When our old church hall was delivered "Monster Moves" style on the back of a giant truck, it looked pretty shabby and forlorn. That was the Christmas before last and although we were hoping its makeover would be finished by now, it is certainly getting closer.
The boys are in the hall now fixing the ceiling and stuffing insulation everywhere they can fit it. I am looking for kitchen inspiration for details such as benchtop materials and shelving options.
The old building has turned out to be much older than we first thought. Our heritage-listed farmhouse dates back to the turn of the 20th Century and we first thought the church, a former classroom in a local primary school, was about the same vintage, maybe a decade or so earlier.
On closer inspection, we were in for a surprise. When my husband pulled the first weatherboards off to kill the termites (!) and had a good look at the joinery in the old building he remarked that it looked to him like it might be more like 1850s or 60s. After doing some research we found that this building was in fact the first Catholic church in the region and dated back to the early 1840s. And it was just about to be demolished when we put our dibbs on it.
Buildings like this often slipped under the heritage radar because they were plain and utilitarian. Much more grand buildings are valued where older buildings that were not pretentious but had more or at least equal value historically, well, the vast majority have been demolished over the years. The local Catholic church's own website's history page indeed features photos of the much newer and grander stone church and the old one just gets a few words and no photo probably because it was just an old shabby weatherboard "shed".
Anyway, we are chuffed that we managed to save it and give it a new lease of life and it looks great as the addition to our old farmhouse. It has huge old hardwood floorboards which we can't wait to clean up and big old timber trusses from which I am hanging some industrial-style pendant lights.
Some of the windows were taken out and replaced by a bank of 50s style hopper windows so we are having new "old" ones made to go back in place.