A new lease of life for church

BARBARA WITHINGTON
Last updated 15:05 31/07/2013
Southland Times photo
BARBARA WITHINGTON/Fairfax NZ
Georgina and Greg Noble, of Auckland, have bought the St John's Church in Millers Flat.

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The Auckland couple who designed Dotcom's famous Auckland mansion have turned their sights to the Millers Flat Church.

Greg and Georgina Noble typed the word unusual into the Trade Me auction site to discover the former St John's Anglican Church, Millers Flat. 

They travelled to Central Otago last week to check out the building and ''we just knew we had to have it'', Mrs Noble said.

Mr Noble is an architectural designer with a special interest in conservation and said he was determined the building would be preserved and ''not overshadowed by ugliness as so often happens with historic buildings.

People buy them and take away all their character''.

A visit to their website proves just how sensitive to the inert beauty of buildings they are. 

One they call Pooh Hall in Clun, Shropshire England, was a derelict shell metres deep in animal manure and lived in for about 200 years. 

It was a challenge they took on to get away from high pressure jobs in London, turning it into a family home for their three children.  

A trip home to New Zealand after 27 years saw a need to have a piece of Kiwi property, ''and five days later we owned a quirky piece of Great Barrier Island''. 

Two annual family holidays followed until the year they mixed up their return flights and decided it was a sign to stay permanently.

Turning down commissions in the United Kingdom, the couple were given the chance to design and project manage an English-style country house on 100 acres of land for the owners of the Crisco hamper company, now famous as being the Kim Dotcom mansion.

The home is now famous after the Government Security Communications Bureau admitted spying on the internet entrepreneur, who is now facing extradition.

''We were fortunate to win that one and it kept us busy for the next four years,'' Mr Noble said.

Mrs Noble swapped her work with the Saatchi Design Company to doing the interior designs for her husband's work, including importing furniture more suitable for the imposing edifices.

Mr Noble said: ''We do not know what we will do with the church, it needs a little bit of work outside but we would love the community to still have access to it. 

''We will go back to Auckland and think about it, the wonderful landscape it sits within, and what the possibilities might be.''

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