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A church from the 1880s that turned into a vacation home in Ontario – Design * Sponge Design



A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


In early 2018, art teacher Colin and his partner Matt, a banker, brooded. They had finished renovating their Toronto loft and were thrilled to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their hard work. However, the second the couple looked at the converted church in Warkworth, Ontario, everything changed: "When we saw the pictures, we immediately fell in love and made an offer the day we visited the property."

The converted church came on the market after the previous owner's death and, as Colin and Matt soon learned, had an interesting history. It was built in neo-Gothic style in 1887 and contains a collection of stained glass windows that throw a rainbow of light on Anglican parishioners. Believers were welcomed for almost 60 years until it closed in the late 1950s. It then stood empty for almost 15 years before it was converted into a private residence.

Before they could really start adding a chapter of their own to the history of the structure, Colin and Matt had to update the basics and better adapt the vacation home to their needs. For six months, the couple commuted between their main residence and Warkworth, overseeing the installation of new sanitary facilities, a new roof, and the addition of a bedroom and bathroom. The additions were particularly important: only when the footprint of the house was enlarged could the couple accommodate all of their friends in fine weather.

Once construction was complete, Colin and Matt decorated the 130-year-old building with three key elements that they knew would immediately be modernized: bold wallpaper, a thousand-year-old pink front door, and a matching pink bathroom. "Our goal in decorating was to maintain the magic and charm the house had when we first visited it, but to update it with our own fingertips," the two explain. The wallpaper above is in two bedrooms of the house. A moody row of trees in the loft suite reinforces the feeling of being above everything. In the guest room, an astrological narrative takes place on the walls.

It's been a year and a half since Colin and Matt took over the property, and yet the two hardly pass a weekend Not Drive the hour and a half to Warkworth. However, today it is not appropriate to meet with the contractor or review plans. It is to relax. When the church's pink front doors come into view, her worries (and those of the happy friends who accompanied her) seem to go away. Garrett

Photo of Laurel Munro

Image above: “We wanted to keep the warm space / spirit of the previous owner and decided to keep everything we found temporarily in the church. (The gilded accents) are a little over the top – for us too – but we couldn't stand to part with them, and now this space is designed around them! "Tell Colin and Matt.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The Anglican Church was completed in 1887 and operated as such until its closure in 1957. It stood empty for the next 13 years until it was bought and converted into a living space. Colin and Matt are the third owners of the building.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Matt wasn't quite on board the pink front door at first, but he fell in love with it over time. Proof that if you're not afraid to make bold design decisions, it can pay off.

The fact that the building was never intended for living means that we are free from rules when it comes to the design.


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“This is the smallest room in the house and has probably undergone the biggest change. It was a dark and dusty closet next to the living room. We replaced the old doors, painted the brick and refinished the floors so that a bright and light entrance is now created. "- Colin and Matt


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Matt (left) and Colin (right) previously renovated their loft in Toronto to "understand the stress and decision-making that comes with a large project".


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Colin and Matt moved the stairs to make the house flow better. Then they wrapped it in an original paneling so that it blended into the room.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The piano was left by the previous owner. None of the men play, but they "like the idea of ​​having one," so they kept it and littered it with accessories.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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"What we love most about our home is … being able to share it with friends and family." – Colin and Matt


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The stained glass windows let in plenty of daylight at certain times of the day. Without these large chandeliers, the kitchen would only be fully functional in the early afternoon.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The two bought the holiday home a year and a half ago. "We have had guests almost every weekend since then and hope that we can create new memories in the coming years," says the couple.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Colin and Matt have attached a beadboard to the ceiling so that the newest element of the structure – which also includes this guest room – matches the shape of the rest of the house.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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"The bedroom insert needed something special to make it as exciting as the rest of the house. That's why we chose this wallpaper:" Cosmos "by House of Hackney." – Colin and Matt


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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A close up of the house of Hackney wallpaper.

Don't be afraid to make bold decisions in the house.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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In the guest bathroom, new tiles, fresh colors and fittings mix with a tub that was recovered from another part of the house.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Benjamin Moore's "Paris Romance" covers the walls of the guest bathroom.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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This guest room is in a loft and the Cole & Son wallpaper enhances the atmosphere on the treetops.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The room is upstairs in the old church and has a view of the living room below.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Colin and Matt both love the look of painted wooden ceilings, but all they could do was paint a ceiling: that of their bedroom.


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A collection of old and new works of art additionally enlivens the room. "The large map (hanging over the bed) belonged to one of Matt's ancestors: a Dutch explorer who used it on his expedition around the world in the 19th century."


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Some of the church's original windows protrude behind the curtains in the couple's bedroom. This room offers a view of the kitchen.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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Colin and Matt told us that by decorating their home they learned to build a pretty good team. To keep their various projects up to date, the two tasks were divided: Colin led the design decisions, while Matt focused on "the gardens and more technical parts of the house".


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The couple had these shelves built to cover the chimney duct. Then they had to fill it up. Fortunately, you came across this vintage National Geographic Magazines at a community sale.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The entrance to the closed porch.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The porch was recently painted and is now the couple's favorite place to hang.


A church from the 1880s in Ontario, design * Sponge


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The porch furniture was all brought home.


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SOURCES

contractor
Kawartha Lakes construction

Outside and outside spaces
Pink front door – workbench from 1925

entrance area
Gold chair – cb2

kitchen
Shattered island salvage
Color – Benjamin Moore "Black Satin"

dining room
Abstract art – Andrea Bolley

Guest room
Background – House of Hackney “Cosmos”

Colin and Matt's bedroom
Color – Benjamin Moore "Chrome Green"

Loft bedroom
Background – Cole & Son “Forest”

Guest bathroom
Color – Benjamin Moore "Paris Romance"

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