Leap of faith: from abandoned chapel to heavenly space | Life and style


How a Yorkshireman reworked a Methodist chapel into a place to live – and a dramatic backdrop to his paintings collection

Mark Hinchliffe wearing a military jacket in the ‘gentlemen’s club room’ with dark blue walls

‘I love being in tune with history’: Mark Hinchliffe inside the ‘gentlemen’s club room’. Photograph: Alex Telfer for the Observer

Yorkshireman Mark Hinchliffe can vividly recall the spark that ignited his love of amassing. It came about in Leeds City Museum when, as a boy, he stood transfixed in front of a filled Indian tiger, its paws more than his head. The memory nevertheless burns colourful 40 years later as he finds me across the 19th century, former Methodist chapel in Harrogate that he has restored and was a space – 1 he stocks along side his non-public large, “bonkers” collection of paintings and artefacts. Here, a grasp of feather hats, there a fragment of antique French tapestry, placing inside the “gentlemen’s club room” brocaded army jackets from conflicts earlier. It’s no longer exactly a museum – Hinchliffe in most cases wears the jackets while cycling round town – alternatively this is obviously additional than just inside of decoration. For 1 issue, every object has a story.

“I was the kid on the beach who picked up a stone with a hole in it and wondered how that came about,” says clothier Hinchliffe. “I once bumped into Antony Gormley and asked him what it used to be in regards to the stone with an opening in it and he said: ‘I don’t know, I’ve been making an attempt to paintings that out my whole lifestyles.’ There isn’t any answer. It’s nevertheless operating its magic.”

He bought the chapel in 2013 after it had fallen into disuse, and spent 2 years renovating it. The large church organ had already been dismantled and introduced for £6,00zero on eBay, finding a brand spanking new space in a small village in Germany. Hinchliffe eradicated the pews and upcylced them to gather the kitchen cabinets, even if many portions of the original developing keep, along side the pulpit and the 40ft-high atrium, now the grandest of living rooms. The distinctive stained-glass house home windows have been restored and a galleried consuming room created. Scores of cast iron radiators have been found in France and stripped once more to reveal ornate mouldings.

Stained glass windows in the galleried dining room.

Seeing the light: stained glass house home windows inside the galleried consuming room. Photograph: Alex Telfer for the Observer

The highway markets and antique fairs during the Channel keep Hinchliffe’s favourite taking a look grounds. “I’ve got the attention span of a gnat,” he admits. “I spin on ideas and I can look at a stand in about four seconds flat and decide if I like anything.” As properly as Clignancourt in Paris, he is going to the Braderie at Lille – Europe’s largest flea marketplace, where he bought the boar’s head inside the “gentlemen’s club room”, an antechamber off the principle living space painted rich Prussian blue and hung with antique trophy heads. I like one of the early Victorian chairs. “The subject material’s via Vivienne Westwood,” he tells me. It turns out that on a talk over with to London a couple of years prior to now he found out himself sitting opposite the clothier and her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, at the tube they generally acquired chatting. A fellow northerner, Westwood sent up 3 rolls of her Jacquard subject material as a gift, which he used to reupholster a couple of of his favourite chairs.

The association seems changing into. Opulent and minimalist, ecclesiastical and punk – opposites find a comfortable association in this maximum 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.” On the walls are works via fashionable artists along side Marc Quinn, Gilbert and George and Steven Campbell. In his analysis, he pulls out a sculpture via Susan Collis – a shelf covered in tiny pencil marks – part of what appears to be a emerging sub-collection of DIY-inspired paintings. It could seem disorderly, alternatively Hinchliffe is conscious about where all of the issues is, and remembers each object’s history with childlike glee. His particular interest in “the marks and the patina, and the journey of things” underpins his design aesthetic.

the ‘Napoleon blue suite’, lit by 1940s Murano glass lamps

Rest easy: the ‘Napoleon blue suite’, lit via 1940s Murano glass lamps. Photograph: Alex Telfer for the Observer

In the “ladies’ boudoir” there’s shelf upon shelf of antique Singer-style sewing machines, their wonderfully curved types and dark steel moving parts spark off via the yolk-coloured walls at the back of. The whole collection once belonged to the husband of an area needlework teacher and were given new lifestyles proper right here after he died. A grand piano types a centrepiece to the room while a picket headboard depicting a more youthful Victorian lady deshabillé hangs at the back of a writing table, lending this corner a non-public, conspiratorial air.

Upstairs is altogether additional baroque. There’s an Indian-inspired mattress room that features a four-poster bed festooned in gold-embroidered blue silk and one different, the “Chinese opium suite”, with matt black walls in opposition to which a pink carved picket daybed is able aglow. Oriental silks and sculptures upload an additional layer of richness to the surroundings.

Divine intervention: the ‘ladies’ boudoir’, with its yolk-coloured walls and comfortable chairs.

Divine intervention: the ‘ladies’ boudoir’, with its yolk-coloured walls and comfy chairs. Photograph: Alex Telfer for the Observer

As a toddler inside the 1970s, Hinchliffe accompanied his mother to antique fairs. There, his magpie gaze would fall upon a excessive hat and a silk shawl “to hang on the stairs”, or a Georgian spoon flukily carved along side his initials. To fund his passion for amassing he’d sweep the bottom at his mum’s hairdressing salon and make tea for the former women. Later, he took on 2 paper rounds and worked weekends on a farm as regards to his space in Leeds. His powerful paintings ethic is matched via an abundance of energy which spotted him out every evening time when he hit London as a newly qualified chef at the height of the New Romantic duration.

Northern exposure: an exterior view of The Chapel.

Northern exposure: an external view of The Chapel. Photograph: Alex Telfer for the Observer

“I worked at a hotel in Kensington High Street and at night I went to the Wag, Titanic, the Mud Club, Camden Palace. It was buzzing: the arty fashion lot were there,” he recollects. Working as a chef encouraged him to imagine the way in which by which problems have been displayed. “That’s where I got that idea of shape, colour, form.”

Much like his collection, Hinchliffe is given to going off on tangents. He’s merely been granted a marriage licence for the developing, and simply in recent times chanced upon the French customized of marriage ceremony rite domes – mini collections underneath a tumbler cloche, containing souvenirs and mementos. Fascinated via those little microcosms, he has created his non-public – which you’d 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, persons are starting to uncover his flair for interiors, along side a wine baron in northern Italy with whom he has an exciting new design challenge inside the pipeline. “It’s only in the last year or two,” he tells me, “that I’ve realised I might actually be good at this.”

The Chapel is open for weddings, events and B&B pals (thechapelhg1.com; Instagram: @thechapelhg1)

Source: fitnesscaster.com