Quantcast

Interiorssneak peeks

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario

by Garrett Fleming

An 1880s-era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge

Back in early 2018, art teacher Colin and his partner Matt, a banker, were nesting. They had finished renovating their Toronto loft and were thrilled to be sitting back, enjoying the fruits of their hard work. The second the pair laid eyes on this converted church in Ontario’s Warkworth area, however, everything changed: “When we saw the pictures we fell in love immediately and put in an offer the day we visited the property.”

The converted church hit the market following the previous owner’s death and, as Colin and Matt soon learned, had an interesting history. It was built in 1887 in the Gothic Revival style, complete with a collection of stained glass windows that would cast a rainbow of light onto its Anglican parishioners. For nearly 60 years it welcomed believers, until it was closed in the late 1950s. It then sat vacant for almost 15 years before being converted into a private residence.

Before they could truly begin adding their own chapter to the structure’s story, Colin and Matt had to update the basics and make the vacation house better fit their needs. For six months the couple went back and forth between their main home and Warkworth overseeing the installation of new plumbing, a new roof and the addition of a bedroom and bathroom. The additions were particularly important: only by expanding the overall footprint of the house could the pair host all of their friends when the weather was nice.

Once construction was complete, Colin and Matt then decorated using three key elements they knew would instantly modernize the 130-year-old building: bold wallpaper, a millennial pink front door and a matching pink bathroom. “Our goal in decorating was to keep all the magic and charm that the house had on our first visit but update it with our own touches,” the two explain. The aforementioned wallpaper can be found in two of the home’s bedrooms. In the lofted suite, a moody tree line further amplifies the sense of being above it all. While in the guest room, an astrological narrative plays out across the walls.

It’s been a year and a half since Colin and Matt took over the property, and still, barely a weekend goes by that the two aren’t driving the hour and a half to Warkworth. Nowadays, though, it’s not to meet with the contractor or review plans. It’s to relax. As the church’s pink front doors come into sight, their cares (and those of whichever lucky friends have tagged along) seem to melt away. Garrett

Photography by Laurel Munro

Image above: “We wanted to keep the warm space/spirit of the previous owner and decided to keep everything we found in the church for the time being. (The gilded accents) are a little over the top – even for us – but we couldn’t bear to part with them and now this room is designed around them!” Colin and Matt tell us.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
1/26

The Anglican church was completed in 1887 and operated as such until 1957 when it was closed. It then sat empty for the next 13 years until it was purchased and converted to a residential space. Colin and Matt are the building’s third owners.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
2/26

Matt wasn’t totally on board with the pink front door at first, but he’s fallen in love with it over time. Proof that being unafraid to make bold design choices can pay off.

 

The fact that the building was never intended to be lived in means that we are free from any rules when it comes to design choices.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
3/26

“This is the smallest room in the house and probably [underwent] the biggest transformation. It was a dark and dusty closet off the living room. We replaced the old doors, painted the brick and refinished the floors so it is now a light-and-bright entryway.” – Colin and Matt

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
4/26

Matt (left) and Colin (right) previously renovated their loft in Toronto, so they “understood the stress and decision making that comes with a large project.”

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
5/26

Colin and Matt had the staircase moved to give the home a better flow. They then wrapped it in wainscoting that was original to the living room so it would blend into the space.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
6/26

The piano was left by the previous owner. Neither of the men play, but they “like the idea of having one” so they’ve kept it and dotted it with accessories.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
7/26

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

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
8/26

The stained glass windows block out a lot of natural light during certain times of day. Without these large chandeliers, the kitchen wouldn’t be totally functional until early afternoon.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
9/26

The two purchased the vacation home a year and a half ago. “Since then we have guests almost every weekend and we hope to create new memories for years to come,” the couple tells us.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
10/26

To help the structure’s newest addition – which includes this  guest room – match the form of the rest of the home, Colin and Matt attached beadboard to the ceiling.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
11/26

“The bedroom addition needed something special to make it as exciting as the rest of the house, [so] we picked this wallpaper: ‘Cosmos’ by House of Hackney.” – Colin and Matt

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
12/26

A closeup of the House of Hackney wallpaper.

 

Don’t be afraid to make bold choices around the house.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
13/26

In the guest bathroom, new tile, fresh paint and fixtures intermingle with a tub salvaged from another part of the house.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
14/26

Benjamin Moore “Paris Romance” covers the guest bathroom walls.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
15/26

This guest room is lofted, and its Cole & Son wallpaper further amplifies its treetop vibe.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
16/26

Situated at the top of the old church, the room overlooks the sitting room below.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
17/26

Colin and Matt both love the look of painted wood ceilings, but they could only bring themselves to paint one ceiling: their bedroom’s.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
18/26

Further enlivening the room is a collection of artworks both old and new. “The large map (hanging above the bed) belonged to one of Matt’s ancestor(s): a Dutch explorer who used it on his expedition around the world in the 1800s.”

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
19/26

Some of the church’s original windows peek out from behind the couple’s bedroom curtains. This room overlooks the kitchen.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
20/26

Colin and Matt tell us the process of decorating their home taught them that they make a pretty good team. In order to keep their various projects on track, the pair divvied up assignments: Colin spearheaded design decisions while Matt focused on “the gardens and more technical parts of the house.”

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
21/26

The couple had these shelves built to cover up the fireplace’s duct work. Then they had to fill them. Luckily, they came across this set of vintage National Geographic magazines at a local community sale.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
22/26

The entrance to the enclosed porch.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
23/26

The porch recently got a fresh coat of paint and is now the couple’s favorite place to hang.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
24/26

The porch’s furniture all came with the home.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
25/26

The first floor layout.

An 1880s-Era Church Turned Vacation Home in Ontario, Design*Sponge
26/26

The second floor layout.

SOURCE LIST

Contractor
Kawartha Lakes Construction

Exterior and Outdoor Spaces
Pink front door – 1925 Workbench

Entryway
Gold chair – cb2

Kitchen
Island – Smash Salvage
Paint – Benjamin Moore “Black Satin”

Dining Room
Abstract art – Andrea Bolley

Guest Bedoom
Wallpaper – House of Hackney “Cosmos”

Colin and Matt’s Bedroom
Paint – Benjamin Moore “Chrome Green”

Lofted Bedroom
Wallpaper – Cole & Son “Forest”

Guest Bathroom
Paint – Benjamin Moore “Paris Romance”

Suggested For You

Comments

  • What a DREAM home. They did such a good job, I am in awe of a lot of the choices they made and how well they work with the home. I am bookmarking this home. You saved one of the best for last if you ask me! They made decisions that I would have never thought of, very very inspirational! I am a bit said that no pictures of the garden are included.

  • Those floorplans are confusing. There’s no kitchen downstairs and there’s three bedrooms shown, but only two in the floorplan. Am I missing something?

    • Britta

      I’ll check on this. I believe the kitchen shown is downstairs, as part of the main living space drawn on the first floor plan.

      Grace

      • I think the kitchen is actually in the space labeled porch. The 2nd guest room is in the space labeled second living area ” overlooks the living (should say sitting) room below”

        • Hi Everyone!

          I updated the floor plan and a couple of the captions so it’s a bit easier to follow the flow of the home.

          I’m so happy everyone is enjoying the sneak peek!

          – Garrett

  • Have never been so inspired by a whole home as I am with the work featured here. It oozes creativity, originality and is welcoming. Just stunning.