SEE INSIDE - Converted windmill is one of Suffolk’s most unusual holiday homes
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
One of the most unusual holiday homes in East Anglia has to be The Windmill Suffolk - a restored mill near Bury St Edmunds with a striking zinc roof.
The iconic building, in the village of Cockfield, is believed to have been the last windmill built in the county, in the late 19th century.
It is now a luxurious adult-only boutique hideaway, which sleeps four. There is a "pod" top-floor living space and fourth-floor balcony with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Owners Natalie and Steve Roberts heard about the mill by chance on a visit to Suffolk - and decided to move to the county to transform it into a unique self-catering home.
Natalie said: "The windmill really is our baby. Steve and I moved to Suffolk in early 2008 after seeing the farmhouse, granary and the windmill for sale in a newspaper when visiting Bury St Edmunds for the Christmas market the previous year.
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"We both left our jobs to make The Windmill Suffolk come to life, Steve to build and restore the windmill and then myself to run it as luxury holiday accommodation.
"We have been so lucky to welcome some amazing guests in the two years that we have been open. It is wonderful for us to be part of so many people's celebrations in life, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, babymoons and even marriage proposals. All of these things make running The Windmill Suffolk an absolute joy!"
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The mill had stood derelict for almost a century before the couple brought it back to life. It was built in 1891 and is believed to have ceased work by 1900, so it was only a working mill for less than a decade. Its top was then removed and it was used as a store.
Curved TV and curvy bath
The restoration took just under two years in total. Natalie said: "We originally expected it to be under a year, but the unique shape of the building with all the curves meant that everything had to be bespoke and handmade, from the velvet sofas to the marble kitchen surfaces and the beds.
"Even finding a curved TV and a curvy bath to keep with the theme took time!"
The accommodation includes a kitchen-diner with stylish oval dining table on the ground floor, and sweeping curved stairs through to two bedrooms on the second and fourth floors. There is also a bathroom with a freestanding oversized oval bath and walk-in monsoon rain shower.
One of the building's most eye-catching features is its zinc roof, which won a National Roofing award in 2016. "No one had used zinc to create this unique elliptical shaped roof before," Natalie said.
The couple decided on the zinc top after discussions with Beech Architects. They wanted to create a blend of contemporary and traditional, which would be sympathetic to the heritage of the windmill while appealing to today's tourist.
"We wanted something striking that would sit well with the high-end five-star luxury feel that we have created inside The Windmill Suffolk," Natalie said.
Zinc also offers environmental benefits, ages well and is relatively low maintenance compared with a material like wood which would need to be repainted yearly, so this made it the ideal material for the roof.