UK architect Alexander Nikjoo has breathed new life into a Victorian chapel by transforming it into a contemporary home and studio for an artist. Located in Deptford in South London, the renovation has streamlined the look of the former chapel with a fresh coat of paint and a minimalist material palette. The interior was refreshed to feel bright and airy with plenty of natural light.
Although the old chapel was already being used as a studio space by the time Nikjoo was approached for the project, it was dark and uninviting. In transforming the building, the architect kept the layout and several architectural features intact, such as the exposed roof trusses. “The building was stripped back to its original form revealing features and details that had been covered through years of piecemeal extensions and additions,” Nikjoo said. “Restored using a palette of rich yet simple materials, the new interventions interweave with the existing fabric of the building.”
In contrast to the black exterior, the interior is filled with light-colored materials — including oak, birch plywood, oiled pine, stone and polished concrete floors — that help create a welcoming atmosphere. Skylights and windows bring in copious amounts of natural light, while the tall ceiling brings the view upward toward the new mezzanine built with birch plywood railings.
The former nave now houses the open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen that are positioned linearly from the entrance. The stairs to the mezzanine level, which opens up to a flat roof terrace, are located behind the kitchen. The master suite and two guest bedrooms with a shared bathroom are tucked away in the rear of the home where the vestry once was. Storage is discreetly hidden away behind wooden doors to maintain the minimalist aesthetic.
Images by Nikjoo