Salvaging and renovating old chapels is no easy feat, but it is one of the hottest architecture trends at the moment. After seeing this rehabilitation project by Granit Chartered Architects, who provided planing permission and discharge of conditions, construction and technical drawings, building compliance and contract administration, you will totally understand why churches and chapels are so sought after. Perhaps it's the mystery posed by living in a space that has celebrated both life and death, or in an area where our deepest triumphs and regrets were aired in confession or through prayer. Aside from this profoundly spiritual notion, an old chapel presents designers and homeowners with stunning architectural feats—tall ceilings, pitched roofs, elongated windows and of course, the most important element, a little bit of history.
The chapel, for which work begun in 2007, has been masterfully converted into nine 1 and 2 bedroom flats that span across two blocks—this includes the existing chapel and the new, modern build. The existing façade has undergone major renovations with a link created via a stoic steel staircase. Let's take a look…
First and foremost, we see the magnificent exterior façade of the chapel which has been lovingly refurbished to its former glory. Repainted, renovated and totally restored, the property was given a new lease on life having fallen into disrepair for the past ten years. On top of this, it was infested with invasive and destructive Japanese knotweed—a plant that has the ability to bring down buildings and disrupt solid concrete foundations.
Now, thanks to the architects, has a chance to stand for many centuries more. The most interesting design consideration of this external view is the fact that it isn't blatantly obvious that it was a chapel. Unless a local to the area, it is really only the pitch of the roof and elongated cathedral style windows that are a give-away. Furthermore, once you see the exciting extension that took place below, you will learn how a classic English chapel was blended with bold residential architecture.
In this image, you can see the juxtaposition between old and new worlds as mentioned above. The strict geometry of the new build, followed by the curvaceous steel staircase is played off wonderfully against the brown brick and tall windows of the existing chapel. The key to uniformity and balance in this instance has been achieved by retaining the same colour palette—with the timber complementing the bricks and the stark white render matching the white frame of the new structure.
Bathed in natural light, this space is open and luminous. With a wonderful view outside, you can just imagine how incredible this living room would look once it has been decked out with furniture and interior decoration elements. The pale wooden floorboards complement the icy white wall paint, which helps to disperse the available light even further.
An open plan living room wouldn't be complete without a spacious kitchen, and this has been achieved to great effect here. With no obstructions or tight corners, the occupants have the freedom to work without restrictions or borders in this space, meaning cooking, cleaning up and entertaining will be an absolute breeze. Ample storage options have been provided so as to maintain the sleek and contemporary existence of this kitchen area.
The bathroom is a modernist dream, with a stunning two-tone colour palette of black and white. The eternally perfect couple, the black tiles highlight the shower space, drawing the eye toward that area and making it the focal point of the bathroom. Kitted out with all the latest contemporary fittings and fixtures, the silver of the shower frame, towel rack and taps are the only variation in tone.
As with the other spaces, the bedroom retains the muted colour palette seen throughout. However, instead of white framed windows, we are treated to wooden frames that help to break up the white on white theme. A special treat indeed, these frames make up the existing windows of the original chapel building, so you are blessed (so to speak) with a little slice of history in your bedroom space.
To see more interesting conversion projects in the United Kingdom, check out the following links: