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Beautiful Barn Conversions in Suffolk

Written by Leah Smith on

Many barn conversions are very popular with holidaymakers as they offer such diversity from one conversion to another. Some are steeped with historical roots yet transformed into a fresh, contemporary style. Others retain their character features such as traditional beams and brick flooring. 

Here at Suffolk Secrets we have many barn conversion holiday properties ranging in size which have been lovingly converted by our homeowners. They are spread across Suffolk in rural villages, on the outskirts of market towns and set in the heart of the countryside. We have featured below a few of these conversions all of which have a fascinating history.

The Stables at Ufford

The Stables at Ufford resides on the original site of a medieval farm - Willow Farm - which is situated next door.  The large barn at the front of The Stables is called Willow Barn (where the homeowners live) and there is a granary called Willow Granary which is also situated in East Lane.

Before the homeowners moved to Willow Barn, The Stables had been left empty for some considerable time and was in danger of falling down. Before the homeowners were able to undertake renovations to their own home they needed to make The Stables safe and renew the Suffolk tile roof. 

As with most renovations, this project posed some interesting challenges for the homeowners. Originally being a stable the concrete floor sloped downwards towards the stable-yard so that any fluids could drain away, therefore the floor in The Stables currently has one and a half inches of Celotex insulation on one side and three and a half inches on the other! Also posing a problem was one of the lovely old beams being positioned fairly low in the kitchen area which could have caused someone a nasty thump on the head! Whilst the roof was propped up the beam was safely removed and relocated. 

None of the walls, floors or roofs in the stable were horizontal or parallel so the homeowners ended up creating a wooden frame within the original structure which is now very well insulated. The homeowners wanted a light airy feel so they decided to include three Velux windows on the eastern side plus stable doors to the main entrance and bedroom. This ensures that The Stables is warm and light in winter and sunny yet airy in the summer time.

The Stables in its current form is a very successful holiday let for couples looking for a romantic break or just some time away to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Its beautiful location surrounded by acres of informal gardens and countryside make this property a truly luxurious getaway holiday property. 

The Dairy at Preston St Mary

The Dairy is one of our newest barn conversion acquisitions which is located in Preston St Mary, a small village with an abundance of cycle routes and walking paths to explore.The construction of The Dairy is thought to date back to the mid war and was a working dairy until approximately 1990, with ten milking machines still present.  It was part of the Preston Manor Estate where there has been a settlement since Roman times.

The Dairy was derelict when the homeowners first bought the property. The conversion has been very well thought out with plenty of attention to detail. Accommodating up to four guests there are three bathrooms and a cleverly incorporated a unique wheelchair lift. The homeowners felt it was important that the countryside views from the first floor should be enjoyed by all who visit and the lift has proved to be popular with visitors.

This picture shows where the kitchen is now, through to the French doors.

Lodge Farm at Freston

The parlour and dairy at Lodge Farm date back to around 1915 and were in operation until the early 1960s when milking was moved to a more modern facility on the farm.  The buildings are Arts and Crafts style with brick structure and timber rafters.  They were commissioned by the current owner’s great-grandfather, Stuart Paul; a prominent and successful local businessman and landowner, to house his pedigree herd of Red Polls.  At the time Red Polls were considered the best general purpose (milk and beef) cattle in the country.  Stuart Paul was a leading figure in the breeding and export of this breed and was President of the Red Poll Society in 1932.  The buildings were designed to reflect the status of their owner and their occupants. 

Despite the buildings sitting within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, permission was granted as planners saw the sympathetic style, a scale of the conversion that was in keeping, and the positive economic benefit it would bring to the local area.  Together with an architect based in the next door village and a small local building firm, the homeowners have kept the conversion as ‘local’ as possible.  For example Chestnut wood, coppiced from the farm, was used to make furniture and stairs, beds were bespoke from an Ipswich firm and the curtains were all made in Suffolk.  The homeowners were also keen to enhance the eco credentials and installed a modern biomass boiler that provides all the hot water and heating for Lodge Farm.  

Determined not to remove all signs of the historic purpose of the buildings, the homeowners have kept as many original features as possible, such as sack hoists and hooks. The dairy lent itself to residential conversion as the plans required minimal alterations to existing internal walls and no change to the external footprint.  Externally the originality of the dairy has been retained.  

Lodge Farm is such a unique conversion that has been thoughtfully designed for holidaymakers. Lodge Farm is made up of three interconnecting properties – The Buttery, The Dairy and The Parlour – all of which can be rented singularly if required. There are many added extras when booking these properties including a games room and, when Lodge Farm is booked as a whole for twelve guests, it gives holidaymakers many outside spaces as well as a wealth of sitting areas and kitchen facilities. The homeowners also provide a food ordering service from The Suffolk Food Hall and an order form with price list is sent to you eight weeks prior to your holiday, thus making your stay all the more relaxing. 

Lake Farm Barn at Holbrook

The wonderful Lake Farm Barn lies within the village of Holbrook, just a few miles from the River Orwell and five miles to Ipswich. This modern barn has been converted and finished to a very high standard.

Lake Farm Barn was originally an old Victorian barn which was used for grain and turkeys. Once the farmers had sold the main house on the same site during the 1950s the new owners had no use for the barn therefore it was used for storage purposes only. The current owner’s parents purchased the main house and the barn in 1970 and it was again mainly used for storing lawn mowers and other nick-nacks. 

The conversion of Lake Farm Barn took just over a year. Planners requested the owners add barn style doors to the proposal so the property would still be reminiscent of the barn. The builders managed to keep the original wood structure and most of the bricks around the base. The roof was created using the old tiles plus some slate to comply with building regulations.

Today Lake Farm Barn stands proudly within the sixteen acres of grounds in this stunning rural location. Accommodating up to six guests in high season for winter breaks the property can also be booked for parties of two and has the added benefit of being pet friendly.

Oasis Barns at All Saints South Elmham

Oasis Barn is thought to date back some 200 years, judging by engravings that can still be seen on the original brickwork. Back then it was more than likely to have been used as shelter for cattle because it lies in a slight dip from surrounding fields. During the 1960s the building became known as “All Saints Garage” when it was used to service cars and it was later used to maintain farm vehicles. It is thought that the name “Oasis” was given to the building during the 1990s when it was used by a local joinery company. In more recent times it has been used as a shop, a studio and before the current homeowners arrived, as workshop to build Victorian greenhouses.

The current homeowners bought Oasis Barn in 2014 with the intention of bringing it into the modern world while retaining as much of the original barn as possible. Local tradesmen were employed to undertake the work, providing such items as bespoke wooden framed windows. In fact the actual builder employed was a local - he used to play in the barn with his school friends when growing up in the area.

Oasis Barn has been converted into four holiday barns and a larger barn which is used as a games room and social area. Named after birds which can be seen around the local area - Kingfisher, Moorhen, Partridge and Pheasant can be booked individually or as a whole for larger gatherings (visit our Coming Soon Page for more information). Each barn has been lovingly furnished and particular highlights include the internal wooden beams and brickwork.

Here at Suffolk Secrets it is extra special to find properties which such a rich history and we hope you have enjoyed reading about these beloved barns.

Leah Smith

Written by

Admin & Homeowner Liaison Assistant
Suffolk Secrets - The Finest Choice of Holiday Cottages