Holy Makeovers: 20 Former Churches That Have Been Born Again

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Wilsonville Methodist Church, Wilsonville, Oregon
Photo credit: McMenaminsOldChurchAndPub/facebook.com

ANGELS AND ARCHITECTURE

With their soaring steeples, glistening stained glass, and beautiful belfries, churches are unlike any other structures. But places of worship, like people, grow and change; over time, some are decommissioned or even abandoned. These 20 former churches, abbeys, and holy buildings in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, have all been resurrected and lovingly restored, enjoying new life as community centers, hotels, homes, even a skate park.
Washington Square Methodist Church, New York City
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WASHINGTON SQUARE METHODIST CHURCH

New York City
Just steps from Manhattan's picturesque Washington Square Park sits this former Methodist church, which was built in 1860. In 2006, Flank Architects converted the deconsecrated church into eight luxury condo units spread out over five stories.

Washington Square Methodist Church, New York City
Photo credit: Courtesy of compass.com

WASHINGTON SQUARE METHODIST CHURCH: A FAMOUS FRUIT-THROWER

Actor Jude Law rented the penthouse unit of the former church for awhile in 2009, making headlines when he threw some oranges at an adjacent New York University dormitory where students were ogling him from afar. Unit 2W, a two-bedroom, two-bath condo with 1,807 square feet of space, was listed recently for a cool $3,250,000.
Providence Chapel, Wiltshire, England
Photo credit: Photos by James Brittain and Dirk Lindner

PROVIDENCE CHAPEL

Wiltshire, England
This 1867 structure was purchased in 2003 by London theater designer Niki Turner, who hired architect Jonathan Tuckey to renovate and expand it. Tuckey preserved the simple Georgian chapel's arched windows, distressed floors, and grand double-story bookshelves of the sanctuary, converting it into a living space and office.

Providence Chapel, Wiltshire, England
Photo credit: Photos by James Brittain and Dirk Lindner

PROVIDENCE CHAPEL: A BATH WITH A VIEW

Attached to the rear of the Providence Chapel is a sleek, modern extension clad in black wood. The master bath features a full-length window that looks out over the rear garden. Turner sold the property a decade later for about $1 million.
Church of Sant Francesc Convent, Santpedor, Catalonia, Spain
Photo credit: Bardia.Architecture/facebook.com

CHURCH OF SANT FRANCESC CONVENT

Santpedor, Catalonia, Spain
This former church was built in the early 18th century by Franciscan priests and occupied until 1835. The complex was abandoned until 2005, when architect David Closes began a restoration project began to save the ruined chapel.

Church of Sant Francesc Convent, Santpedor, Catalonia, Spain
Photo credit: Bardia.Architecture/facebook.com

CHURCH OF SANT FRANCESC CONVENT: A NEW CULTURAL SPACE

The church restoration project was finished in 2011 at a cost of 1.6 million euros. The crumbling structure was restored, its stone walls punctuated by angular, modern additions of steel and glass. The church now serves as an auditorium and a multifunctional cultural facility.
Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester, England
Photo credit: stanbrookabbey/facebook.com

STANBROOK ABBEY

Worcester, England
This magnificent luxury country hotel in Britain's West Midlands was built in the mid-1700s as an estate, then converted into an abbey for Benedictine nuns in the early 1800s. The nuns departed in 2009, selling the property to a developer who spent 4 million pounds to convert it to a hotel in 2014.

Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester, England
Photo credit: stanbrookabbey/facebook.com

STANBROOK ABBEY: AFTERNOON TEA AND LANDSCAPED GARDENS

Handpicked Hotels acquired the Stanbrook Abbey property in 2017; today, it boasts 55 redone bedrooms with afternoon tea served at 4 p.m. The developers preserved the landscaped gardens, as well as a separate five-bedroom Georgian manor house on the grounds.
Abbaye Royale De Fontevraud, Lazare, France
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ABBAYE ROYALE DE FONTEVRAUD

Lazare, France
This 12th-century abbey is a Unesco World Heritage site and is the burial site of England's King Edward II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their heir King Richard the Lionheart. It was decommissioned during the French Revolution and later used as a prison before being restored as a cultural center in 1975.

Abbaye Royale De Fontevraud, Lazare, France
Photo credit: abbayedefontevraud/facebook.com

ABBAYE ROYALE DE FONTEVRAUD: FROM PRISON TO LUXURY HOTEL

Today, the Abbaye Royale is home to a 54-room luxury hotel occupies part of this historic Loire Valley complex. The property also features a Michelin-starred restaurant showcasing produce grown on-site, as well as concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural programming.
Wilsonville Methodist Church, Wilsonville, Oregon
Photo credit: McMenaminsOldChurchAndPub/facebook.com

WILSONVILLE METHODIST CHURCH

Wilsonville, Oregon
McMenamins is Pacific Northwest chain of brewpubs and hotels housed in historic buildings that were once schools, churches, and other structures. Their pub in Wilsonville occupies a converted church built in 1911.

