Decorum Loves: Converted Churches

There are a few things we all have on our list when trying to pin down a dream property – high ceilings, exposed brickwork, large windows. And if you’re a design addict you’ve probably dreamt of a home with architecture which stands out from the crowd. So if you meet all of these criteria, a converted church might be your perfect pad.

Daily D Converted Churches Sanctuary 4

London is filled with thousands of churches, with many of the older buildings falling into disrepair as more traditional forms of worship decline in the city. As a churchgoer myself the repurposing of old church buildings is a subject I’ve considered a number of times, and to me they remain important historical sites – but which are better served providing much-needed accommodation to a growing city with sympathetic refurbishment, rather than demolition, or being left derelict.

Sanctuary 3   Daily D Converted Churches Sanctuary 2

Top of my dream list is the Sanctuary development in St John’s Hill, Battersea. This set of four apartments (and one separate new build house) boats a long list of luxurious fittings like bespoke staircases and chandeliers, Carrera marble showers and even a ‘bean to cup’ coffee machine. But I know what you’re really asking. Two of the flats come with access to the tower/spire, complete with lookout point. Starting from £1.65 million.

Daily D Converted Churches Sanctuary 1

A criticism of living in converted churches is that they don’t feel warm or homely. This is completely challenged by this five-bedroom property in Tufnell Park, covering 2,298 square feet plus a private garden.

Daily D Converted Churches Tufnell Park Daily D Church Conversion Tufnell Park 1

Obviously you pay a price for such distinctive and spacious surroundings. But the value of the finished products is one of the reasons why church conversions are often undertaken with such care and sympathy, and they produce stunning and unique results.

Daily D Converted Churches Knightsbridge

This Knightsbridge property costs £50 million, and has 7 bedrooms, cinema room, an underground swimming pool, spa with treatment room and sauna, a home gym and a custom bronze and glass lift, cased within the stone staircase. Wow.

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With church conversions being undertaken at such an ambitious scale, I’m sure I could get over any idea of spookiness or potential hauntings rather quickly. Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to The Old Church Wimbledon, a.k.a Decorum Media HQ.

Decorum Explores: Greenwich Peninsula

“So, that Greenwich Peninsula, how about that then?”

That’s sort of how the conversation went in my head when I considered writing about the Greenwich Peninsula. I mean come on, it’s London, there’s a new ‘it’ residential development fronted by a prolific face or logo every month now.

Daily Decorum Greenwich peninsula residential However, what actually impressed me was that this is in… Southeast London. Not only that, much like me on the beam aged 17 trying to justify my place on the gymnastics team, it awkwardly straddles zones one and two.

Southeast and outside zone one? Now I’m interested.

Daily Decorum Greenwich peninsula render Intrigue suitably provoked, I set about researching this beacon of hope for the grubby docklands that play home to the O2 and many other corporate branded warehouses of joy.

Daily Decorum Greenwich peninsual park The Greenwich peninsula won’t be finished for probably another 25 years, but what has been happening so far is quite good. Headed up by developers Knight Frank, what the area actually is, is a whole knew district of London built from scratch. Ambitious really.

Daily Decorum Greenwich peninsula tom dixon Despite much of the area being unfinished, there is a startlingly exclusive residential project well underway. No.2 at Upper Riverside is designed by SOM architects and Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio. Comprised of only 35 limited edition homes, the apartments are on sale now.

Complementing the introduction of the London Design Festival’s first ever south of the river design district, the festival announced that London-based artist Alex Chineck will complete a latticed-steel replica of an electricity pylon, upside-down.

Daily Decorum Greenwich peninsula ldf Referencing the industrial landscape of gas and oil works of the Greenwich Peninsula, this installation is called ‘A Bullet From A Shooting Star’.

Daily Decorum Greenwich Peninsula map I have to say, I like the look of the new peninsula (their website is particularly persuasive), the renders are ok and the promise of community, entertainment and transport does appeal.

