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Live in a Converted Church

Live in a Church

Real estate listings love boasting about homes with double height ceilings, often describing (and overstating) them as “cathedral” ceilings. But there can be no exaggeration when you are actually talking about a converted church. Renovating and repurposing these often historic and architecturally significant structures for residential use can result in some pretty spectacular homes. But what to do with all that vertical space?  That is the ultimate design challenge.

While some may cry “blasphemy," others find these buildings designed for gathering, worship and reflection the perfect place to hang their hat. Many churches converted for residential use have been ritually desanctified -- a special service performed when a church building is retired from religious use. This way, the new residents won’t get into any trouble with the original landlord in the sky.

Photo Credit: Tony the Misfit

Gothic Revival

What was formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church is now 17,000 square feet of living space in San Francisco's cool Mission District. What would you do with all that space?    Built in Gothic Revival style in 1910, the renovation preserved lots of historic details. It is listed for $7,490,000 with John Woodruff III and Marcus Miller at Hill & Co. Real Estate.

Photo Credit: OpenHomesPhotography.com - John Hayes

Serious Sanctuary

The living area includes the original church sanctuary with coffered and hand-painted ceilings and three serious chandeliers.

Photo Credit: OpenHomesPhotography.com - John Hayes

Room With a View

Soaring arched windows in the tower room frame the panoramic views of the city. And a famous “mission-style” burrito is right at your doorstep.

Photo Credit: OpenHomesPhotography.com - John Hayes

Room for One

This 1850s church is now a cozy one-bedroom home in upstate New York’s Delaware County and is listed for $168,000.

Photo Credit: Frank Lumia Real Estate Plus

In Tune

The bedroom is in a former choir loft overlooking the open space where a small congregation would have gathered.

Original details include the wide plank floors,19-foot arched ceilings and stained glass.

Photo Credit: Frank Lumia Real Estate Plus

Boulder's Best

This 19th century church in a historic neighborhood of beautiful Boulder, Colo., has been reconfigured into a six-bedroom home with vaulted ceilings and refitted with skylights and details that give the space a contemporary look. The home has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two kitchens. It's listed for $4,495,000.

Photo Credit: Jason Closs/Fuller Sotheby’s Intl Realty

Heating Up

The home has multiple fireplaces along with radiant heat and high-tech electronic gadgetry such as programmable touch-screen control of heating, sound, plasma TVs, locking, lighting and surveillance from every room in the home.

Photo Credit: Jason Closs/Fuller Sotheby’s Intl Realty

Natural Beauty

The large windows also accommodate unobstructed views of Boulder’s famous Flatirons – the rock formations that border the city and provide great hiking and rock climbing opportunity for locals.

Photo Credit: Jason Closs/Fuller Sotheby’s Intl Realty

Artist's Retreat

Woodstock, N.Y., the upstate town that has served as an active artists colony since the 1900s and whose name was given the touchstone music festival actually held 43 miles away, is also where you’ll find this lovingly renovated church.

In the heart of this artist’s mecca is an 1851 vintage wooden church that has been redone with a loft feeling and listed for $396,000.

Photo Credit: Philip Winship/Village Green Realty/Coldwell Banker

Finishing Touch

A carved limestone fireplace, mahogany finishes and stained glass are all preserved from the original. The bell tower, also illuminated through stained glass, accommodates quiet mediation and reflection.

Photo Credit: Philip Winship/Village Green Realty/Coldwell Banker

Going Gourmet

You can look out on the open-plan living space from the original choir loft. A contemporary gourmet kitchen is one of the newer amenities in this two-bedroom home on more than 1.5 acres of private wooded land.

Photo Credit: Philip Winship/Village Green Realty/Coldwell Banker

Down Under

In northern Victoria, in Quambatook, Australia, this original Church of England church that was built in 1911 and decommissioned in the 1990s has been converted into a three-bedroom home.

Photo Credit: International Business & Introduction Brokers

Land of Wheat and Wool

The cathedral ceilings and arched windows are all intact.

The town of Quambatook has a population under 300 and happens to be the tractor-pulling capital of Australia. In fact, the town's motto is the "land of wheat and wool, home of the tractor pull."

Photo Credit: International Business & Introduction Brokers

Putt Putt

It is listed for a cool $65,000, a bargain indeed! And it is conveniently located walking distance from the semi-private Quambatook Golf Course.

Photo Credit: International Business & Introduction Brokers

Three for One

For $495,000, this for-sale former church built in 1889 in Greenville, N.Y., has three contiguous structures. The studio apartment in the former rectory has 18-foot ceilings, a sleeping loft, and a 12-by-20 deck looking out on the 1.5 acres of garden, lawn and a small stream.

Photo Credit:  Wayne West/New West Properties

Office Space

The former sanctuary is a commercial space with 28-foot ceilings, stage, choir loft and office space. The painted ceilings are intact, but could some TLC.

Photo Credit:  Wayne West/New West Properties

Island Retreat

Priced at $393,000 on the Big Island of Hawaii, this former Episcopal church has become a two-bedroom home with ocean views and an intriguing past. It was built in the 1920s in the plantation style using Scottish craftsmanship. Scots came to Hawaii as builders and foremen for the sugar plantations.

Photo Credit:  Beverly Molfino/ MacArthur and Company | Sotheby's International Realty

The Great Outdoors


The original entrance leads to a lanai. Through the original double doors, you enter into the living room. There is detailed woodwork throughout the house, curved archways, high ceilings and original windows.

The original sanctuary has been converted into a master suite with full bath.

Photo Credit:  Beverly Molfino/ MacArthur and Company | Sotheby's International Realty

In the Looking Glass

Listed at $84,000 is this 1890 converted church in Wilcox, Pennsylvania. It boasts stained glass doors, hanging lights, and plaster moldings that are still intact.

Photo Credit: Leah Whiteman/Elk County Real Estate, LLC

Spacing Out

The floor plan has been left open, with most living space in the main sanctuary.

The kitchen is tucked under the choir loft, and some of the updated amenities include a heated garage, porch, and jacuzzi.

Photo Credit: Leah Whiteman/Elk County Real Estate, LLC

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