April 9, 2008

I Live in a Church


Well, I live in a real house attached to the back of a church. But it's not a church anymore, it's more...um..our front yard. If you look behind the church you can see separate roof tops and a chimney. That's the house. It was moved to this location in 1957 and attached to the church to serve as the "education wing." But it's a real four bedroom house built around 1915. The church was built in 1904. There is no yard attached to this property, so the church sanctuary literally is our front yard. The space is free of pews, so the kids can run and play as much as they like. I tell people instead of mowing, I vacuum.

When we moved in, there were plenty of half baths, but no tubs or showers, so we had to install them. And there was no kitchen. It was removed from the house when it became the education wing. So we got to design a new kitchen in a beautifully sunny room that used to be a formal dining room. It's a lot of space to maintain, but the kids love it and it's making lots of fun memories for them.

10 comments:

Marlene said...

I've always dreamed of rennovating a church to be my home. The archeticture is always so interesting! If I was your kids I'd be telling my friends I lived in a castle, with a turret and all. The sidewalk would be a make-believe moat.

Jena said...

ha! yes, they do live in a castle! They even get up on the tower and look down. We've had some grand parties in the open space--several balls where we teach English Country dancing. The next project is producing a musical (my husband is a composer). Never a dull moment around here--that's why I knit--I need a quiet place of sanity.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is awesome! How long have you lived in the church/house? I imagine it IS a lot to maintain, but how beautiful, too!

Jena said...

suzanne,

We moved here in June 2005. But this isn't our first time living in a church. From 1994-97 we lived in a church that didn't have a house attached. My husband built an apartment in the basement, enclosing the church kitchen and a few Sunday school rooms. We ran a youth center over our heads in the old sanctuary. So we knew what we were getting into when we moved here. This place is a lot better set up and in better shape than the last church we lived in.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting life you live!!
In addition to your blog, you should consider writing your memoirs.

Kimmie said...

Oh Jena-what a lovely home you have...my heart is a flutter. I ponder what we could do to get more space, so we can do more adoptions (after this one)...after seeing your beautiful home (all 7,000 sq. feet of it!!!) I have a new sense of peace that God is able to take care of all the details (if it is His will) and bless my heart just the same.

Thanks for sharing your home...it really, REALLY blessed my heart.

I am curious about what types of renovations you've done.

Cool that your husband is a composer!

What a wonderful place to knit. I am knitting my first pair of socks on dpn...out of alpaca...I am so excited, as it has been a dream to learn how to do it...not done yet, but now I have a mentor to help me through the heel and toe parts.

Love your home Jena!

Kimmie
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Jena said...

I'm glad to hear you like our living situation because sometimes we wonder if we'd ever be able to sell. :)

Our renovations?

Well, this place didn't need much because it had a very generous congregation caring for it for the last 20 years. There's a house attached to the back (moved here in the 1950's)and we do our regular living there. It had no kitchen and no showering facilities (only toilets and sinks). It also had some dividing walls in the living room area. So we took down those walls, pulled up some carpet (beautiful oak beneath), put in tubs, and added a kitchen in what used to be the dining room. I should just do a post about the whole thing soon. This place has an interesting history to go along with it.

If you want to find a big old church to move into, you should check out small towns in the Midwest. There seem to be at least one for sale in every town. We got ours for the same price as a 3 bedroom ranch.

Kimmie said...

Hi Jena

thanks for answering my questions...hmm, not sure if I am ready for a move to the midwest, though when I told my knight that you said you'd *let us know* if you sold...he said,"I'd just have to take the Bar in Illinois." Guess he is more ready than I thought.
I do love New England though.

Kimmie
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Jena said...

I bet there are churches for sale in New England too. :)

L Harris said...

I live in a church too. If you get a chance, come check out my blog. We have tonnes of renos to do. And we have a large yard. It's fun! We love it.

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