Wilsonville Methodist Church, Wilsonville, Oregon
Photo credit: McMenaminsOldChurchAndPub/facebook.com

WILSONVILLE METHODIST CHURCH: LOCAL MUSIC WHILE YOU DRINK

The former church's exterior has been preserved and the interior updated to with a full restaurant and bar. There's also an outdoor amphitheater, which features local and regional bands regularly.
Friar Minors Church, Mechelen, Belgium
Photo credit: Courtesy of martinshotels.com

FRIAR MINORS CHURCH

Mechelen, Belgium
Martin's Patershof Hotel was once a Franciscan church built in 1231. The Friar Minors dwelled there for near 600 years, abandoning it in the turbulent years following the French Revolution. The monks eventually returned and remained until deconsecration in 1999.

Friar Minors Church, Mechelen, Belgium
Photo credit: MartinsHotels/facebook.com

FRIAR MINORS CHURCH: A FOUR-STAR HOTEL FLOURISHES

Originally converted to private residences, the church was repurposed in 2009 as a luxury hotel. One of the suites is located in the church's original dome. And when you're done exploring the church grounds, Brussels is just 20 minutes away.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Germantown, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: PhillyWaldorf/facebook.com

ST. PETER'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Germantown, Pennsylvania
This complex, with a stone-walled chapel, rectory, and parish house, was built between 1873 and 1883 on two acres in suburban Philadelphia. It was converted into the Waldorf School of Philadelphia at a cost of $6 million, opening to students in 2015.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Germantown, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: Courtesy of phillywaldorf.com

ST. PETER'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: A PLACE TO LEARN AND GROW

The church building now serves as the school's main assembly hall, with classrooms and offices in the other three buildings. The church grounds, where Walt Whitman once walked, have two dedicated play spaces for students.
Ebenezer Methodist Church, Forest-in-Teesdale, England
Photo credit: Courtesy of airbnb.com

EBENEZER METHODIST CHURCH

Forest-in-Teesdale, England
This former church was built sometime around 1880 and remained active until the early 1990s. Work began in 2013 to convert it into a private residence, and today it is known as the Chapel on the Hill, an AirBnB rental.

Ebenezer Methodist Church, Forest-in-Teesdale, England
Photo credit: Courtesy of airbnb.com

EBENEZER METHODIST CHURCH: THE OUTDOORS BECKONS

The home has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and views of the surrounding northern English countryside. Nearby is the Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and the scenic Low and High Force Waterfalls.
Agape House, Chicago, Illinois
Photo credit: Courtesy of scrafano.net

AGAPE HOUSE

Chicago, Illinois
Once a Catholic church in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood, this sanctuary later served as the University of Illinois-Chicago's Agape House religious center until the early 2000s. In 2011, after sitting empty for several years, it was put on the market for $990,000.

Agape House, Chicago, Illinois
Photo credit: Courtesy of scrafano.net

AGAPE HOUSE: AN ARCHITECTURAL SHOWCASE

After extensive renovation, the 11,800-square-foot building began a new life as a single-family home with seven bedrooms and six bathrooms. The exterior was repaired and kept intact and the inside was gutted, with the stained-glass windows and bell tower refurbished and restored.
St. Elisabeth Church, Aachen, Germany
Photo credit: Courtesy of wikimedia.org

ST. ELISABETH CHURCH

Aachen, Germany
Over 100 years old, St. Elisabeth Church was redesigned in 2017 as a coworking space for startups, developers, and entrepreneurs. The nave, where worshippers once prayed, is now a mix of open seating and cubicles.

St. Elisabeth Church, Aachen, Germany
Photo credit: Courtesy of coworker.com

ST. ELISABETH CHURCH: A WORKPLACE FOR THE DIGITAL GENERATION

The architects preserved the historic exterior, its soaring vaulted ceilings, and stained-glass windows, but funky furniture in the lounge (where the apse and altar once were) would be at home in any hip, big-city co-working space.
St. Joseph's At Marienstein Catholic Church, Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: Courtesy of realtor.com

ST. JOSEPH'S AT MARIENSTEIN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania
This former Catholic church was built in 1873. Located on 1.5 acres in Bucks County. Pennsylvania, the wood-sided chapel is now a renovated private residence that retains its original steeple, bell, and stained-glass windows.

St. Joseph's At Marienstein Catholic Church, Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: Courtesy of realtor.com

ST. JOSEPH'S AT MARIENSTEIN CATHOLIC CHURCH: A HOLY HOME

The 2,741-square-foot home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and is for sale for $549,000. The choir loft, converted to a family room, has an iron railing that was salvaged from the historic Packard Building in Philadelphia.
First Church of Christ, Scientist, Montclair, New Jersey
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FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST

Montclair, New Jersey
Built in 1926, this former First Church of Christ, Scientist, was renovated as an eco-friendly office complex in 2012. Architects preserved original details like the 20-foot walnut-paneled window frames, wrought-iron light fixture in the converted rotunda, and wood floors in the entryway.

