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5 churches transformed into homes

Realtor.com

In communities across the U.S., churches that have lost their congregations are being bought up and converted into artsy condos and homes.

As residences, they often retain many of the design details that make them look like houses of worship, including steeples and bell towers, distinctive entrance door and windows and, in some cases, sacred spaces. Choir balconies become lofts, altars become eating areas.

Yet it’s no easy task to turn these churches into livable spaces. Most are just big empty boxes where parishioners once sat in rows and rows of pews. They need to be completely reconstructed to serve as a normal home with separate rooms, bedrooms with doors and shower-equipped bathrooms. Some larger churches get divided up into several condos or apartments, while the exterior remains almost untouched.

Revamped non-denominational church

Paul Clancy

Alyn Carlson and her husband, a minister, moved into the Sunday school attached to a Westport, Mass., church in 1981. When the church shut down five years later, they bought the 4,000-square-foot space for $60,000, moved in and began renovating.

Revamped non-denominational church

Paul Clancy

The sanctuary remains intact, with two lofts connected by a catwalk. The choir left became the master bedroom, like many church-conversions, and a master bathroom was added to the steeple. There’s also a fireman’s pole that connects the second floor to the ground floor.

Carlson, an artist, worked hard to redesign the space, but sold it after her divorce to a new couple looking to continue its conversion.

The Little Stone Church

Realtor.com

The Little Stone Church in Belfast, Maine, still bears a striking resemblance to a church, despite the addition of gray siding meant to mask its original design. 

The Little Stone Church

Realtor.com

Outside, the original windows and doors remain intact. Inside, the former sanctuary is a great room for lounging and dining, and the tower is a small bedroom. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is on the market for nearly $500,000.

Artist's loft

Realtor.com

This church in Chicago’s gentrifying Ukrainian Village neighborhood was a steal -- at least for the city's pricey church-turned-home market, where one condo in a church conversion can go for half a million dollars. This whole church sold for $600,000 two years ago, down from its original $750,000 asking price.

Artist's loft

Realtor.com

The main floor looks pretty similar to its church days, with open space, 39-foot ceilings and an altar turned dining nook. Upstairs, it has one bathroom and a lofted bedroom. 

Church turned into 14 condos

VHF

There’s yet another Chicago church conversion, only this 1880s-era church was converted into 14 condo units that sell for between $200,000 and $500,000. 

Church turned into 14 condos

VHF

A typical unit has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, parking and in-unit laundry. While the exterior still looks exactly like a church, not much of the interior design was saved. But some units boast 14-foot by 15-foot stained glass windows and architectural details on the ceilings.

Tiny church

Zillow.com

From the outside, this 1927 little church looks exactly the same as it did when it was built. But inside is a different story. The choir loft was repurposed into a master suite overlooking the living room, and the original foyer doors open into a dining room and kitchen. The owners also managed to fit four other bedrooms and three bathrooms into the 200-person church. 

Tiny church

Zillow.com

The Louviers, Colo., home sold last summer for $425,000, below the $475,000 asking price.