A Dilapidated Old Church Becomes a Happy Vibrant Home

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Dilapidated Old Church Becomes a Happy Vibrant Home

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Jenny Mountford, owner of Attic and Fable
Location: Bridgetown, Western Australia
Size: 1894 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, owned

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Jenny has always been drawn to color, the avant garde and items that have a history. To hold something in her hands that’s been held by many hands before her gives her such pleasure, allowing herself to wonder about the life both it, and its owner, may have led. So even though when Jenny first stumbled across this building it was in quite a sad and sorry state, she knew that its rich history was something she could not pass up.

Editor’s note: As reader erika stanley wrote 11 months ago, “This is one of the houses that makes me want to move or work full time on my home. Gorgeous, cozy, enchanting, inspiring.” And it’s worth a republish!

The home was originally an Anglican church. Built in 1898, it was used by the congregation for 13 years, when it then became the church hall and after, purchased by the West Australian Government Railways to be used as the Railway Institute. From services, christenings, weddings and funerals, it later became the place for monthly moon dances, pre-wedding kitchen teas, dance and karate instruction, visits from the circus school and even home to the St. John Ambulance for a time.

After one look through the space, Jenny—who previously owned her own interior design business in London—set about employing a local builder to bring about the renovation and construction process. Her only stipulation was that they were to re-use everything—nothing was to be thrown out! This was sometimes somewhat of a challenge (old doors come in interesting sizes) but luckily for Jenny, the builders understood what she was trying to do and were proud to be able to honor the work of earlier tradesmen.

Jenny has given new life to what had been slowly becoming a dilapidated, forgotten old relic of the past. Her enthusiasm for reusing and honoring each individual original element has shone through and has made this beautiful home an inviting and fun space in which family and friends are drawn to. Jenny describes her home as a “living, breathing, beautiful warm hug,” and after just one visit, you would be hard-pressed not to agree!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic! If i love it, it’s out on show. It all seems to work together, which is a bonus!

Inspiration: I have way too many Pinterest boards.

Favorite Element: The soft and happy energy of the house.

Biggest Challenge: Living in the house while it was being renovated.

What Friends Say: Usually “Wow!” and then, “It has such a nice energy in here!”

Biggest Embarrassment: The builders arriving for work and me having overslept and still asleep on the blowup bed right where they were to start work for the day!

Proudest DIY: Turning the horrible pine paneling into the beautiful, aged-looking wood boxes and fire platform.

Biggest Indulgence: The living room couches.

Best Advice: Be on site everyday through your renovations, as you never know what’s going to come up!

Dream Sources: Australian Country Style Magazine; Linen and Lavender; Black and Spiro.


Exterior — Dauphin Grey by Wattyl Paints
Trims — Breaker Beige by Taubmans
Living Area — Worn Path by Wattyl Paints
Sitting Room — Midnight Myths by Accent Paints
Master bedroom — Misty Lake by Taubmans
Second and Third Bedrooms — Dauphin Grey by Wattyl

Doors — Bridgetown Salvage Yard
Iron handles — Hand-forged bespoke by local craftsman

Sofas — Danks Furniture, covered in Warwick fabric “Anthropologie”
Armoire — Vintage
Dining Table — Acquire Furniture
Dining Chairs — Attic and Fable

Mustard Yellow Chairs — Attic and Fable
Sideboard — Family heirloom
Artwork above sideboard — Georgia O’Keefe print
Buddha artwork — Thailand
Pottery — Gift from family

Jarrah Cabinets — Gumtree
Mug collection — Anthropologie

Clawfoot Bathtub — Early Settler Furniture
Cabinets — Ikea
Shelf and Brackets — Vintage
Pressed Tin ceiling — Heritage Ceilings Bunbury

Leather King Bed — Harvey Norman
Lamps — Empire
Bedside Tables — Gumtree
Ginger Jar —Bali
Pine drawers — Vintage
Camphor Wood Jewelry boxes — family heirloom

Pine Desk — Antique
French wooden stool — Rustic French Living, Boyanup
Jarrah Bench — Antique
Pine Bookcases — London Antique

Thanks, Jenny!

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