Take me to church: from tin tabernacle to cosy live work home in Devon

tin tabernacle exeter
Picture of Simon Stone

Simon Stone

What’s the first thing you picture when you think about live work? Office chairs spinning across concrete floors, or perhaps a 90s-styled, open-plan warehouse in Hackney? Wherever your mind goes, it probably isn’t towards warm tongue-and-groove panelled walls and Scandi styling at a live-work home in Devon. Even less so to an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The Tin Tab live work home in Devon

So, when accomplished illustrator Vicki Turner headed out of London looking for a place to combine home and work life, she did so with two non-negotiables. First, a place that reflected her unique taste in architecture. Second, somewhere that drew out the creative flair that working in concrete city offices had suppressed.

 

The result of Vicki’s extensive search is The Tin Tab (as it’s affectionately known). The building started life as a tin tabernacle church, then became a Masonic lodge, and is now living its best life as a comfortable live-work home in Devon.

 

“It was VERY wonky when I moved in eight years ago”, says Vicki. “Superficially, it looked fine, but when I started uncovering stuff in preparation for the restoration, I could see that I needed to do much more to make it the home I’d envisaged.”

 

As luck would have it, Vicki’s father is an accomplished engineer and kept a watchful eye over the reinstatement of the build and interior, which included as much reclaimed material as possible.

“I’m an advocate for sustainability, and I wanted to salvage as many of the original internal features as I could. The defining moment for me was seeing the huge, dividing bi-fold doors back in working order after they’d been stripped and refurbished.”

Original timber bi-folding doors at a live work home in Devon

Tin tabernacle live work home in Devon

“Anything we couldn’t save we had remade in ash with timber from locally sourced suppliers. This includes the kitchen, which a local carpenter put together for me.”

So why the Scandi look? 

 

“I’d spent time in Penge, South East London. But then, by complete contrast, I ended up in Finland. Living here for a few years fuelled my interest in sustainable living and the decorative style that’s taken over the house. I just love the simplicity of the space. My favourite room is the kitchen: it’s a very calm room and super cosy. Holed up here on a winter’s night is an absolute pleasure.”

“The main hall is where I work. It’s full of light and the perfect environment for creativity. To be honest, it’s this room that pushed me to make my next move. Living and working here has had a profound effect, and the release from corporate London was the start. Being here has inspired me to pursue my next artistic challenge, which means moving to Cornwall.”

 

“If I could pop the house on the back of a truck and take it with me, I would! But that’s not an option. So, with a heavy heart, it’s time to sell up and hand over to a new custodian. Someone, I hope, will enjoy the life and tranquillity The Tin Tab has given me.”

 

You can see full details of The Tin Tab here.

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