Self build case study: contemporary mobile home in the New Forest

Jess and Ian Fletcher commissioned a contemporary wood-clad mobile home, built to Passivhaus standards, with lots of natural references to the beautiful setting

timber clad self build cabin
(Image credit: Nigel Rigden)

Thinking of upgrading from an old home to something more energy-efficient? See how one couple built a beautiful new home to suit their needs, or be inspired by our other real home transformations.

Project notes

The owners: Jess Fletcher, a company manager, lives here with husband Ian, who is semi-retired
The property: A two-bedroom mobile home, built off-site to Passivhaus standards, located in the New Forest National Park, Hampshire
Total cost: £368,000

When Jess and Ian Fletcher decided that their gas-heated, mobile home was no longer fit for purpose, they discovered that the homes in their surrounding Hampshire were selling north of the £1million mark. The contemporary solution meant that they could stay in the five acres of stunning silver birch woodland that they had lived in for 25 years.

Jess and Ian were fans of other buildings that PAD Studio had designed, so approached the architects to create a mobile home that would take full advantage of the lovely surroundings. ‘The main thing that we wanted was to take into account the views,’ says Jess. With this in mind, full-height triple-glazed windows were to be placed in positions where the natural beauty of the plot could be fully appreciated.


They wanted the replacement for their old mobile home to be more modern, have better levels of energy efficiency and a design that would offer them larger living spaces.

There have been two caravans on the site since 1963, so the couple hoped they would be able to seek planning permission for a brand new mobile home.

a caravan in the country

Having the perfect plot but an outdated park home, Jess and Ian decided to commission an architect-designed new build


Having confirmed that they would be able to replace their existing park home, the couple initially approached various caravan manufacturers. However, with none of the models fitting their desires for a sustainable home, they turned to local architects PAD Studio who have a large portfolio of conservation area and national park homes. 

Although the practice had not been commissioned to do anything like this before, project architect Ricky Evans was confident that their design would pass through planning if they stuck to the rules of the Caravan Act 1968. This restricts the construction and size of the dwelling to 8x20 metres. 

new build mobile home in the New Forest national park

Natural horizontal cladding was used on the exterior. The canopy was designed to shade the glazing, and to provide detailing, acting as an indicator for the main entrance. A walkway and planting guide the way into the property
(Image credit: Nigel Rigden)

The home was prefabricated off-site with all design elements agreed beforehand. Large windows were a must, so triple-glazed full-height windows and doors were specified. Insect screens have been added so that they couple can throw the doors open to enjoy the breeze, but keep mosquitos out.

white lacquered kitchen units in an open plan kitchen diner and living space

Striking Secto Design 4200 suspension lamps, by Atomic Interiors, hang over the limestone kitchen worktops

(Image credit: Nigel Rigden)

contemporary sitting area in s country mobile home

The TV surround and shelving was designed by PAD Studio. Link sofa and ottoman, Verzelloni

An open-plan design was adopted to create a great sense of space in the small home. A light interior palette of white walls, natural whitewashed oak and limestone worktops in the kitchen aid the illusion of the property being more spacious than it is.

dining area in a contemporary country mobile home

The Morsø 7448 wood-burning stove is between the living and dining areas. Twist Oak table and Morph chairs, Zeitraum Möbel

contemporary kitchen with ceramic units

Malmo contemporary porcelain cupboards from Kitchen Collection are teamed with limestone work surfaces from Moleanos

bathroom in a mobile home in the New forest with black modern vanity and walk-in shower

Duravit sanitaryware is used together with an Axis digital shower
(Image credit: Nigel Rigden)

contemporary bedroom in a contemporary forest caravan

A scenic place to sit in the contemporary bedroom. Croft collection braid rug, John Lewis

The costs

  • Build cost: £180,000 
  • Architect's fees: £33,000
  • Windows: £33,000
  • Deck/boardwalk and brise soleil: £19,000
  • Bathrooms: £18,000
  • Bespoke wardrobes and shelving: £18,000
  • Kitchen: £16,000
  • Air-source heat pump, hot water and underfloor heating with MVHR: £14,000
  • Lighting system and fixtures: £13,000
  • Oak flooring/ceiling: £8,000
  • Decoration: £6,000
  • Solar 4kW system: £6,000
  • Rainwater harvesting: £4,000
  • Total: £368,000

Read more: