Category Archives: Case Studies

House Builder in Bury St Edmunds – Contractors Seamans Building provide high-quality new house building, construction, design and build services in East Anglia

Award-winning Balancing Barn in Thorington creates unique holiday experience

Seamans Building is proud to have constructed the award-winning Balancing Barn in Thorington Suffolk.

Work on the eye-catching building, designed by Netherlands-based MVRDV Architects, with Mole Architects overseeing construction, began in April 2009.

Built for client Living Architecture for use as a holiday let, construction was completed in September 2010.

Living Architecture commissioned the barn with the aim of making modern architecture more accessible to the general public.

Featuring an innovative cantilever design, with around half of the structure suspended over a sloping bank, the Balancing Barn certainly has the ‘wow factor’.

Balancing Barn Suffolk

Construction began with the basement and its substantial concrete foundations.

The cantilever was achieved using a substantial steel framework, which then carries the building’s insulated timber framed walls and roof.

These were then clad in stainless steel, polished tiles which reflect the surrounding nature and changing seasons.

The spectacular building includes a large kitchen and dining room and four double bedrooms – each with its own bathroom and toilet.

At the overhanging end of the barn there’s a spacious living area with windows overlooking a lake and open countryside, and a glazed area of floor overlooking the landscaped area below.

Inside the building, the walls are lined with ash faced plywood panels and its support structures cased to match.

The rooms are decorated with pixelated modern tiling based on cloud studies by John Constable and county scenes by Thomas Gainsborough – the county’s most renowned artists.

In addition, the barn is completed with bespoke furnishing and fittings, creating a special space perfect for a getaway.

Duncan Haydon, Managing Director at Seamans Building, said: “This was a great project to work on and one we are very proud of.

“With such an innovative and eye-catching design, this was a challenging build at times.

“We were delighted with how the Balancing Barn turned out – it is such an impressive building both inside and out.

“The client’s goal was to make modern architecture more accessible to the public, and they have certainly achieved that.

“Anyone staying in the Balancing Barn is in for an experience of a lifetime.”

Balancing Barn, Suffolk outdoor shot of building. Built by Seamans Building

Restoring Woodbridge’s famous Tide Mill to its former glory

Seamans Building was delighted to work on a major refurbishment of the Grade I listed Woodbridge Tide Mill.

Work to restore the historic riverside building, a landmark in the town, began in May 2011.

Working alongside local architect Tim Buxbaum, with funding from the Lottery Heritage Fund, the refurbishment was completed in April 2012.

After asbestos was removed from the building, our team restored the internal layout and installed a new staircase.

Specialists then replaced the old wooden cog wheels before starting work to refurbish the milling equipment.

A brand-new water wheel, replicating the mill’s existing wheel, was constructed by off-site specialists.

Seamans constructed a new covered building to enclose the building’s new water mill wheel.

An old external staircase was removed, the weather boarding overhauled and roof tiles checked and replaced.

After that, the mill pond was drained and cleared, and a new inter-tidal slipway constructed.

A walkway was also constructed above the river, so visitors can view the water wheel and access the rear of the mill.

Additionally, a new disabled toilet was constructed.

The majority of work took place during the summer, bringing its own challenges.

Despite the mill being closed during the refurbishment, there were still large numbers of tourists nearby, visiting the adjacent marina, restaurants, galleries and the historic quay.

This required careful management of the site to maintain access and logistics, while ensuring safety throughout.

Bob Sharpe, site manager on the project, said: “Working with the tide was one of the biggest challenges.

“Installing the new water mill, while having to judge how much time we had before the tide came in was tricky.

“Everything at the Tide Mill had to be purpose built too – everything was bespoke.”

The historic mill is now fully operational and after 850 years, is still running flour milling demonstrations for delighted visitors.

David Hart, Contracts Manager at Seamans Building, added: “The Tide Mill is among the most recognisable landmarks in Woodbridge and the town is rightly proud of its rich history.

“It feels like a history lesson working on a job like this – you learn so much about the building and its importance to the town.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working on this project, restoring such a significant historic building back to its former glory.”

You can find out more about our previous projects, benefiting a range of sectors, on our projects page.

Refurbishment of historic Grade II listed building in Yoxford

Seamans Building is proud to have completed the refurbishment of a Grade II listed country house in Yoxford – believed to date back to the 16th Century.

Work on Grove Park began in October 2018 and was completed in September 2020.

The impressive Georgian mansion sits in 35 acres of beautiful, secluded parkland, boasting incredible countryside views.

It was rebuilt in the 1770s and features a red brick build under a pitched slate roof.

It features ten principal bedrooms, six bathrooms and a variety of reception rooms arranged over three floors.

