Image by Adam Lynk Photography
From Pepper Pot to Working Windmill
To really appreciate the conversion, take a look its origins. The Windmill Suffolk started life as a pepper mill before being replaced by the last windmill built in the county, over a century ago. Photographic records show the evolution and deterioration of this beautiful brick column over the decades, till all that remained was the iconic shell. It needed a strong vision to bring it back into contemporary use.
Along came Steve and Natalie.
But what to do with a cylindrical building?
Cap it off? Add some stairs and some circular furniture and be done? Or really go to town with creating luxury accommodation that showcases not only the originality of the windmill, but celebrates modern techniques and makes the most of the location?
The latter, without a doubt.
And that’s exactly what Steve and Natalie did.
They put their heart and soul into the project, leaving their jobs to sympathetically restore the mill to well beyond its former glory in less than two years. Teaming up with Beech Architects, known for their contextual, contemporary design and penchant for sustainability, Natalie and Steve were keen to combine the tradition and heritage of the mill with modern techniques and aesthetics. Their concept can be seen throughout the interior of the property, but it’s the outside that really catches your eye.
Head in the Clouds
Why put a roof on when you can sculpt a bespoke, zinc-clad, bubble of a pod with a balcony and panoramic views?
The crowning glory for this restoration project really makes it stand out from the unusual accommodation crowd and is what delayed the project beyond its original year timeline. But it was worth it; the resulting organic form is industrial yet soft, bold but beautiful, a real feat of engineering that won awards for its construction.
There’s something ethereal, compelling, futuristic about its metal head, yet so natural and suited to form, it almost feels like a telescopic eye pushing up out of the Suffolk countryside to scope the surrounding landscape.
But the pod alone does not the building make – the choice of flat matt black for the render keeps the exterior muted in a modern, on trend way, the smooth curves occasionally punctured by black boxes that let the light in and the inhabitants see out. At the base, zinc-clad portals extend the entranceways and bring balance to an otherwise top-heavy lollipop.
I could talk about the aesthetic of this old-meets-new exterior for days, I think they’ve done such a brilliant job of creating something unusual but not unnecessary. But let’s peek inside…
Going around in circles
Luckily they budgeted not just for restoring the structure, but for a high end interior to match – the WOW factor runs in the veins of this place. No expense has been spared; quality carpentry, bespoke fittings, sumptuous fabrics, a muted palette. Someone here has expensive taste. Everything is on theme, from the enormous wave-shaped bath to the curved headboard, velvet sofa and even curved screen TV, you’re going to feel like you’ve won the lottery staying here. I particularly love how they’ve painted the textured brick wall exposed in the bathroom, subtly contrasting with the sleek white sanitaryware and marble tiles.
Yes, there are a few stairs in this adults-only abode, but it’s worth it to reach that pod on the fourth floor. Thankfully the kitchen diner is at ground level, so you don’t have to carry shopping bags upstairs, instead throwing open the bi-fold doors to the terrace for al fresco summer nights in the fresh country air. Fight over which couple gets the first floor bedroom or who’s up on third, but you don’t have to fight over the second floor bathroom, which has enough room for all of you at once, if you like…
Live for Luxury
This quirky place to stay has it all.
The adventure starts with private keypad entry to give that James Bond lair air of exclusivity and ends when you make it to the top feeling like you’ve died and gone to heaven. Creativity with quality craftsmanship is the perfect combination; a space where you instantly feel at home but simultaneously in awe of your surroundings. You’ll be well catered for here, with the owners thinking of every little detail, even down to the option of embroidered bathrobes and boutique toiletries. And as you’re on holiday, get Waitrose to stock the place with plenty of nibbles and fizz for a long weekend of Netflix and Chill.
Where Oh Where
This place could be anywhere and still exude the same qualities, but it just so happens to be in the midst of Suffolk countryside, with far reaching views the cherry on top of the mill-shaped cake. Being on the balcony is a real-life Rapunzel moment, sat high above the treetops looking out across a panorama of England’s green and pleasant land – there’s lots to do in this corner of the country but why would you want to venture away from this spot? Get comfortable and live the circular life for as long as you can.
Image by Joe Lenton Photography
Wow places to stay
I don’t think we need to explain the wow factor with this one. It’s in every corner - or would be if this place had any corners. I think you’ll agree, Natalie and Steve have done a grand job of bringing life back to this old building so you can stay there, either just the two of you for a special treat, or with another couple (handy to take those Instagrammable pics of you and OH clinking glasses on the balcony of balloons…).
All images used with kind permission of Natalie and Steve Roberts