British buyers in particular want to tick three boxes when they go house-hunting; location, space and character. Church conversions offer all three.
They’re often in the centre of town, where they would have been convenient for parishioners; have high ceilings and a generous footprint; and are often packed with historical details and period features. Here are some of the most eye-catching on the market right now.
The Chapel, Mill Hill
Rather than covering up its past, this converted church in north London goes out of its way to celebrate it. Standing at the centrepiece of St Joseph’s Gate, a major restoration project of a former college, ths chapel has been expertly restored by major housebuilder Berkeley Homes. Seven acres of the grounds now house luxury apartments, but in prime position on top of a hill sits The Chapel, where it has stood sentry on the fringes of Mill Hill Village for over 150 years.
Craftsman and joinery experts were brought in to turn it into a four bedroom home spanning over 8,000sqft. Its Grade II heritage listing has ensured the survival of the original red brick facade, which echoes the exposed brickwork inside the traditional glass orangery that still features in the layout. The main entertaining spaces lie where the alter and choir stalls would have been, surrounded by imposing granite pillars. The room is flooded with natural light pouring in through 15 windows within The Chapel’s rotunda, including the original stained glass windows.
Modern must-haves include a cinema, sauna and steam room and gym as well as two underground car parking spaces. But no amount of contemporary luxury that can overshadow the sheer amount of space on offer. Occupying an entire wing, with 45ft ceilings, it’s unlikely you’ll need to upsize any time soon.
Call the Information Centre on 01753202187 or pay it a visit from 10am to 5pm, NW7 4JZ
Crescent Road, Beckenham
Parked on the borders of Kent in south east London, this brick church, with its impressive spire and tall glass windows, looks like your average house of worship on the outside. In fact, it’s divided into several units, each one packed with historical and architectural gems.
In a two bedroom apartment on the top floor, curved mahogany beams frame a view of the top of the main glass window (pictured above). Full of quirks, it’s a split-level property that spans the second and third floor.
Fans of Stranger Things may be intrigued to know it’s a classic example of “upside down living”, with the open-plan entertaining quarters on the upper floor, while the sleeping quarters are on the lower floor.
Much of the second floor is given over to a sizeable master bedroom ensuite with its own dressing area, and in total, it spans over 1,300sqft – far above the average two-bed new build – with private lift access.
Email Foxtons Beckenham at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8613 6262
The Old Chapel, South Downs
If living in a church is less about maximising space in the urban sprawl and more about living a quintessential existence with an English country garden, then this property is for you.
As the name suggests, this is a converted chapel dating back to 1909. It was originally turned into a home in the 1980s, but its current owner has recently refurbished it. It now has three living rooms and a range cooker, although many original features remain. Solid oak flooring runs throughout the three bedrooms, the master has a large stained glass window, and there’s a log burner to keep things snug. The study sits under a pitched roof, while the enclosed garden has a decked area from which to enjoy views over the paddock and Itchen riverside, set within a conservation area that’s within the South Downs National Park.
Call Strutt & Parker Winchester on 01962 869 999
Yorkton Street, Hackney
This former church is on the market with an “abundance of character”, according to its selling agent Hamptons International. In a quiet side street off Hackney Road, it’s definitely the hipster’s church conversion, close to Hoxton on the London Overground.
It’s set in a rare neo-gothic building that has a Grade II heritage listing, situated within is a two bedroom, two bathroom maisonette across 1,812sqft – a generous size for the area. Period detail fans will have plenty to cherish, with the current owners having spent time restoring original features. An ornate wooden staircase leads down to a cellar, which is currently housing the washer-dryer, but could be a much more glamorous wine cellar. The original wooden flooring has been kept, along with fireplaces, gothic arches, exceptional ceiling heights and gold leaf cornicing, while the period windows have not only been preserved, but also double-glazed.
Call Hamptons International’s City office on 020 3369 4371
The Old Rectory, The City
Situated on Ironmonger Lane, this five storey property is a couple of streets away from the Bank of England. Built circa, 1890, it used to be offices until it was converted back to four-bedroom home by the current owners, who refurbished it from top to bottom in 2012.
They extended the basement to create more living space and the lower-ground floor now houses a kitchen/breakfast room and a lounge that would make a great den or cinema. If that sounds a little claustrophobic, the third floor leads to a balcony and there’s a sixth floor terrace with rooftop views.
A grand hallway introduces guests on the ground floor and has high ceilings, tiled flooring, a library, a marble fireplace and a sweeping staircase that winds through the house (there’s also a lift to every level, in case of Trump-esque bathmophobia).
Call Savills Shoreditch on 0207 578 6200