Style and Design
Mercia's replacement for their popular Greenacre/Aspen model, the Holly (which you'll sometimes find sold as the Somerset) retains its predecessor's class, style and quality. In addition, you'll find double doors to the front to allow you to furnish your cabin without limitation and, overall, a classic corner log cabin design in robust materials to complete your garden getaway.
The Holly is completed in solid, durable 28mm Baltic pine tongue and groove log cladding complemented by a 16mm floor and roof for strength and stability. There are heavy duty floor bearers and the windows are fitted with EN 12150 certified safety glass which is both safe and secure. The double doors fitted with chrome door furniture and secured by a mortice lock for added security. The roof is finished in green mineral felt for enhanced weather resistance. There are two opening windows secured by sash locks.
The overall external dimensions are 309.9 x 316 cm (10'2'' x 10'4'') with the internal space measuring up at 275.2 x 275.2 cm (9' x 9'). The height at the eaves is 235.3 cm (7'9'') increasing to 272.2 cm (8'11'') at the apex of the roof. The doorway measures an accommodating 148.8 x 188.5 cm (4'11 x 6'2'') - width x height.
The Holly is delivered untreated as standard. A suitable finish will require to be applied by the purchaser and maintained on a regual basis. Properly maintained, the cabin carries a 10 year guarantee.
Options vary between suppliers and will typically include an assembly option (subject to covid restrictions), security and roofing upgrades and a selection of decorative/preservative finishes. Note too that some sellers offer double glazing as standard.
The Holly is delivered with full instructions ready for assembly and treatment by the purchaser.
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
Mercia's Holly corner summerhouse is an impressive replacement for the Greenacre/Aspen cabin with the accommodating double front doors a most welcome feature. This gives the Holly a good sized internal space with increased access for items of furniture.
Budget quality the Holly certainly isn't. Its 28mm interlocking tongue and groove logs and solid wood floor and roof will give you a tough, uncompromising structure, a class above the 12mm shiplap found in economy models. Although this is reflected in the price, we'd certainly recommend this higher quality of construction if your budget reaches that far. We like the 16mm flooring - real wood adds to the stability of the structure and is less susceptible to damage by moisture that the OSB solid sheet you often find in cheaper models. And the safety glass used in the window is reassuring, both from a safety point of view and from the security aspect. Economy models often feature styrene windows as an unbreakable option. Styrene is however far more likely to become cloudy and to sustain scuff and scratch damage than real glass. the mortice door lock and the sash locks on the windows serve to further enhance the security of the cabin.
We'd point out that although prices can differ substantially between sellers, some offer the Holly with safety double glazing as standard. When comparing prices we'd recommend you double check exactly what specification is on offer, particularly in relation to window glazing. Although at the time of review only a 28mm log construction was available (we think mainly due to covid restrictions), you may well find that as time goes on it's possible to find the Holly with a 34 or even 44mm specification. Upgrading to one of these will certainly give an even stronger finish to the building although the 28mm standard is, in our opinion, perfectly satisfactory.
You'll note that the Holly's timbers are untreated and will require the application of a decorative/preservative finish to prolong the life of the building and receive the benefit of the 10 year guarantee. Without treatment the warranty is limited to one year - a very short life for the size of your investment. Although it is a little time consuming, we'd suggest you apply your finish before assembling the summerhouse. That way you can be sure you reach those parts, like the underside of the floor, that might be difficult to get to once the cabin is up. You can also make sure the preservative is applied right into the tongue and groove joints before assembly. The assembly process itself shouldn't be a particularly difficult exercise for two people but it will be a little time consuming. The tongue and groove logs of the Holly are supplied separately and will require to be individually put together - and of course there's the time needed to apply the preservative/decoration. In the end however it should prove to be time well spent.
We don't see any real drawbacks with the Holly other than the fact that it's supplied completely untreated. But it's probably a little unfair to single this out as it tends to be the case with most timber buildings. You may find a factory dip finish applied to some but this is only designed to provide protection up to the date of delivery and you'll still need to apply your own finish at the time of construction. Even a more durable pressure treatment will need decoration to stop the wood taking on a worn and weathered appearance when exposed to the elements - so perhaps the untreated timbers of the Holly shouldn't be seen as too much of an issue.
All in all, we see the Holly as a solid, quality corner log cabin. It's not the cheapest model you'll find around but we think it's money well spent and provided you take the time when it comes to treatment and decoration it should serve you well for many years to come. We've awarded the Holly 4.5 corner summerhouse stars.
If you're looking for alternatives, we'd suggest you have a look at the Tiger Bengal and the Melanie. Both quality models - and if you check our price guides you might find they come in cheaper too!