The stylish owner of rug and homewares brand Tigmi Trading has turned a couple of churches in Bangalow into a family home
THE OPPORTUNITY TO PURCHASE A UNIQUE PROPERTY DOESN’T COME UP VERY OFTEN, but when Danielle McCewan’s husband Julian accompanied some friends to an auction to buy some old church pews, he ended up buying the church itself! In fact, not one but two churches; a timber church, built in the 1890s, and a cement church, built in 1958. “We bought the house in 2005,” says Danielle, who owns rugs and homewares brand Tigmi Trading. “We certainly weren’t looking for unusual properties but this one just piqued our interest, and we could see the potential in what it could become.”
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED The churches were sitting in the middle of a field, just outside of Bangalow, New South Wales, in their original condition. They had no running water, only one power curcuit and a stage in each building. “It was quite a daunting task to make them into liveable spaces, but we just took it one step at a time. Our goal has always been to join the two buildings, so we’ve made sure all our small changes support our final design and layout of the finished project,” Danielle explains. The couple started by upgrading the plumbing and electrics as well as installing a water tank, converting the old tank into an outdoor shower. In 2007 they re-stumped and opened up the back of the timber church by putting in reclaimed French doors, built the deck and upgraded the bathrooms with indoor toilets. “In 2012 we did some landscaping around the property and later painted one of the churches black, which was the bit of contrast we needed,” Danielle says.
COUNTRY LIFE “We love the lifestyle that this area brings,” Danielle says. “Apart from the obvious appeal of the beautiful, lush scenery and only 20 minutes from some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, we also have such a wonderful community of likeminded people. It has been perfect for our family while the kids are young – from the moment they are awake until last light they are outdoors playing. We definitely don’t feel any pull of the city.”
Up the wall Simple Ikea shelving has been used in the kitchen to display Danielle’s china and pottery. Curated collection A vintage 1950s rosewood sideboard was a find from an antique market in Sydney. Another Simon Davidson print sits on top, along with a 1960s Italian ceramic lamb and a piece of Tamegroute pottery.