A historic 19th century church with soaring ceilings, stained glass windows and all of the design details you would expect in such a structure is now available for short-term rentals in Utrecht, Netherlands. Built in 1870, the church was converted into a spacious residence, its interior painted white for a bright and open effect. The addition of modular floors and stairways adds more living space without compromising the building’s original layout.
St. Jakobus closed its doors as a place of worship in 1991. It was one of hundreds of churches in The Netherlands that have been phased out as church membership declines, going through various stages of alternative usage, including a period as a small concert hall and showroom for antique furniture.
Zecc Architects purchased it and transformed it into a spectacular residence, preserving its historic facade and the arches of its vaulted ceiling. They partially removed a mezzanine floor that was installed for concerts to recapture the church’s sense of space and enable daylight to flood the interior.
The bedrooms, a study room and a bathroom are enclosed within the modern modular insert, which is detached from the church structure and could be removed if the building goes through yet another transformation. The former parapet area is now a large dining space, with two of the church’s original pews used as seating.
Located in the central city close to major attractions, the church accommodations are available to rent via Wimdu.
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“The old Catholic St.-Jakobus Church is transformed into a spacious house. The church stands inconspicuously in a street facade at the Bemuurde Weerd in Utrecht city. Since 1991 there were no longer divine services in the church and until 2007 the church was used as a showroom for antique furniture. Also, the church was let out as meeting-place or used for small concerts. For these functions, in the ‘90 there a large mezzanine floor was added. This floor was an important factor in the design process. The mezzanine floor has been substantially modified to recover and enlarge de spatial qualities in the church. More private spaces (bedrooms, a study room and a bathroom) are on the ground floor.”
“The exceptional quality of this project is that the church has been transformed into one dwelling. With this new situation, eventually, it is imaginable that the church can be converted for public purposes such as a library, bookstore, museum or even a church again! The original church construction is hardly modified. The existing wooden floor, stained glass windows and old doors are maintained and repaired where necessary. The new white floor sculpture is kept free from the church walls, columns and arches. The sleek stucco volume is constructed from steel, wood & sheet material. Glass surfaces in the volume constantly offer another insight of fragments in the church. Moreover, they reflect historical elements, which creates a fusion of old and new.”