I simply can’t help but wonder at what point their ‘affordable’ residences will actually be affordable to me. Maybe by the time it’s finished in twenty-odd years I’ll be able to put down a deposit.

Take It or Leave It: Parquet Furniture

We’ve been under the spell of mid-century modern interiors for a while now, and as we push towards the 1970s I’ve noticed a rather stripy micro-trend emerging. Furniture designers have taken a step away from plain, walnut sideboards to produce high-contrast parquet versions.

Perhaps a forerunner to the current hexagon trend which we’re experiencing, Lee Broom’s Parquetry Coffee Table combines different woods with colour elements and a sleek finish:


An object of great beauty, but the size and practicality of this coffee table makes it reserved for only the most spacious homes or hotels.

Parquetry is hundreds of years old, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the craft has become the reserve of antiques fairs. But carpenters are keeping the tradition alive, and a perfect example is this bespoke, handmade cabinetry from Christopher Berry of Factory Twenty OneFactory21


Christopher explained his making process, saying: ‘The build process starts with pattern sketches, which the client picks from. From this the working technical drawings are drawn up and work starts on the doors, next the cabinet is built and then the doors are trimmed down for a clean fit. Once this has been achieved the doors and cabinet are varnished and oiled, and handles and feet are fitted to complete another unique piece of furniture that can be admired well into the future.’

Factory21 You can read his full interview with Such & Such here.

Finally, Barker & Stonehouse take rustic parquetry to the extreme with their Little Tree range, each piece being unique due to the inclusion of reclaimed hardwood from fishing vessels, some pieces being up to 150 years old. Call me a traditionalist, but this ventures slightly too close to shabby chic for my tastes. But given some exotic and bold styling, I am sure it can look great.

MaryRose LittleTree1

Mary Rose

Whether you prefer the upcycled look or stick firmly to the sleek, refined versions, parquetry is still alive and well in the interiors world, and these striking colour contrasts make for furniture with great personality.

Interiors Inspiration: MKV Design

Since its launch in 1999, MKV Design has carried out an impressive roll call of interiors projects around the world, from leading hotel groups to one-off residential properties. It recently launched a stylish new website, and it’s immediately evident that the focus of the company’s new identity is the wealth of design and project-management experience of its team, which is based in London and also Lucerne, Switzerland.

We love the way the MKV company ethos is declared so clearly and proudly on the website. With statements such as ‘we are uncompromising the standards we set ourselves’ and ‘we collaborate with our clients and with each other to arrive at a unique and tailored solution’, you really get the impression that this is a design team that’s prepared to go the extra mile in making sure that every project is a true reflection of the needs and expectations of the individual client.

B&B Club restaurant, Intourist hotel, Baku

The lobby of the Intourist hotel, Baku

The design of the new Intourist hotel in Baku alludes to the 20th century heyday of its predecessor, while still allowing it a narrative that is clearly its own

It’s clear from MKV’s impressive and varied international client list that its team is adept at responding to a wide range of design briefs. Projects featured on the website include boutique hotels such as the glamorous, contemporary Intourist hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan; the renovation of the iconic Metropol Palace hotel in Belgrade, Serbia; the nature-inspired Alpine Spa in Bürgenstock, Switzerland (currently in progress); and private residences in countries as diverse as Greece and India.

Metropol Palace hotel, Belgrade The interiors of the Metropol Palace hotel in Belgrade take their cue from the building’s modernist architecture

Alpine Spa, Bürgenstock, Switzerland

Alpine Spa, Bürgenstock, Switzerland

In the contemporary, luxury Alpine Spa in Bürgenstock, natural local materials and hand-crafted furniture link the contemporary architectural style of the new building with the magnificence of the natural terrain

Another of their latest projects is the Grand Hyatt Hotel & Residences in Abu Dhabi, due to open in late 2015. The bold, modern interiors are inspired by the sea, sand and pearl heritage of Abu Dhabi – a ‘design story’ that captures the essence of the place and reflects the intelligent, sensitive approach that MKV takes to its work.

To find out more about the MKV team and its international design projects, get in touch with them here.



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