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Montclair, New Jersey
Photo credit: Courtesy of bravitas.com

FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST: A NEW COMMUNITY HUB

The congregation, which sold the building in 2010 because it couldn't afford the upkeep, still maintains presence in the renovated structure. Other building tenants include physicians, architects, and wellness practitioners.
Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours, Montreal, Canada
Photo credit: Courtesy of ville.montreal.qc.ca

NOTRE-DAME-DU-PERPÉTUEL-SECOURS

Montreal, Canada
The Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), completed in 1920, was the center of Montreal's Little Italy neighborhood for decades. It was decommissioned and sold in 2010, then renovated as a theater and public event space at a cost of $3 million.

Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours, Montreal, Canada
Photo credit: theatre.paradoxe/facebook.com

NOTRE-DAME-DU-PERPÉTUEL-SECOURS: A SPACE TO CELEBRATE

Now known as the Théâtre Paradoxe (Paradox Theater), the building has since hosted everything from Led Zeppelin cover bands to weddings and costume parties. The main auditorium seats up to 300 people.
Church of Santa Barbara, Llanera, Asturias, Spain
Photo credit: Courtesy of inkandmovement.com

CHURCH OF SANTA BARBARA

Llanera, Asturias, Spain
The church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Asturias was designed by Catalan architect Manuel del Busto in 1912. After sitting abandoned for years, work began in 2014 to convert the structure into Kaos Temple at La Iglesia Skate, an indoor skate park.

Church of Santa Barbara, Llanera, Asturias, Spain
Photo credit: Courtesy of inkandmovement.com

CHURCH OF SANTA BARBARA: A PLAYGROUND FOR SKATERS

Where worshippers once prayed, skaters now perform tricks on a massive halfpipe, with colorful, modernist murals by Okuda San Miguel splashed across the walls and ceiling. Kaos Temple opened to the public in 2015 with an inaugural shred by professional skater Danny León.
Chestnut Street Methodist Church, Portland, Maine
Photo credit: Courtesy of tripadvisor.com

CHESTNUT STREET METHODIST CHURCH

Portland, Maine
Built in 1856, the Gothic Revival-style church was deconsecrated in 2009 and resurrected soon thereafter as the Restaurant Grace. The architects preserved the church's 27 stained glass windows, exposed wooden beams, original pipe organ, and painstakingly restored woodwork.

Chestnut Street Methodist Church, Portland, Maine
Photo credit: restaurantgrace/facebook.com

CHESTNUT STREET METHODIST CHURCH: A LINK TO PORTLAND'S PAST

The circa-1856 building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few remaining structures left standing by the architect Charles Alexander, who designed many significant Portland buildings in the mid-1800s.
Dutch Church, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ruud Visser Architects

DUTCH CHURCH

Rotterdam, Netherlands
This former church was built in 1930, abandoned in the 1960s, and later covered in metal siding and used as a garage. The architecture firm of Ruud Visser was hired to redesign the structure and restore as many original details as possible, while building a modern extension that looks out over the De Rotte River.

Dutch Church, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ruud Visser Architects

DUTCH CHURCH: A MIX OF SACRED AND SECULAR

Finished in 2010, it now is a sleek, airy 2,200-square-foot home for a family of four. The architects say their goal was to design a "luxurious house, of normal measurements" where the sacred and secular elements would complement each other.
St. James Anglican Church, Cambridge, Ontario
Photo credit: Courtesy of estatesincanada.com

ST. JAMES ANGLICAN CHURCH

Cambridge, Ontario
This Gothic Revival former church was built in 1893 and is on the market as a renovated house or office building with the original steep roofs, pointed arches, leaded glass windows, vaulting and leaded stained-glass windows.

St. James Anglican Church, Cambridge, Ontario
Photo credit: Courtesy of estatesincanada.com

ST. JAMES ANGLICAN CHURCH: A HOME OR OFFICE

The converted church has 4,000 square feet of finished living space with an impressive hand-crafted wood front door, teak floors, and 29-foot ceilings. The beautiful wood beams and paneling have been lovingly refinished.
Catholic Church, Vught, Netherlands
Photo credit: Courtesy of Stijn Poelstra

CATHOLIC CHURCH

Vught, Netherlands
This 1884 church in southern Holland was recently converted into a multi-purpose community space called The De Petrus Project. The restoration was designed by Dutch architecture firm Molenaar & Bol & vanDillen.

Catholic Church, Vught, Netherlands
Photo credit: Courtesy of Stijn Poelstra

CATHOLIC CHURCH: A RESOURCE FOR THE CITY

The structure contains a public library, as well as workshops, stores and a café. The building is also home to the Vught Museum, a small historical collection of works by local artists.
Warwick Hall, Burford, England
Photo credit: Courtesy of warwickhallburford.org

WARWICK HALL

Burford, England
This 15th-century mansion, located on the grounds of the Church of St John the Baptist in England's Cotswolds region, has also been a school and parish hall. It was reborn in 2017 as a multifunctional space for the local community.

Warwick Hall, Burford, England
Photo credit: Courtesy of warwickhallburford.org

WARWICK HALL: A MULTIPURPOSE SPACE

The original structure, which had been significantly expanded in the 20th century, was restored and expanded further. The highlight is a two-story addition connected to the older building with a gleaming glass-walled hallway. The result is an intimate space for concerts, religious services, and community activities.

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