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Mad About . . .

The Househunter: A Methodist Church and Sunday School Room

13th May 2022
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Right, this week is one for letting the imagination fly or at the very least thinking about colour palettes. It’s a Grade II listed Methodist Church with, and this is the imaginative bit, an attached Sunday School room. It’s on with Inigo for £750,000 and it’s in Powys, Wales, and it’s a while since we’ve been over there so let’s go and see…

Now there are approved plans to modernise the space, which amounts to around 4,200 sq ft, to create a high ceilinged open plan space with bedroom in the organ chamber and various other spaces carved out. You can see the existing and proposed floorplans here although unless you are seriously planning to buy it you might have more fun with your own ideas and and just using this for inspiration.

It was built in 1874 in the Italianate gothic style and described as the Cathedral of Welsh Non-Conformity replacing the previous Methodist church on the site.

The spaces are, of course, immense but there are some wonderful details such as this tiled hall. You could start a whole scheme on this pale blue, cream and terracotta colour and the wooden doors and panelling are all wonderful.

Every time I see a house with plain cream or off-white walls and lots of wooden doors and floors I immediately want it for my own home. And every time I start off like that I end up painting the walls in deep saturated shades and adding pattern. So, once again, I am totally drawn to this for its simple natural style and wonder if I could stick to it perhaps with the addition of patterned furniture and rugs. Perhaps the whole joy of interior design is that if you get the basics right you can change the colours as you move along. I have certainly done that in my house; when we redid the kitchen after five years of living here – having installed an Ikea one when we moved in as we had no money for anything else and it was way before the likes of Superfront and Plykea existed – we kept the layout exactly the same as it worked. The doors have been white, charcoal and now chocolate brown but nothing else has moved.

So this huge room. Currently the school room, the plan is for it to become guest living space. If you could find a way of using this whole room then I wouldn’t want to touch it. Those wooden doors are fabulous and painting the high ceiling orange would not only make you feel warmer in winter (now is probably not the time to be discussing heating bills in large houses although the plans include secondary glazing) but would also bring it down visually and make the space feel less cavernous.

Above is a classic example of the rug island. These small rugs aren’t large enough to zone the space and just look lost in this room. But the idea is right in principle and in a room this size – or any open plan space – use rugs instead of walls. Just make sure each rug is large enough to hold all, or most of, the zone you are creating. And if large rugs prove too expensive then take a look at carpet – much cheaper and these days there are lots of patterns which might feel too much wall to wall but in rug format look cool. The shop should be able to put you in touch with someone who can bind the edges to stop them fraying. If you prefer a plain carpet – look for one with a textured and add a coloured border. The reason for this is that if you buy a classic twist carpet and hem it in the matching colour it will always look like a giant bit of carpet and then it might look like you didn’t have the budget to fit a full wall to wall carpet and successful interior design is mostly about creating the impression that everything you have done was done with purpose and for a reason and that you meant it.

So if you want an oatmeal twist carpet/rug then maybe do the edges in a darker chocolate brown to add a little flourish of interest. If you want a dark charcoal then consider a neon edging – or at least something that contrasts. That will immediately make it look like you wanted a big piece of carpet so you could create the look you wanted rather than coming up £7,000 short for a vintage Persian rug.

I love this picture above as colour inspiration. If you look closely the bricks have both pale blue and pink in them along with the darker wood colour which is why this part of the room works so well. And it reminds me of something I wrote in my first book Shades of Grey – you might think pavements are grey but look closely – there is yellow, pink, blue and green. Colours are never in isolation and they all react to each other. You could have put and green and an orange chair against those bricks and they would probably have looked more orange and green.

But if you’re looking for a palette then dark wood/chocolate with pale wood/cream a hint of black/charcoal and some soft pink is always a winner. Throw in a splash of your disrupter- pale blue/cobalt blue/greens of all shades and you won’t go far wrong. You can increase the amounts of the colour you like best and keep small amounts of the one you like least- or feel might be overwhelming if used in large quantities.

Now for the kitchen, which I adore and which, in the new plans, will become a large and luxurious utility room. Once again it’s all about the pale colour palette – white walls and dark wood with floorboards, a vintage bronze radiator and some exposed brick. Usually I find exposed brick and plaster a bit contrived but it works here – possibly because the plaster really has fallen off the wall and no-one was trying to artfully create something that looked as it if had.

It’s also worth point out – as I am asked a lot – about mixing different woods. Now I’m not suggesting that you leave a dark patch of floorboards or that your table is a temporary bit of board the builder left behind but the point is that the old and the new and the dark and the light all work together there and this is mostly because they are all different shades of rustic. You could stick an antique table in here but that would bring a more polished air to the space and at that point it might be better to bring in plastic or metal chairs. So, if you want a sort of rule ( I hate rules so let’s say a guide) if your surroundings – walls and floors are all rustic then you can contrast all the furniture – by going fully modern or using vintage furniture in different materials – so a marble table and plastic chairs for example.

What won’t work is a mix of a rustic shell – the room – with half rustic and half refined antique set of furniture. So in short – all rustic (one style) or rustic fixtures with modern furnishings or rustic fixtures with contrasting materials either modern or vintage.

 

This then is the church space. Seems a shame to rip it out but then again what are you going to do with it – unless you are actually Steven Spielberg and you are going to run private screenings of your new movies for friends. I imagine it will be carefully removed and sold as salvage and there will be church pews propping up kitchen tables all around the land. Not to mention all that panelling in the upper row which would make great kitchen cupboards. The new owners may even be able to repurpose some of this in the finished home they create here.

The plan is that this will be a huge kitchen/family space with three bedrooms coming off it.  I’m showing you the picture below as the organ will be removed to create another bedroom but also for the colour palette. You might think that pale blue and pale pink is very pastel but throw in some red (not necessarily carpet as it is here but cushions or curtains) and deeper blue along with old wood and a bit of black or metallic and it’s a great combination.

So what do you think? Inspired by such a renovation or terrified?

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  • Anna 13th May 2022 at 3:14 pm

    I could never feel welcomed home by the grim facade but I do recollect a young impoverished couple buying, a smaller, chapel. Their carpenter friend used much of the existing wood work and benches, to make a wonderful kitchen plus cupboards elsewhere. I do hope this happens here.

  • Longdenlife 13th May 2022 at 2:25 pm

    In love with that hallway!

  • Bev 13th May 2022 at 12:43 pm

    I wonder if the pews could be dismantled and the backs used for wall paneling…..

  • Hyacinth 13th May 2022 at 11:33 am

    As a Northerner I need to don a cardi just looking at this. Brrrr.

  • Marie Bunworth 13th May 2022 at 9:45 am

    Lotta LOTTO money needed here Kate but it’s just fabulous. I’d love to get my grimy little paws on This one.

  • Caroline 13th May 2022 at 8:10 am

    Love love love. If I hadn’t sworn never to do another project I’d be over to Wales like a shot.

  • Debs 13th May 2022 at 7:59 am

    Love it, now if only I could find that Euro Millions ticket I bought last Tuesday!

  • Janet Whincup 13th May 2022 at 7:24 am

    Wow!
    A fantastic project for someone with the ideas and the money.

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