CASE STUDY

Multipurpose Oak Frame Outbuilding, Suffolk

THE EXTRACT BELOW IS TAKEN FROM THE OAKWRIGHTS CASE STUDY OF THE PROJECT AT EXCELL TIMBER WINDOWS WORKSPACE.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORK PROVIDED BY OAKWRIGHTS PLEASE VISIT: www.oakwrights.co.uk

For many years, Martin and Julie Serjeant and their son Sam had considered the possibilities of building a bespoke outbuilding at home. It was important to them that it would meet the needs of their personal and professional lives by serving multiple purposes, while complementing their home which sits within a beautiful Suffolk village.


For many years, Martin and Julie Serjeant and their son Sam had considered the possibilities of building a bespoke outbuilding at home. It was important to them that it would meet the needs of their personal and professional lives by serving multiple purposes, while complementing their home which sits within a beautiful Suffolk village.

Choosing to build with oak and working with Oakwrights

With a history of building with oak, and as former members of the Carpenters’ Fellowship, which is where they first met the team at Oakwrights, Martin, Julie and Sam have carried out several oak frame builds.

“However, for this build we looked into using Oakwrights because of their quality reputation and competitive pricing,” explains Martin.

Similar core values around sustainability and being environmentally aware is of the utmost importance to the Serjeants, and is deeply rooted within their business, Excell Timber Windows. Alongside many other initiatives, Excell Timber Windows only use FSC-certified timber, and given the unity of so many other factors, in 2017 the family chose Oakwrights to be their oak frame supplier.

The Serjeants began their journey by speaking with one of Oakwrights Regional Design Consultants, Zoe Grey. Before arranging a meeting in person together, they discussed their ideas for a new garage design at length. During this stage and throughout the entire process, the focus was to ensure the spaces inside could be used for multiple purposes and were future-proof.

“What started off as a three bay cart lodge quickly snowballed,” smiles Julie. “Zoe came to see us and we decided on the design. Through this conversation we identified that we could accommodate a nice new home office for our timber window company in the roof area.”

Having finalised their design and received their initial planning permission, construction work began.

Key design features

Looking at the family’s oak frame room above garage from the front elevation, there are many design considerations which instantly grasp your attention. Two impressive timber garage double doors with detailed ironmongery finishes sit either side of a traditional solid oak front door featuring side panels, while three dormer windows are positioned symmetrically above and have been beautifully framed with timber and lead, taking centre stage.

“We based Martin, Julie and Sam’s final design on our three bay room over Gloucester garage,” explains Zoe. “Martin wanted to use oak to complement and showcase the quality of his products (supplied by George Barnsdale Timber Windows). The dormers where important to the Serjeants as they wanted to increase the space upstairs, but also wanted these to be a main feature for clients to see when visiting.”

To work in harmony with the wide selection of timber joinery installed both inside and out, larch weatherboarding encases the entire exterior of the Serjeants’ garage, naturally blending it into their rural surroundings, and their build is completed with a clay tile roof.

The downstairs of the family’s garage comprises a spacious storage area on the left-hand side and an open-plan kitchen/dining/living room within the subsequent two bays, in addition to two twin bedrooms, a bathroom and their office upstairs.

Once inside, their bespoke oak frame carefully carves out each living area and draws you through the spaces. In the kitchen, a triple casement window and bifold doors which are products within Excell Timber’s portfolio, welcome natural light to flood in and add to the sense of space. Before travelling up to the landing, attention must be paid to the Serjeants’ oak staircase from Woodside Joinery, which is illuminated by a rooflight overhead.

“An aspect I really like on this design is the internal staircase,” says Zoe. “It really complements the building and makes the most of the space in the way that Martin, Julie and Sam wanted to use it.”

The upstairs spaces are again filled with natural light thanks to the varying windows incorporated into the family’s finished design.


We have carried out several builds where we cut our own frames. However, for this build we looked into using Oakwrights because of their quality reputation and competitive pricing.

Martin Serjeant

An oak frame garage built with the present and future in mind

The Serjeants’ new oak framed outbuilding has proved an asset to their business, and they have seen 100% success with every visitor who comes to view their products.

“Martin, Julie and Sam were wonderful and it was lovely to work with clients who are just as passionate about their product as we are,” says Zoe. “I think this is one of the reasons that the finished article is so fantastic.”

“We now have planning for a holiday let with a bedroom in the roof,” explains Julie, “so our garage is working even harder for our company. It is the best investment Excell Timber has made in its 30 years, earning us a living while giving us a beautiful company office and show home which we are very proud of.”

In addition to meeting their needs, it was important for the family that their garage was constructed with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. Framed of course by green oak: an environmentally friendly material with low levels of embodied energy, the Serjeants worked with Ben Hart Consulting to carry out an assessment of their business’ carbon footprint, including their new oak framed garage with a room above.

“We future-proofed their design by using the habitable specification on the entire building,” says Zoe. “This means the whole outbuilding could have been insulated, and it is also really handy if you needed to insulate your garage for a classic car or just to keep a workshop that little bit warmer!”

“We reduced our carbon footprint by 39% by moving our office into our garage. We are proud to say we are a carbon negative company; how good it that! We have the most fantastic building which receives many positive comments from all who see it,” concludes Martin.