Recipe: Oatmeal muffins

28 March, 2020


Father and daughter relaunch furniture business in a converted chapel


A Cheshire father and daughter team has breathed new life into an historic former chapel.

Emma Semper Hopkins and her father, Ian Semper, have carried out a restoration and conversion of Kent Green Methodist Chapel, in Scholar Green near Congleton.

The 19th-century building is now a workshop for Emma and Ian’s business, Semper Hopkins Upholstery and Interiors, which produces quirky and customised furniture.

The father and daughter team is now busy preparing to relaunch the business with a new website and branding, and in March they will celebrate the official opening of their new premises.

Emma, who launched the company after she decided to turn her hobby into a business, said: “Many years ago I began making soft furnishings for my own home, and then came up with ideas for my family and friends too.

“I realised I could make a business out of my passion, so I completed an interior design diploma, while at the same time holding down a full-time job in the corporate world.”

Emma gave up her job and launched Semper Hopkins Upholstery and Interiors.

She said that leaving the security of a full-time job was initially daunting, however her complete love for her work and the opportunity to spend more time with her young family motivated her.

Emma commented: “When I’m trusted to restore a much-loved family heirloom or have the opportunity to create beautiful bespoke handmade pieces to order, the joy it gives my clients proves I’ve chosen the right path.”

As the business grew, Emma realised she needed more space and, as luck would have it, the old Kent Green Methodist Chapel went up for auction – with Emma and her father the successful bidders.

“Once planning permission was granted, the renovation of our future business premises began with my dad in charge of sympathetically restoring the chapel,” explained Emma.

The last service took place at the chapel, on Cinderhill Lane, approximately three years ago, and the building was standing empty until Emma and Ian bought it in October 2016.

Built in 1892, Ian has been busy renovating the old building, keeping original features and in fact revealing even more in the process!

He removed old plaster to expose the original brick walls, and he has also used reclaimed wood to create unique panelling and windowsills.

Ian said: “It has turned into a labour of love. I have enjoyed having the ongoing encouragement and support of the neighbouring community.”

In addition, important issues such as dry rot, woodworm, roofing, windows, plastering, electricity and heating have also been addressed.

They’ve also added a new log burner and painted throughout, and the renovation is due to be fully completed later this year.

Semper Hopkins Upholstery and Interiors produces stunning pieces for their clients’ homes.

Ian specialises in carpentry and salvaging reclaimed materials, while Emma’s talents lie in upholstery and interiors.

Their product range includes seating, tables, bespoke apple crates and bar stools as well as benches, pews and quirky one-offs.

Emma said: “We’re inspired by different eras of interior design and raw materials, and we often mix different periods to create stylish spaces and distinct pieces.

“Using our mix of imaginative ideas, we take pleasure in designing and creating beautiful handmade pieces.”

She added: “We spend hours stripping, sanding, cleaning, waxing, polishing and re-upholstering to ensure everything we touch is refurbished to the highest quality, while still retaining its character.”

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