Inside Spicer Hall: a unique church conversion in Chingford
PUBLISHED: 06:58 20 April 2020
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Here’s something to lift the spirits: a unique church conversion in Chingford that has won many awards for its stunning interiors
It has been a labour of love which owner and interior designer Gianna Camilotti describes as “the best achievement of my life”. And she readily admits that it will be hard to say goodbye to the former James Spicer Memorial Church Hall School in Chingford, which has been her home for the past seven years.
Gianna purchased the Grade II listed property in 2013 after it was converted by a local building firm – immediately falling in love with its high ceilings, original stained glass windows, oak doors and beams. An empty shell, she was able to let her imagination run wild and set about creating a modern, luxury home with cutting-edge interior design that has since graced the front pages of many books, magazines and newspapers.
The award-winning property – which is now up for sale with Savills Loughton – originally dates from the late 19th century and still retains many of its stunning historic features. Gianna, who has double citizenship and lived in both Brazil and Italy, says: “I’d been looking for a house of my own for months – and with Spicer Hall it was love at first sight. The church had been beautifully restored but was an empty shell - it was just the floor, walls, a tall ceiling and nothing else. There was so much potential to create something amazing and I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.
“Due to its high ceilings and ample open-plan living area there are many items I had to create especially for the space – a very large L-shaped sofa and an extra-long dining table for example, as well as bedrooms with walk-in wardrobes and dressing areas, mirrors and lots of concealed lighting and spotlights. It was a wonderful challenge and an extremely pleasant experience.”
Despite the modern makeover the building’s historic charm is paramount and the original foundation stone is still in place, declaring that is was a Mrs Spicer who officiated on behalf of her late husband in January 1890. And Gianna’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, with the home picking up several accolades, including the Design et al International Design & Architecture Award 2014, A’Design Award 2015, A’Design Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award and a ‘Gold’ London 2014 Design Award. It was also shortlisted for the SBID International Design Award 2014.
“It has been a fantastic house to live in and I wish whoever takes it on the very best,” Gianna says. “My favourite space I think is the main living room. The reaction when people see it is wonderful. They can’t believe it. Every single person says how amazing it is and that they have never seen anything like it before.
“I wanted a house that was open to friends, to enjoy cosy dinners and cocktail parties that had an atmosphere of London piano-bars and I think I achieved it. I’ve certainly thrown some memorable Christmas parties. It’s a wonderful house and I have loved living here. I am sure this property will make its next owner very happy. I will of course be very sad to say goodbye, but it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my life, close to my family in Brazil.”
The property is now on the market with Savills Loughton with a guide price of £1.5m. Other features of note include underfloor heating throughout, an eye-catching ethanol fireplace, off street parking, a CCTV security system and a private garden. Property agent Natalie Mills says: “Spicer Hall is a striking property and an extremely rare find – a magnificent Grade II listed church conversion with an abundance of character.
“Everything about the building is breathtaking, from the stained glass windows and original church doors through to the light and airy rooms and award winning interior. The gardens are also particularly impressive – inspired by the homeowner’s memories of travels to France and Italy, with lavender and olive trees helping to create a Mediterranean atmosphere.”
Contact Savills Loughton on 020 8498 6600 or visit savills.co.uk