The original stained-glass windows were restored and a galleried dining room created. Scores of cast iron radiators were found in France and stripped back to reveal ornate moldings. Opulent and minimalist, ecclesiastical and punk – opposites find a comfortable affiliation in this most unusual of homes. “I like the juxtaposition of an 18th-century cabinet with an amazing piece of modern work above it,” says Hinchliffe. “I love being in tune with history.”
A grand piano forms a centerpiece to the room while a wooden headboard depicting a young Victorian lady deshabillé hangs behind a writing table, lending this corner a private, conspiratorial air. He’s just been granted a marriage licence for the building, and recently chanced upon the French tradition of wedding domes – mini collections under a glass cloche, containing souvenirs and mementos.
Mark Hinchcliffe bought the chapel in 2013 after it had fallen into disuse, and spent two years renovating it. The vast church organ had already been dismantled and sold for £6,000 on eBay, finding a new home in a small village in Germany. Hinchliffe removed the pews and upcycled them to construct the kitchen cabinets.
Many elements of the original building remain, including the pulpit and the 40ft-high atrium, now the grandest of living rooms. Fascinated by these little microcosms, he has created his own – which you could see as a metaphor for the chapel itself. “It’s about reinventing the Victorian fascination of discovering the world; the curiosity in random things I’ve collected are all in that vein,” he explains. Now that the renovations are finished, people are starting to notice his flair for interiors, including a wine baron in northern Italy with whom he has an exciting new design project in the pipeline. “It’s only in the last year or two,” he tells me, “that I’ve realized that I am actually good at this.
”The Chapel is open for weddings, events and B&B guests.