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Interview with the owners of The Old Warehouse

Written by Leah Smith on

One of our newest retreats located in the charming market town of Woodbridge is The Old Warehouse, Suffolk. We’ve certainly fallen in love with the property and couldn’t wait to find out more from the lucky homeowners about the extensive renovation project they undertook and their interior style inspiration, written in their own words.

History of The Old Warehouse

We first saw The Old Warehouse in 2005 when we stayed in a holiday cottage on Brook Street. It was originally built in 1828 as a Methodist Chapel, and the congregation met upstairs in what is now the large open plan living space. Over the years it has had a variety of uses including being as a corset factory, a bonding warehouse and more recently as a bed and breakfast. It was made into a home in the 1970s when a quarter of the roof was converted into the large skylight.

We inherited some money in 2015 and purchased The Old Warehouse as an investment. Although it is currently a holiday let, we plan to live there when we retire. The building needed complete renovation. 

The Renovation Begins!

The skylight was leaking, plants were growing through the brickwork, the kitchen sink was wooden, with a large crack in the base, and much of the lighting upstairs was powered via extension leads laid along the roof beams.

Initially it was a daunting prospect, as aside from the basic structure we had a blank canvas. The estimated annual gas and electricity usage was £17,596 and reducing this to an affordable amount was our main priority. We insulated and boarded the underside of the old ceiling which then needed painting. 

The Old Warehouse Open Plan Room
Open Plan Living Area
The Old Warehouse Open Plan Kitchen
View of the Kitchen Area

Our Interior Style

I had once read (although I may have this wrong) that from an interior design perspective a room works well if it is 60% one colour, 30% a second and 10% a third. The room is so light, we chose a dark grey for the ceiling, the exposed brick walls made up 30% and that just left 10% to decide upon. This provided us with a starting point to move forward.

The choices we have made have been led largely by the constraints of the building itself and its history. Although not itself listed, most of the houses on Brook Street are, and it lies within a conservation area. During the two and a half years it has taken us to complete the work we have been amazed at how much interest the property generates from locals and visitors alike. We have shown hundreds of people around. In doing so, we have learnt a lot about the history of the building and benefitted from lots of useful feedback and suggestions. The recent trend for industrial interiors and websites such as Etsy and Pinterest have helped provide us with inspiration.

The exposed brickwork upstairs has meant that all the electrics and plumbing are visible and have had to become part of the design. The wiring is hidden within conduit and the copper piping is mounted with brass fixings. The track lighting is suspended from the ceiling and lends a theatrical air to the room. We have wall lights that bleed light out onto the bricks and an orange neon moose. It was the moose that inspired the pops of orange that are found throughout the rest of the house and we also added turquoise to complement it.

The Old Warehouse Design
Exposed Brickwork
The Old Warehouse Snug Room
Snug Room

Favourite Elements

The quality of the light upstairs is my favourite element about the house. We have internal shutters, which combined with the skylight throw beautiful shadows on the brickwork at different times of the day. Brook Street is lucky to have swifts nesting each year and lying back on the sofa watching them fly over is a joy. Our own home is a mix of hand me downs and items bought through necessity. Furnishing an entire home has been an amazing opportunity, our eldest daughter summed it up best by telling a friend “This is the house my parents would have it they didn’t have us”!

The Old Warehouse Bedroom
One of the first floor bedrooms
The Old Warehouse Bedroom 1
Ground Floor Bedroom

The Old Warehouse in Woodbridge is open for bookings for 2018 and 2019. If you're interested in booking this stunning holiday retreat please visit the website for more information or speak to a member of our friendly reservations team who can assist you with your booking.

Leah Smith

Written by

Marketing Executive - Niche Retreats