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Modern Upcycling: Homes from Converted Churches
Unique Architecture Preserved By Repurposing
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Few buildings have more impressive architecture than churches. Over hundreds of years, our globe has accumulated quite a number of these fixtures, with architecture ranging from Neoclassical and Gothic to Baroque and modern. With over 4000 churches closing their doors every year (including historic ones) in the United States alone, these remarkable buildings are abandoned or sometimes even demolished. But it’s not like we don’t have a use for beautiful buildings with unique architecture.

Enterprising individuals have taken up acquiring these former places of worship and made it their home. While some might call it sacrilege, others would argue it’s preserving the stunning architecture of old. One thing is undeniable, though: these pricey renovations are a sight to behold, inside and out.

This particular home was an old sandstone church in Houghton, Australia that dates back to 1877 and, on its centennial anniversary, was upcycled into a modern home in 1977.

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The living room, with its stark, white decor, reveals little of its old sandstone history. But you can still find history in the details.

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The backroom where pastors would prepare their sermons has been transformed into a stunning kitchen where inhabitants can prepare their salmons.

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The spacious rooms give interior designers the ability to truly let loose, such as making this central nave both a living room and rec room.

Has This Adelaide Church Lost Its Soul?

The unmistakable architectural details of this Adelaide church, such as its striking entrance and arched doorways, are an easy sell for many. Turning an abandoned place of worship into a beautiful place of rest seems like a no-brainer. But not everyone is convinced.

Detractors have called the new decor dull, lacking soul, bad taste and generally clashing with the historic style of the building. But when it comes to opinions, every has got their own. Unlike these one-of-a-kind upcycled homesfound by ‘Desire to Inspire’.

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This drawing room consists of a further backroom to the historic building and even a glass addition. A bright and perfect place to entertain guests.

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What about the musty old church cellar? Transform it into a tasteful, and tasty, wine cave! It’s beginning to look like upcycling an entire home is reserved for only the most affluent.

High Ceilings and Beautiful Minimalist Architecture in Holland

We already know the advantages of simple living and minimalist design, but no one appears to employ it quite like Dutch designers.

In Utrecht, one of the Netherlands’ most central and historic cities, they’ve repurposed a 250m2 old Catholic chapel into a minimalist sustainable home. Rather than eliminating any hint of its religious history, the team of designers decided to retain as much as they could of the building’s former purpose. They even went as far as to restore the age-old pipe-organ that looms impressively in the back of the newly contemporized home.

The small church’s character is preserved and even strengthened. By adding extra ceiling lights, white light rains down the spacious room and the white finish on the walls and floors make the stained glass windows come alive.

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The chapel’s imposing roof height is a stunning element of living in an old church building but makes cleaning an arduous and somewhat impractical task.

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Love it or hate, there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to minimalist design. The positive effects of living in an environment of stark organization is less controversial.

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This Utrecht chapel has been transformed but retains many of its historic elements, such as the massive pipe organ, wooden pews, stained glass windows and even a lonely prayer kneeler.

The back room is now a washroom where residents can enjoy a wash and a bath that is truly divine.

The back room is now a washroom where residents can enjoy a wash and a bath that is truly divine.

Originally published at on December 29, 2015.

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