Welcome to Loo Charm. This is my DIY loo/hide-and-reading-room with-a-view, otherwise known as the Poo Mobile. It features a glitter ball hanging from a branch, and is mainly made from recycled materials. It is also something of a Transformer (the children's toy) as it is mainly constructed using all the timber that came from my children's wooden climbing frame which they had outgrown. Two curving windows - which allow views of the treetops in this bespoke bird-watchers' hide - use perspex from a large picture frame I was given by a friend. The roof is a left-over curving section of pig-arc from a shepherd's hut I built last year. Internal cladding is T&G redwood left over from this project, as well as the T&G parts of the climbing frame. Door handles include vintage brass door knockers which belonged to my mother, as well as pieces of beech carefully selected from the neighbouring forest. The loo features a hidden wheelie-bin with sections of downpipe for ventilation, and the all important urine separator (a 'second' on ebay for £38) which I have set into a piece of leftover marine ply and varnished (the pee goes down a pipe into the woodland - great for trees. Loo Charm also features a stained glass window bought on Ebay for £25 which I repaired and set into a gravel board frame using timber from the nearby fencing supplies yard. The waney timber cladding is douglas fir from the local sawmill. Loo Charm has a book shelf, flowers, natural ventilation, a tiny LED light, original artworks, and the framed and all important maxim for effective functioning of a composting loo 'Please Sit Down for the Entire Performance'.
I am a writer and keen amateur picture framer who invested during last year's lockdown in a chop saw and a second fix nail gun, and who has been unstoppable ever since. "I'm just going to make a window/build a loo seat/make a door" was a frequent refrain for my children during Loo Charm's construction. My partner, an accountant, was my labourer during the project and constant support. I'd love to see more women and young people and anyone-who- hasn't-tried-it-before try their hand at carpentry, and would love to inspire them to do so. Wood is such a forgiving and generous material; it responds to sensitive handling - where you invite its contours and whorls to enhance your design and, if it doesn't fit, you simply cut another piece or adapt what you already cut. Mistakes are all part of the fun. It is also very relaxing to work with wood - as evidenced by recent research into 'forest bathing' from Japan. Sitting in Loo Charm watching sunlight flicker through the trees and the wind in the branches above really does soothe the soul - whether you are reading a book or answering a call of nature in the most natural way possible. PS. Loo Charm also features my first-ever door (made from gravel boards), my first ever steps (made from one of our chestnut trees split and held together with hex screws) and my first ever loo roll holder (a section of chestnut and a lovely angled piece of wild beech from the forest next door).