Simple pleasures: the Methodist chapel that’s now a minimalist flat | Life and magnificence


The stuff of on a regular basis life – laundry, pictures, TV, washing-up liquid – is nowhere to be seen. ‘But it’s not stark,’ its proprietor says

Muller van Severen’s First Rocking Chair in the living area.

Muller van Severen’s First Rocking Chair within the dwelling space. Photograph: Ben Quinton for the Guardian

Taped to the again of Morgwn Rimel’s entrance door is a postcard of the ocean. “It’s a visual cue – a daily reminder that I need more ocean this year,” she says. This is the form of factor Rimel excels at. For seven years, she was the director of the School of Life, an organisation that goals to show emotional intelligence, and discover huge questions from philosophy and psychology by means of sensible on a regular basis issues resembling… effectively, taping a postcard to your entrance door.

Side table by Caroma with Tip of the Tongue brass lamp by Michael Anastassiades.

Side desk by Caroma with Tip of the Tongue brass lamp by Michael Anastassiades. Photograph: Ben Quinton for the Guardian

Rimel left the School of Life 2 years in the past and now runs her personal inventive studio, Superculture, working with manufacturers such because the modernist property agent the Modern House. In that point, she has additionally turned her consideration to her own residence: a one-bedroom condominium occupying the highest ground of a former Methodist chapel in London. The double-height house was initially transformed 12 years in the past by West Architecture; Rimel purchased it 5 years in the past and labored with the studio to increase the house. After a protracted planning interval – the constructing is domestically listed, which implies, whereas not of nationwide significance, it’s topic to substantial conservation concerns – and a year-long construct, she has nearly completed creating what she calls her “personal gallery”.

This monastic house is an train in excessive minimalism. Aside from a small triangle of uncovered brickwork, the partitions are white and furnishings is scarce. The open-plan kitchen is an uninterrupted run of white cupboards; a kitchen island seems to hover off the bottom. Suspended above is a timber mezzanine, Rimel’s “nest” and workspace, related to the primary space by a metal staircase. This too seems to drift above the heated gray resin ground (it’s January and Rimel is barefoot). A flight of 5 plywood stairs takes you out of the primary house and up in the direction of a brand new dormer extension, Rimel’s bed room. An L-shaped lavatory is tucked away off the hallway entrance.

Morgwn Rimel’s monastic bedroom.

Owner Morgwn Rimel’s monastic bed room. Photograph: Ben Blossom

There is not any couch: Rimel hasn’t owned 1 for eight years. “It’s a big commitment,” she says. “There are so few that look good from all angles. Chairs are much more sculptural and easy to move around. A lot of rooms force you to sit down, but there is a lot of movement in here.” There’s a Colombian hammock rather than a settee and a Muller van Severen rocking chair as an alternative of something static and squishy. During the 2 hours I spend in her firm, at no level are we each seated.

Morgwyn Rimel favours a hammock over a sofa.

Rimel favours a hammock over a settee. Photograph: Ben Quinton for the Guardian

The stuff of on a regular basis life – laundry, pictures, TV, washing-up liquid – is nowhere to be seen. “But it’s not stark,” she says. “It’s about finding the minimum you need to be comfortable.” Rimel, who’s American, has moved home 25 occasions in her 40 years, which matches some approach to explaining her lack of possessions. Previous properties embrace a standard home in Japan, an industrial loft in Montreal, a shophouse in Singapore, and a glass condominium overlooking the seaside in Sydney.

Stairs to the bedroom.

Stairs to the bed room. Photograph: Ben Blossom

Her bed room is panelled in birch-faced ply. Light and privateness are managed through a sliding spruce display screen behind which frosted glass conceals a jumbled Victorian roofscape. The result’s what Rimel calls a “sublime experience… It’s a Zen cube, like sleeping in a tomb.” The unheated room is introspective and contemplative. There is simply a mattress, a Rubn ground lamp and a small stack of books. “I find the space deeply relaxing, and I need that in London. I have a busy, cluttered mind and this is a space to decompress.” She meditates most days, so she is saving up for a Michael Anastassiades marble meditation stool to go within the nook. Bespoke storage is constructed into the eaves to hide her assortment of classic clothes – a riot of color shut away behind the white oiled panels.

Throughout the condominium, coherence is created with the usage of humble supplies: brick, brass, ply, resin and metal. There can be mathematical consideration to element: the bespoke vertical plywood door handles are the identical thickness and size because the treads on the plywood staircase. The uncovered fringe of the kitchen counter is double that thickness. Even a Rowlett Rutland toaster has been chosen for its proportionality. This is undoubtedly the creation of a perfectionist (Rimel asks to tidy the coat hangers earlier than the photographer captures her closet).

Her fastidiousness is tempered by hidden layers of that means. A cream pom-pom bedspread, for instance, belonged to her mom when she was a baby; Rimel had it reshaped to suit her mattress. In the kitchen, alongside the painstakingly thought-about home equipment (the Sori Yanagi kettle, the white oven) there are concessions to humour, resembling a toy smoking banana that sits on prime of a plug socket, and an enormous plastic lobster that hung in her grandmother’s kitchen for over 50 years.

In the toilet, she reveals me a “journey jar” made by the Welsh ceramicist Adam Buick. It’s a easy stoneware vessel inlaid with a white porcelain “path” impressed by a seaside her grandmother as soon as lived on outdoors Boston. When her grandmother died, Rimel commissioned 3 jars: 1 for her, 1 for sister and 1 for her mom.

The kitchen.

The kitchen. Photograph: Ben Quinton for the Guardian

Though uncannily uncluttered, it is a house that works for Rimel: a curated house with hidden quirks and significant keepsakes; a spot to assume and never assume. “There are so many things that give me joy here,” she says. “I find it endlessly entertaining.”

House guidelines

Minimalist bathroom.

Minimalist lavatory. Photograph: Ben Blossom

Pet interiors hate Playing it protected.
Your largest extravagance A skylight over the bathtub.
Worst adorning mistake A too-harsh suspension mild: ‘warm’ LED is a misnomer. At least it’s dimmable.
Most treasured possession Mrs Blood, my life-size plastic lobster.
What would we by no means see in your home? A tv.
One factor you’d change about your house I’d re-pour the resin ground.
What wants fixing? A cracked window pane.
Your worst house behavior Putting soiled dishes within the dishwasher in with clear, then re-running it.
Guiltiest pleasure Afternoon naps within the hammock.
What would we discover in your fridge? Blueberries, spinach, carrots, hummus, almond milk, champagne… and wind-up sushi toys (for fun).

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