Residential conversions: Living in God’s Pad
How would you fancy living in an old disused barn? Or even an abandoned church for that matter? Given that we remove the live stock, mend the roof and chase away all the scary spooks and Vicars......and possibly do one or two other home improvements. It seems that living in a home, that, was once a building that wasn’t a home is becoming a more and more appealing idea to many people. As long as planning permission is obtained, and that the chosen building can meet with current regulations for inhabitation, there is a large variety of disused abandoned buildings that can be given a new lease of life as some ones place of residence. This includes Churches, Chapels, Barns, Factories, Water Towers and for odd one or two, Castle Ruins.
It may be that some are keen to escape the flimsy built, carbon copy houses that appear to have bred and sprawled their way across suburbia. Complete with creaking floors and “might as well not be there” paper thin walls. New places like this don’t come with a history, with a story of what they once were and what life was about in an age gone by. They lack the architectural features and craftsmanship found in older constructions and as a result are missing atmosphere, romance and nostalgia. Carrying out a conversion takes time, money and a deep set dedication and belief in the project, it will be your home, your design suited to your needs, and the more hands on you are, the more blood sweat and tears are required.
The previous uses of disused factories, such as a Violin Factory which was recently featured on a Television programme, can influence the design concept. In this project the use of Walnut panelling and Walnut veneered walls was used as reference to the material Violins are constructed from. This not only gave the design some depth by using a quality material, but also a subtle nod to the buildings former life.
Old building conversions often work best with contemporary interiors, but it’s important to keep a clear distinction from what’s new and what isn’t. Contrasting existing materials such as stone and slate, with modern ones like metal and glass means that visually it works together, but they can be appreciated separately.