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An old church with a new lease of life

Colin Fraser Wishart from freespace\ to talk us through one of his projects in Pittenweem; a conversion and renovation of an old church to a modern and adaptable family home.

Photos Catherine Markie


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An old church with a new lease of life - freespace\

Old church house | Pittenweem | Fife

This project comprises the interior conversion and renovation of a redundant Baptist Church initially to form a single private dwelling for London-based international photographer David Graham and his family. The conversion contract was completed to coincide with the Pittenweem Arts Festival in August 2009, since when it has become much-admired as a home-gallery and studio. Constructed in 1904 and Category “C” Listed, the church was acquired to serve as a second home, with the primary requirement being the provision of disabled access to an exemplary standard throughout.

A key element of re-planning the interior was the strategic inclusion of an internal platform-lift, large enough to take a massive electric wheelchair, which affords barrier-free access to three Bedrooms on the lower level, each of which opens onto a landscaped garden terrace. At main entrance level the Living / Studio / Gallery space features open mezzanine decks at each end, these are also served by the lift and connected by a glazed walkway within the upper volume of this stunning space, which enjoys unrivalled views over the Forth Estuary and Pittenweem Harbour, opening out wholly new perspectives over this ancient and characterful fishing village.

Externally, the property, which changed-hands earlier this year, has been fully re-slated and the new proprietor, (Fife-born, London-based corporate lawyer Ronald Graham,) intends to expose and carefully restore the original natural stone construction. A rambling and neglected walled garden has been imaginatively landscaped and replanted by local landscape architect and contractor Finer Garden Design of Anstruther. Interior Design Consultant was Catherine Markie B.Des.(Hons) with whom I worked closely from inception to completion.

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