Home Is Where the Chapel Is
January 4, 2012
The concept of adaptive reuse in architecture tends to conjure images of colorful, stacked shipping containers or airplane parts rearranged in ways that smugly expose their recycled origins. As impressive as these structures sometimes are, many such projects ride the sustainability wave a little too hard, and once the novelty of “waste not” ethics wears off, we are left with somewhat lackluster spaces that are easily disposed of in terms of their appeal (like the stash of “environmentally friendly” shopping tote bags that never quite make it out of the house).
This is not to say that a penchant for reclaimed materials leads to monotonous architecture. In the historic town of Faversham, England, artist and craftsman Nick Kenny has created his very own ‘Tin Chapel’ that is first and foremost a truly unique home and second a resourceful renovation project. More after the jump.
Two years ago, Kenny came across the deconsecrated chapel that was later to become his home. According to Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, the rundown husk of a church had been used as a scout hut and was later occupied by a joinery, which had left the space filled with old lumber and machinery. But the man had a vision for this former house of God, and undeterred by the clutter, Kenny began forging his home out of the abandoned scrap pile, spending the first 18 months “with only cold running water, a kettle, and a single electric frying pan to cook on.” He began collecting salvaged and reclaimed objects to furnish his home, refurbishing the space almost entirely with recycled materials.
The result of his efforts is truly a living work of art, a space that Kenny says “will always be a work in progress.” Within the gabled shell of forest green corrugated steel, one might even forget the religious program that shaped the footprint of the space. Natural light pours in through windows framed by dusty blue pointed arches, and with a few carefully placed partitions, the circulation of the church converts seamlessly into two open, airy rooms.
The Tin Chapel includes a workshop, a kitchen, living and dining rooms, and a cozy bathroom (with a shower fashioned out of old boiler parts no less), while a thin spiral staircase leads up to a welcoming wood-paneled bedroom lit by the chapel rosary window. Each space holds a thoughtfully curated selection of mismatched furniture, reclaimed materials, old signage, and other antique relics that have endless stories to tell. Victorian Gothic has never looked so homey.
[All images via Homebuilding & Renovating]