Strangford Presbyterian Church had been on the Buildings at Risk Register since 2003, having lain vacant following its closure. Melanie & Martin approached the former owner of the church in 2016 with the hopes of acquiring the building, which they have now sympathetically transformed into holiday accommodation.
It was Melanie & Martin’s return to Strangford after having been away from Northern Ireland for a long time, and seeing the state of neglect which the much loved local landmark had fallen into, that prompted their move to purchase and try to rescue the building. The building was in a perilous state when they finally acquired it, with the outer shell failing and water ingress causing damage.
Melanie & Martin quickly took action to prevent further deterioration of the building by making it watertight. They did this by replacement and repair of certain elements within the existing structure, using like for like materials and appropriate traditional methods and local craftspeople. Once they had completed these works, it offered them time to consider a range of new uses for the church and to sympathetically design the space, retaining its character.
As accommodation, the couple estimate that more than 300 local and overseas visitors will be able to experience the building every year. Alongside this, Melanie & Martin make the church available for use by the local community. The building has been a labour of love for Melanie & Martin and has secured the future of the church for visitors and local people to enjoy for many years to come.