From the outside, this building could look like an old church, but on the inside, there is a whole other world. This home created by Zecc Architecten, a company in the Netherlands, consists of two older churches put together to create one incredible home. The designers repurposed the two abandoned churches that were in Utrecht, Netherlands into homes with incredibly stylish interiors. It turns out that there are hundreds of empty churches all over the Netherlands with more than 1000 of them being demolished. So a creative way to preserve the history of the city while extending more housing was to convert the churches into homes. The churches are being torn down because fewer people are attending services in them and a program was initiated to keep the buildings around as long as they could be used for some purpose and have as few architectural changes as possible.
Some of the churches have been used as showrooms for furniture and other items as well as venues for smaller concerts. Alterations had already been made to the large mezzanine floor, but this had to be modified even more to allow the space to feel more like a home. They created bedrooms, a study and bathrooms. Indirect light also seeps through the floorboards in the mezzanine which allows the lower level to have more natural light. They created some built-in shelving in the mezzanine level as well to allow the space to function well and to keep everything clean and minimal. The surprise in the design is that instead of following the design and style of the time period that the church was originally built, they ended up using a far more contemporary interior design and style. They painted all of the walls and ceiling white and created a light floor in the mezzanine area. Then on the main floor, they went with dark wood flooring which helps to keep the space warm and cozy looking. In the back is the kitchen with a long counter top and a built-in cooktop. They used old church pews as a dining table near the kitchen and then there is a more formal dining area in the front of the church where the sermon would normally be given.
Zecc Architects did the least amount of modifications they could and kept the wood floors and doors as well as the stained glass windows which are works of art on their own. They also kept some of the crosses that were carved into the church walls and all of the beautiful arches and columns. The renovations took about three years to complete from 2007 to 2009, and they did such a great job of converting the 5,112 square foot church into a livable space that the new residents can enjoy for years to come. This is a great idea for other cities around the world to implement or consider implementing into their city planning and housing plans. Instead of tearing down these beautiful buildings, they can be used for another purpose. So the history of the city can remain while the building gets a modern update and people can have different housing options. Zecc Architects has also converted a water tower, a library, a rail house and a factory to be used in other ways than they were originally intended. They have also taken old homes and restored them to include features of the old home while upgrading the energy features of the home, so it's more efficient. It's great to see old buildings being repurposed in this way so we can keep some of our history alive as time goes on.
More about this story can be found at: Zecc Architecten