Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

 

The downside of repurposing a church and renovating it to become a home is that more often than not they still end up feeling like a church. A church having an identity crisis. So it takes not just a brave soul to take on a brief to convert a house of worship into a house with children, but a particularly talented one.

Melbourne based Doherty Design Studio have with design aplomb achieved what is potentially one of the finest restoration and conversions of a four-level converted 1910 church in Hawthorn.

The home’s history and original features meant it came with limitations as to the extent of the renovation work. An apartment forms half of the building and is part of a larger residential complex initially redeveloped some 20 years ago. As with most old buildings the home had already undergone minor alterations at the hands of previous owners.

 

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

 

Doherty Design Studio were charged with creating a modern sophisticated interior with timeless appeal. Integral was good spatial flow, more light and increased storage. The home needed to be more usable and friendly for a family of five.

Works were carried out within the home’s existing small footprint with major structural changes taking place on the upper levels. They kept the existing ground floor configuration for the kitchen, powder room and laundry. These areas were stripped out and given a complete overhaul to provide functional efficient spaces. In the kitchen, it’s all about the detail – the custom joinery, a sophisticated statement of gently curved shapes, brass strip detailing, mirror, marble and tiled finishes.

An outdoor bathing experience was high on the owners’ wish list. The unconventional use of the existing outdoor walled terrace has been transformed into a luxurious retreat. The stone oval bath also plays up to the curved theme throughout the house, while hammered terrazzo paving, soft grey walls and a tiled bench add textural beauty.

 

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

 

On level one, custom joinery in the study features colour blocking using contrasting green and white with leather and brass door handles. Joinery is offset by the sophisticated dark green, wool carpet. A custom white-steel framed pivoting window with a fixed panel at the bottom opens out in front of built-in desk. This detail provides privacy from below, promotes airflow and light as well as offering a visual connection into the void and stained glass windows. The recycled door with arched details was installed for optional privacy.

A replacement wall between the study and the newly created walk-in dressing room exposes the original timber arch within the study space.

In the master bedroom, polished plaster surfaces add a sense of luxe and tradition while a curved ceiling detail was employed to distract from a heavy beam that needed to remain. A custom-designed bed base and contemporary wall lights both echo the curved shapes seen throughout.

 

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

Refurbishment of a 1910 Church by Doherty Design Studio | Yellowtrace

 

On the third floor, the two bedrooms were revamped with new skylights in the pitched roof. The original bathroom located between the rooms was removed and the area recreated to provide each room with identical joinery. The family bathroom has a long streamlined olive green vanity, large expanses of mirror and a full height textured glass wall. Reflective surfaces interact and play with light source from the skylight and void.

A contemporary aged-bronze chandelier, custom designed by Christopher Boots, is a stunning focal point of the interior. They kept the original glass balustrade in the stairwell making modifications to meet the height requirements of building regulations. The transparency of the glass was repeated as frameless glass on the stair landing. White steel mesh, industrial and uber contemporary was used to conceal the glass fixing points.

The finished product delivers a balanced, well-considered approach to creating a new pared-back aesthetic while at the same time being deeply respectful of the home’s heritage. The church, once beautiful in its own stain-glassed right, is now clearly a contemporary home, one that oozes restraint and refinement.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Doherty Design Studio. Photography by Derek Swalwell.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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