she could convince Jason and his dad Kevin that they were what was needed, they could work together as a family to turn their land at home in to a small lodge park.
Ruby also has a friend called Kevin and he played a big part in spurring the Stanley's on to take the plunge of developing their home land.
"We had dreamed about owning a lodge park for a number of years. In 2017 reality hit that we were buying a property with the land and potential to make our dream happen." - Jason
Jason and Ruby spent many, many hours drawing up how they wanted the lodges to look both internally and externally. They also had to figure out how best to position the lodges within the land, taking in to account where services would run, where the access road would be, where the sun came up, the best views etc.
Jason's dad Kevin had a lot of input on the lodges structure and his 40 years of knowledge from being in the building trade was definitely appreciated .
"The planning aspect was really quite difficult. Not because we didn't know what we wanted, as we pretty much knew that, it was how to show it all on paper for planning. There was no margin for error. It's a good job we drew everything up in pencil that is for sure." - Jason
In 2018, just under a year after buying the residential property and land, Jason and Ruby submitted a detailed planning application to build 5 luxury wooden lodges. The hope was that if planning was approved, Jason and Kevin would take a full year out of work to hand build the lodges themselves.
An anxious 12 weeks passed and to everyone's delight, planning was approved!
Jason and Kevin had not built any timber framed lodges before, yet there they were getting geared up ready and excited to sink their teeth in to this massive new project.
Jason and Kevin worked together and did absolutely everything they could:
Dug up the ground, put all of the underground services and drains in, formed access road to lodges, installed concrete footings, built out of ground with blockwork, set floor joists out and timber frame, cut and fit roof timbers, weathered the roofs in, cladded the timber frames with larch, insulated all ceilings floors and walls, laid internal floors, formed studwork to divide rooms, plaster boarded and plastered the lodges throughout, fitted the kitchens and utility units, hand-built the saunas, laid wooden decking and installed fibre optic lights above where the hot tubs would go in the one bedroom lodges.
The contractors we had in were electricians, window fitters, tiler, painter, carpet fitter and a plumber. All of which were local.
Jason and Kevin worked 7 days every single week and put in an unbelievable number of hours.
Two lodges soon took shape and inside work started on them both.
Then came the part where Ruby could provide more physically to the project than just providing the cups of teas. She wanted the lodges to be styled with the countryside in mind, to fit in with their surroundings. Ruby got stuck in with the lodges interior design and furnished the lodges herself.
Ready to Showcase
In January 2020 both lodges were finished and ready to be loaded on to a booking system.
It was decided that March would be the month to open.
The project had run smoothly which meant Jason and Kevin were able to start building a third lodge which they initially didn't think they would have started until months later.
On March 2nd 2020 Mayfield Snuggery welcomed the very first sets of guests in to 'Snug as a Bug' and 'Cosy Burrows'.
The third lodge 'Tawnies Nest' was ready to welcome it's first set of guests in August 2020.
In November 2020 work began on lodges four and five with the hope to have them finished ready for letting out in Summer 2021.
"2020 was a very tough year for all of us due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. It hit the hospitality sector extremely hard and many businesses were unable to pull through. As a business established in 2020, we feel extremely lucky to have been able to 'ride the storm' and 2021 is set to look much brighter, for us all." - Ruby