Ancient church becomes unique home-studio for Basque artist

When Tas Careaga first saw his 16th-century church it was advertised for sale as a “land plot with build-in ruins”. Abandoned for decades - the town has 6 other churches for a population of 2000 - it was being sold by the local bishopric for very little, but the new owner was required to rebuild it.


Careaga and friends spent 3 months just clearing the structure of debris before starting work to turn the relic into a home. 

With help from his architect friend Carlos Garmendia, Careaga preserved the open-feeling of the space by adding only one wall (for a bathroom on the 2nd floor). The cupola now houses a very high-ceilinged kitchen with art gallery walls. 

Most of the church celebrates the 10-meter (30-foot) ceilings created 5 centuries ago. In about a quarter of the space, Careaga built a wooden frame to house two open-air floors for a 2nd-floor bedroom and 3rd-floor office. Instead of walls or banisters, the first floor relies on just three thin metal cables for the protection of occupants.



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