The Chapel at St Gabriel’s Manor is something really quite special. It’s not just the meticulous renovation undertaken by its interior designer owner, Peggy Prendeville, it’s also that it was saved from the clutches of overzealous developers whose intentions were for this magnificent space to be carved up in to four flats. After much too-ing a fro-ing, the council saw the light and agreed that the chapel should stay as one and not be broken up. The end result is one of London’s largest chapel conversions at just under 3200 sq. ft.
With the volume available and at nearly four floors internally and needing family accommodation, the obvious solution was to go up. So that’s exactly what Peggy did. Its Grade 2 listed status presented something of a challenge but with the assistance of the planning department and input from English Heritage, it was agreed that as many internal walls as possible should be glass, therefore ensuring the beautifully preserved architecture and intricate wood finishes we’re still firmly on display. And good thing too, this extraordinary home certainly packs a punch in the wow factor stakes.
Heave open the oversized front door and ascend a solid spiral stairwell where wood panelled, remembrance clad walls set the tone for what feels more like an ecclesiastical exhibition.
Despite its breath-taking volume, this is a warm & welcoming family space. Alternative yes, but don’t go getting any ideas of big draughty voids. For a start, the exquisite stained-glass windows have had a second glazed panel retro fit meaning that the days when you after bit more than sun streaming through multi coloured panes, open up and take in the surrounding views instead Mind you, the one thing the position of the windows does afford you is privacy. It’s the sort of home you forget where you are after a while, the tranquillity becomes quite overwhelming after you settle in to a quiet corner anywhere here.
The main living space is clearly the crowning glory but look up and practicality kicks in. The Northern side of the chapel houses a real assortment of rooms and to be honest, it’s open to interpretation on the use. If you wish, there’s five bedrooms, but some are presently serving as study/office space. The mezzanine top floor open suite is just a fun space, adding the open bath adds a certain something to spice up your life!
At the opposite end of the chapel, a second mezzanine floor sits proudly below the detailed, dominant stained glassed window. This is currently set upon as a large home gym for the owner but as with pretty much everywhere in the chapel, the potential uses are limitless, just use a bit of imagination.
Camberwell has more than enough to keep you occupied. Take a scenic walk or run directly opposite in Myatt’s Fields Park, then follow it with a nutritious recharge at Little Cat Cafe. A little further are the ponds and wide-open spaces of Burgess Park. For more serious socialising, Theo’s Pizza is a must, while The Tiger, Grove House Tavern and Camberwell Arms are all excellent nearby pubs.
Heading into central London? Oval Tube (Northern Line) is the closest and Denmark Hill station is around 15 minutes on foot offering exceptional connections: the Overground heads north via Shoreditch High Street for the City Fringe and Square Mile, and west to Clapham Junction; Thameslink drops you at Blackfriars, and South-eastern trains run to Victoria.
You'll also find plenty of buses more or less on the doorstep with routes to Oval, Elephant & Castle, Peckham Rye and more.
St Gabriels Manor | SE5