Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Can You Smell the Incense?

Mark Chagall windows, Cathedral of Reims, France depicting Abraham and Christ

Tonight, people all over the world are celebrating Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). For believers, this is the day to get "it" all out of our systems prior to the long and sober forty days of Lent that starts tomorrow. I've written before how much I love a church conversion and I thought pulling together a little showcase of some beautiful church conversions would be a nice way for me to kick off the Lenten season.

In London's Kensal Green, via AngloFiles

One thing is clear, living in a converted church certainly means getting used to large, wide open spaces. Space planning in order to bring the volume down to human scale is of the utmost importance.

Contemplation with bubbles? Yeah, I'd go there.

There is an interesting use of space in this Northumberland, England (via SwipeLife) conversion. The long table brings to mind a church school or rectory table. However, the master bed is placed shrine-like on the alter.

This is a pretty spectacular modern update of a classic form, located in the Netherlands, renovated by Zecc Architects,  The whitewashed wall highlights the vaulted ceilings and black iron and stained glass windows   Via Knstrct.

So, could you ever imagine living in a converted church? Would you feel like you're being "watched" and feel the need to speak in hushed tones? Or would the architectural interest rule the day?

I came across the following church restoration project in my research and just had to share. It's still a church, but I must say, the modern with the ancient combined with simplicity and splash really brings out the old school Catholic in me. This place truly "breaths" the Divine. Czech designer's Maxim Velcovsky and Jakub Berdych has redesigned the interior of St. Bartholemew's church in Chodovice in Eastern Bohemia. via Dezeen

Love the use of the Verner Panton chairs with the cross stamped out (rumor is that they voided their Vitra warranty by stamping out the crosses as it might have tampered with the structural integrity of the chair). I believe that this is a Catholic church (maybe Eastern Orthodox?) and it's a little surprising that there are no kneelers, so I assume that the cushions are for both sitting and kneeling on as needed.  The alter at the far end is a mix of modern Eames chairs in front of a high Baroque altar and Tabernacle.

What do you think of the ancient and mod mix?  Sacred or sacrilege?

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks!

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Karena said...

Linda the bath with the stained glasss windows, adore!

Thanks so much for visiting!!
Art by Karena

Jennifer, Decorum said...

I LOVE it, Linda. The mix of old and new is close to my heart and this has been done so divinely. (Sorry about the pun)

Jennifer xx

Heidiopia said...

Really thought-provoking, Linda! I love the mix of old and new in the church-- sort of symbolic of how faith must translate into the present day.
Have you seen the Limelight Marketplace in NYC? 19th century church turned nightclub turned marketplace for unusual little shops and boutiques. Beautiful and fascinating.
Have a lovely day--
Heidi @ Show Some Decor

Petra Voegtle said...

Hi Linda, I think if the transformation is done with dignity there is no sacrilege. A while ago I did a similar post on my blog where I picked up this theme:
Greetings, Petra

Hannah said...

I think a church conversion is better then letting these buildings turn in to ruins, as long as it done with respect. These conversions clearly respect the history of the building. That bathtub looks amazing and taking a bath in there would almost be a transformational experience (comparable to a christening maybe?) Thanks for sharing!

xoxo Hannah

Nancy Goldstein said...

Linda -

Thank you for sharing these. The architects who designed these cathedrals and churches certainly understood how to infuse light into these sacred spaces. I see no sacrilege here. How lucky their new owners are!

Fay said...

love all of them each has a different charm

interesting post thankyou fay xx

Michelle said...

Love that mix of modern and medievil...not sure about living in a church for me...I feel buildings come with energy, and I can't imagine harbouring it. The volume of space...well its amazing isn't it?

You hit it on the head when you talked about our scale vs the building's scale...certainly designed with that intent.

What is it about stained glass that makes my heart skip a beat? So lovely.

Great post Linda,
Best, Michelle

Market Decor said...

Hi Linda- I have been enjoying your blog & magazine! I found you via Skirted Roundtable - you do a great job, so interesting. Anyway, I have always been fascinated with converting churches, schools, etc.. - into living spaces. Loved seeing these pictures - I think the modern chairs work. The open spaces, high ceilings, huge/tall windows (not so sure about the stained glass though) - I think I could live in a space like this - Thanks!

kathi said...

Hi there
I love the chairs in the church........just incredible to have our perceptions changed!

Alejandro said...

brilliant idea!!

visit www.designgallerist.com

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