Church Conversions

With dwindling attendees, churches have changed their use in recent times from place of worship to residential dwelling.  Church conversions are now so popular they supersede the favourite barn conversion.  In Britain, organisations such as The Church of Scotland have had to sell buildings to deal with this issue of falling numbers.  In England the 47,600 churches operating today some 10% of those will be declared redundant by 2020.  Images such as below are all too common.

(Photography /

Church conversions hold very exciting renovation projects.  Original features such as stain glass windows, iron, timber ceilings and wooden flooring can creating unique detailing.  Churches are being turned into contemporary dwellings retaining original features steeped in history.

Below is a Dutch Chapel that once housed the Friars of Utrecht.  Dutch Architectural firm ZECC Architects converted it into 40 unit apartments.


 (Photography / via


(Photography / via

Church conversions do hit problems even before the renovations can begin.  Purchasers can be unaware of issues such as covenants about visitors rights to graves, little outside space and windows that can’t open.  Many of these buildings have heritage listing and little can be done to transform the exterior.

Recently in New Zealand the Auckland suburb of Devonport, St Paul’s Presbyterian Church was twice listed for sale.  A mere $1.72 million with a land value of $3.3 million could buy you a beautiful old building with views across the harbour to the CBD.  Due to its heritage listing and suggestion it may have been built on top of human remains (the cemetery closed in 1981 and the church was build on the site in 1916) it was opposed by locals and has since been taken off the market until some processes are complete. 

(Photography / Ben Watson)

Churches can be converted into beautiful abodes.  Below are images of a conversion in Kensal Green, London.  This light, airy space with an abundance of original features and interesting and eclectic possessions has made for a perfectly re-created church.

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Below are images of a conversion in Brisbane, Australia.

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I have a personal interest in churches.  I’m not religious but love to photograph and visit churches.  I find them calming and relaxing, a place to reflect, a place to learn a little about the people of the area or country.  Along with botanical gardens, churches are places I like to visit when I travel.  Below are some images of churches around Northland, New Zealand, where I currently live.  Supporting one of
the country’s largest Maori populations, quaint white churches, grand old homesteads, tiny wooden cottages, pa sites (Maori graveyards) are all dotted over the landscape. The area was the scene of early
contact and conflict between the Maori people and European settlers,
who began arriving in the late eighteenth century.

 Ohaeawai, Northland

 Ngawha, Norhtland

 State Highway 1, north of Okaihau, near Puketi Forest, Northland

 Kaeo, Northland

 St James’, Kerikeri, Northland

  St James’, Kerikeri, Northland

  St James’, Kerikeri, Northland

(Photography / Laura Thomas)

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