The Convent and Guesthouse
Friday 07 Jun 2013


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The Convent and Guesthouse inhabits two of several dwellings spread in a vast estate in the middle of Buckinghamshire. The Guesthouse is overlooking a spectacular forest with lake and wild animals. The building’s external facades had to be retained, so little could be done in the floor plans to adapt it to a contemporary lifestyle. The brief was to create a monastic and contemplative space which could house a convent as well as a small guesthouse for pilgrims and occasional travellers. The rooms reflect the calm yet profound atmosphere, which reaches all communal areas, while the edifice and its dedicated rooms are an agreeable and comforting experience.

Atelier Maia Ltd decided to create a design where each internal space, as little as it might have been, would have felt like a cocoon. They opted for dark intense wall colours throughout, with cast iron ironmongery and large black steel windows opening up towards the sky and forest.

The internal shell is extremely minimal and quite contemporary. The floors have been covered with reclaimed oak and black handmade terracotta tiles. The element of furniture is scarce but varied in each room. All beds are handmade in a cast iron structure and the cabinets, benches and fixed accessories were sourced from antique shops and markets. The handmade tiles are all designed and manufactured by Atelier Maia. Element like staircase and balustrades have been treated as an object of craft too, enhancing the feeling of uniqueness of the whole guesthouse.

Particular attention has been devoted to light and light fittings; opting for vintage bulbs in all communal areas, whilst the bedrooms combine practicality and mood with minimal fittings matching the background colours. Communal areas include the entry foyer, reading room, dining and conference room. The church, not included in the refurbishment, is open to the public and has direct access from inside the guesthouse.

The Convent and Guesthouse is the perfect place to write a novel, even on a rainy day.

Atelier Maia