Church Never Looked Like This Before: Westbourne Grove by DOS Architects

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What originated as a Baptist chapel in 1853 now has new life, thanks to London-based DOS Architects. In 2008, the top two floors of the Westbourne Grove Church, in Notting Hill, became what you see here, a 4,300 square-foot loft-like residence brightened in vivid colors. The architects explain: “The new apartment is a marriage of old and new which brings together state-of-the-art technology, beautiful finishes, and architectural details. Traditional elements have been retained, such as the church’s original arched windows and modern features incorporated to highlight the Gothic elements of the building.” And finally, besides abundant natural light bouncing off pristine white interiors, the residents also wanted “almost full transparency.”

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Thus, you see a cantilevered glass staircase connecting the two floors — stairs that seem to literally float in the air — as well as glass walls surrounding the master bath. For some of us, that would be a little bit too much transparency; here, the more “public” areas of the bath are clearly visible. Note the elegant use of blue: pillows on the bed give you the first note of it, while the second comes around the deep white soaking tub, where blue patterned “shutters” trim high, narrow arched windows. A tub with a view? That’s only one of the fun parts of living in a former church; clever storage tucked away in built-ins, plus the soaring ceilings, focus the eyes upward. It’s a truly “heavenly” combination, this juxtaposition of vintage exterior and quirky, cheerful interior — a place of light and dazzling hue in the heart of the city.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).

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