The owners of this property weren’t looking for your average family home – and they ended up with a converted Gothic church. But thanks to a few modern finishes, it’s perfect for 21st-century living
A four-bedroom, three-storey flat in a converted church in north London that dates back to the 1890s. The lower-ground floor has a kitchen-diner, snug/living room, playroom and utility room. On the ground floor, there is a bedroom and wet room. On the
first floor are three bedrooms, including the master bedroom, and an en-suite bathroom.
Choosing a home always involves compiling a pick ’n’ mix list of requirements… Has it got enough bedrooms? Tick. More than one bathroom? Tick. Is it in an area we like? Tick. So, seven years ago, when the owners of this place were looking for somewhere to settle with their growing family, living in a church wasn’t at the top of their agenda.
The couple had initially ignored this flat, because it wasn’t a house. The hulking Victorian church had been converted into 11 apartments in 2000, and although the chosen flat’s expansive ceilings and original features (such as two mammoth stone pillars in the kitchen) provided striking details, the use of dark wood and new orange bricks in the lower section of the walls created a depressing vibe. However, being in the late stages of pregnancy pressed the couple to make a snappy decision.
Four years later, they started a major refurbishment and, as a result, they enlisted the help of interior designer Mark Lewis. He suggested toning down the orange brick and losing the modern radiators and chestnut- coloured doors. The clever conversion melds magnificent original features with practical family living.
Interior designer Mark Lewis wanted to nudge the conversion back to its origins. That meant a raw feel to the walls, traditional flooring and recycled fittings. A lime plaster, with a mid-grey pigment, adds a fittingly dramatic backdrop for the original carved stone church column.
Every door was changed to a classic white design and when Mark added a grey lime render to some of the walls, the atmosphere was transformed. The original brickwork looked beautiful, the stained glass stood out and the stone masonry came into its own.
Mark also suggested rejigging the layout of the downstairs space. So the bold move was made to take the kitchen into the main room, turn the old kitchen into a child- friendly den and give the couple their own snug.
This space is now part of the new open-plan kitchen. The owners had originally bought dark wood furniture for the flat, but Mark suggested painting the table to give it a lighter, more contemporary finish, which also works well with the lime render on the walls.
With four kids in the family, this room gets a lot of use.
A snug for the grown-ups (which was previously a big-cupboard-cum- dumping ground) leads off the large kitchen/dining area. This is where the owners retreat to read the paper, watch TV or simply get some ‘space’.
This is a haven right at the top of the flat, with light streaming through the roof window.
Interior designer, Mark, painted the couple’s bed to give it a more modern look.
The waterproof tadelakt finish on the walls is a traditional Moroccan polished plaster used in riads.
The simple white furniture and painted ceiling beams and doorway help make this room look light and airy.