Externally, the extensive refurbishment included scaffolding the building as well as enclosing it under a temporary roof.

The roof was stripped and replaced with new Welsh slates while repair work was undertaken on stonework detailing, brickwork, windows and external doors.

The team also went to work rebuilding and repairing chimneys and completing underpinning works.

Internally, the project included installing new insulated concrete floors, bracing and replastering walls, fitting new sanitaryware and redecorating the interior throughout.

In addition, the building required a complete rewire of its electrics, as well as the installation of a new oil-fired heating and hot water system.

The project also included constructing a brand-new orangery. This was built from Haddonstone materials and fitted with Crittall doors and windows, with a large patent glazed rooflight.

Donna Barford, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Seamans Building, said: “This was a fantastic project to work on and we are delighted with how the refurbishment has turned out.”

“Grove Park was in need of significant building work, and it is wonderful to see it back to its best.”

“We are pleased to have delivered the refurbishment of such a historically important building.”

You can find out more about our previous projects, benefiting a range of sectors, on our case studies page.

Photography Credit: Simply C Photography

Woodland retirement dream home built in Cambridgeshire countryside

Contemporary, open-plan, visual concrete and timber home in woodland surroundings

Seamans Building is delighted to have delivered Coille Beag – a modern, four-bedroom detached house in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

Nestled in a small patch of woodland, the client wanted a low maintenance, easily accessible home for their retirement.

Additionally, they desired a strong physical and visual contrast between their new home’s incredible natural surroundings in Whittlesford and the setting of their original home.

Work on the building, designed by Snell David Architects, started in April 2018 and completed in October 2019.

Cast insitu concrete is used to create the open-plan, ground floor structure, including the home’s master bedroom suite.

Despite the woodland surroundings, the building boasts optimal views and natural light. This is thanks to the placement of the wings, which follow a path around the existing trees.

The impressive building is finished with stylish, vertical ribbed boards, and large glazed sliding Schuco aluminium doors and windows.

The finish is further enhanced by the use of hardwood joinery for the staircases, doors and bespoke fittings. Therefore, enhancing the strong contrast against the visual concrete.

In addition, the property consists of a high-quality fitted kitchen by David Hall Furniture, sanitaryware and floor finishes. So, the indoor spaces is a special as the exterior.

And the project is set to become even more special as time goes by. The architects envision the surrounding woodland growing up around the new building, bringing the house and nature even closer together.

Following the completion of the project, the client said: “We are delighted with the finished product and also the workmanship of all the various trades that Seamans employed.

“I would recommend Seamans to you without hesitation.”

Ben Whatling, Production Director at Seamans Building, added: “This was a challenging project where the client placed a great emphasis on quality of the finished product; the margin for error when working to such a bespoke design in visual concrete and the success with the interaction of other building elements is a credit to all those involved.

“We hope the client enjoys their new home as much as we did building it.”

Photography credits: David Valinsky.

Castle Community Rooms in Framlingham

The community rooms in Framlingham have always held a special place in the town’s heart – as well as fans of the BBC TV hit The Detectorists.

Seamans Building is currently working to replace the outdated structure, giving Framlingham a community resource it can be proud of.

Work to replace the old St Michael’s Rooms – made famous as the BBC Detectorists’ club house – began in January.

This came after a long and successful campaign by the Parochial Church Council to replace it.

The former community rooms were originally a portable iron building from Boulton and Paul and in dire need of an update.

Just a few hundred metres from the ‘Castle on the Hill’, the new Castle Community Rooms will provide a valuable, modern resource for the church and wider community.

Designed by James Gorst Architects, the building will feature a spectacular vaulted entrance, opening onto the main hall.

The main hall, a space of 120 square metres, will form the centrepiece of the project.

It will include a sprung floor so it can host clubs, coffee mornings, exhibitions and exercise classes.

It is expected the main hall will later be used for wedding receptions and birthday parties.

The building will feature double-glazed oak windows and dynamic lighting, creating a multi-purpose space perfect for community use.

It will also include a meeting room, office space, male, female and disabled toilets and a kitchen.

Mark Reason, Seamans Building’s Pre-Construction Director, said:

“This is a really important project for the town and one we have been delighted to be involved with.

“It’s great to be able to deliver such an amazing building to the local community, especially after so much hard work had been done by the PCC to make this dream a reality.”

Building work is set to be completed in October.

For more on the project, see

Castle Community Rooms - drone image

Castle Community Rooms

House renovation at Baxter Street, Bury St Edmunds

Repairs & Renovation – A period property

Renovation specialists Seamans Building, based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, began the repair and renovation works to this period town house property in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk for our client The Bury Town Trust in late 2020.

As with many of our home renovation projects, site set up has been established and the investigation carried out for the safe isolation of supplies. The below photo shows the historic building standing in Baxter Street in much need of some TLC!

Refurbishment Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Following the demolition of the extension and the careful removal of the low-level render to the chimney, we discovered the old bressummer beam, which would have supported the brickwork above the fireplace opening in the adjacent terrace.

Further demolitions exposed a section of rotten soleplate and historic repairs to each corner at the rear of the property show where it would have joined the neighbouring properties.

Scaffold is erected, further investigation of the structure is carried out and drainage is tested. The remaining scaffold was erected to all elevations allowing the removal of render at high level. Exposed original window openings reveal signs of timber decay and insert attack.

Week 5 saw the removal of all the external render. The entire structure is wrapped for protection. The chimney shored up with supporting scaffolding to alleviate any threat of collapse.

About Seamans Building

Seamans Building, based in Bury St Edmunds, provide a wide range of home extension & renovation services, from small house extensions to large house renovations or home refurbishments.

Contact us for more information about our house renovation service.

Wesley Chapel – Elmswell, Suffolk

Community Refurbishment Project 

Seamans Building, experts in community building refurbishments,  carried out a full refurbishment of The Old Wesley Chapel in Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Wesley Hall Community Hall and Chapel Refurbishment, Elmswell Suffolk

The existing community building was demolished – and in its place Seamans Building have created a completely new and modern community hub, including a kitchen, office space and multiple rooms for various uses, all for the residents of the village to enjoy.

Below you can see the Chapel’s community hall before it was demolished, and then after.

Chapel Refurbishment Bury St Edmunds

Wesley Chapel before

Refurbishment of Wesley Chapel ELmswell, Suffolk

Wesley Chapel after

The existing community build was demolished and in its place Seamans Building created a completely new and modern community hub, including kitchen, office space and multiple rooms for various uses, all for the residents of the village to enjoy.

The Old Victorian Chapel adjoining also had a makeover! Preserving its stunning stained-glass windows, installing beautiful new flooring and finishes & a fully integrated acoustic ceiling. All associated external works and landscaping were also carried out by Seamans.

About Seamans Building

Seamans Building, based in Bury St Edmunds, provide a wide range of community refurbishments projects in community halls, schools, libraries, hospitals and more..

Contact us to find out more or enquire about our refurbishment services.

Completion of a nine plot housing development in Wethersfield, Suffolk

New home developer Seamans Building based in Bury St Edmunds were instructed to carry out the construction of this nine plot housing development in the village of Wethersfield, Suffolk for Property developer Julia MacKay Properties.

The specification for these modern new build homes include heating by air source heat pumps, integrated appliances in each kitchen and wood burners in some properties.

Construction was completed late 2019 with handover to the client in January 2020.

The aerial photos show progress throughout the building process.

About Seamans Building

Established builder, Bury St Edmunds – provide a wide range of services including housing development building projects. Contact us to find out more about the building services we offer.

Community restoration project – The Clock Tower and Gatehouse, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Restoration and refurbishment specialists Seamans Building were delighted to have been involved in the restoration of the Clock Tower and Gatehouse at Rougham Hall near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

This magnificent building was established in 1924 but had sadly reached the point of collapse. The hall itself was seriously damaged on 23rd September 1940 when it received a direct hit from a German bomb and the clock mechanism within the tower has been revealed for the first time since the 1940’s.

As part of the restoration project on the clock tower, two huge bells were brought back to life whilst repairs were made.  The Gatehouse has been beautifully refurbished into a 3-bedroom accommodation with some very unique features!

The drone footage below shows the tower before its restoration

Restoration specialists Suffolk
Restoration specialists Suffolk

Restoration works commences – scaffolding is erected around the clock tower

Work in progress, a new roof is installed and the clock tower bells are lifted out, cleaned & reinstated

Internally, the clock tower has been fully refurbished with a modern kitchen, flooring, staircase and no less than 3 bedrooms. A place fit for a king!

Construction of commercial units & new offices at Elm Farm Park, Suffolk

Commercial Contractor Seamans Building commenced on site at their Head Office near Bury St Edmunds in October 2018.  The units will accommodate offices and units for commercial use for let.

Phase 1 saw concrete mixers pouring 130m3 concrete into the foundations and the beginnings of the structural steel frame taking shape.

With the steel frame complete, concrete beams are put into place ready to accommodate a pre-cast concrete floor.

Once the structure is complete the roof and cladding can be installed. Windows and doors are installed and a roadway with ample parking is being laid.