- While purchasing and renovating an abandoned home might seem a daunting prospect, these buyers were able to turn neglected buildings into beautiful places to live.
- One couple in Maryland bought a 120-year-old abandoned church and turned it into their full-time home.
- In Indiana, a couple bought a 20,000-square-foot former Freemason temple, which they are renovating.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
All over the world, there are abandoned structures with crumbling walls and decaying foundations that hint at the buildings’ more vibrant days.
Instead of letting these historic buildings waste away entirely, some people are buying them and turning them into livable, charming homes. From churches to farms, these formerly empty buildings are getting a second life.
Take a look at these buildings that were once abandoned – and the beautiful living spaces they have become.
Two empty nesters bought an abandoned farm and turned the main house into a luxury home.
After living in Las Vegas for 15 years, DeWitt and Jean Paul decided to move across the country to Pennsylvania after their children moved out of the house. They wanted a fixer-upper and found an abandoned farm in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. They bought it in 2018 for $US220,000.
They first decided to work on renovating the main house, which was in total disrepair.
“When we walked through the door we didn’t know if we could make it through without gas masks,” DeWitt told Business Insider.
The house was only built 30 years ago, but the 31-acre farm includes three other barns that date back hundreds of years.
The entire abandoned property, however, was overrun with cats.
After doing 90% of the work themselves, the main house has been completely transformed.
After a complete gut renovation, the kitchen is modern with a white colour palette.
The master bedroom has also been transformed from dark and dreary to colourful and cosy.
The house has five bedrooms and six bathrooms.
Although there is still some work left to be done in the main house, what is finished has been expertly designed.
When Business Insider spoke to DeWitt in May, the couple had spent $US150,000 in turning their abandoned farm into a livable home.
A couple bought a 120-year-old church in Maryland after it sat empty for decades.
In 2016, Anastasiia and Gunther bought the church that was located just down the road from their house in Maryland for $US320,000, Business Insider reported. The All Saints’ Church dates back 120 years and was used as a house of worship until the 1950s. For the next few decades, the building remained abandoned until it was deconsecrated in the ’70s.
One of the home’s biggest transformations was the kitchen, which took three months to complete.
The couple had to fix the plumbing and electrical wiring, while also installing new cabinetry and countertops.
Now, the kitchen is a mixture of old and new.
“We try to keep everything as original as possible, as the owners prior to us did,” Anastasiia told Business Insider. “We don’t want to change anything that would damage the architectural integrity of the building.”
But the home’s real showstopper is the great hall and its soaring ceilings.
In this room, the ceilings reach 25 feet.
The master bedroom is on the second floor, overlooking the great hall.
In all, the abandoned church has been remodeled to house three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
A building that once belonged to Christian Scientists sat vacant for decades before it was turned into luxury condos.
Located on Dolores Park in San Francisco, the structure was built in 1915. Sometime later, the building – which became known as the Light House – was turned into a Christian Scientists church. Throughout the 1900s, the building became abandoned and fell into disrepair. Right before it was about to be knocked down, Siamak Akhavan, a local seismic engineer, bought it in 2011.
For the next four years, Akhavan renovated the previously abandoned building and turned it into three luxury condos.
Each of the condos costs around $US6.5 million.
The condos are large and spacious, combining modern appliances with the building’s original architecture.
The wood features, brickwork, and industrial beams were all saved in the demolition process.
One of the luxury condos is 5,525 square feet and has three bedrooms.
The condo also comes with a two-car parking garage.
Although the previously abandoned building has been converted into a modern home, it has been a difficult sell.
McGuire Real Estate leasing agent Jeanne Zimmermann told Business Insider, “Conversion properties are very popular to a niche market.”
A vacant, crumbling basement in this building in Bath, England, was turned into a $US590,000 apartment.
Jamie Barrow, a professional snowboarder in England, bought a two-story basement in 2016. Three years later, Barrow started the renovation process.
Since the building is considered a historical landmark, Barrows had to be careful to preserve its history.
Barrows told Insider he believes the basement was originally used as servant quarters for the larger house.
Now, the quarters have been transformed into a modern home with historical touches.
The fireplace in the back of the kitchen is part of the original building.
Before the renovations began, the basement resembled a dungeon.
“It wasn’t actually a dungeon, but it was a very scary place to come down to. When you came down before, the doors were falling off, there was no light, it was like something out of a scary film like ‘Saw,'” Barrow told Insider.
After five months of renovation, Barrows completely transformed the space.
“People would never imagine what you could turn this property into,” he said. “I was able to prove them wrong.”
A family bought an abandoned Freemason temple in Indiana for $US89,000.
Theresa and Atom Cannizzaro stumbled upon the abandoned Masonic temple, which the Freemasons used to use as a meeting place. When the group moved their temple to another location, they abandoned the building and it went up for sale.
The Cannizzaros decided to buy the building for $US89,000 in 2017 and turn it into a home for their family.
While most of the building is abandoned, the couple is slowly renovating it one space at a time.
The Cannizzaros plan to renovate this room and make it an Airbnb. But they foresee that being one of the later projects.
One of the first projects the couple completed was building a kitchen on the second floor.
The building is 20,000 square feet, but the family only turned a small space on the second floor into their living quarters.
“We built the kitchen from scratch,” Theresa told Insider. “We custom-built everything.”
Although the building had six bathrooms, there was nowhere to bathe, so they had to build a shower.
“Our first priority when we moved into the building was to put in the shower,” Theresa said. “It was our very first project.”
On the second floor, there’s also a lavish library with built-in bookcases.
The glass on each bookcase has a Masonic symbol etched into the surface, which Theresa, a history buff, loves.
The Great Room has still yet to be renovated, but the couple has big plans for it.
The Freemasons held most of their official meetings in this large room. Now, the Cannizzaro family uses it as a theatre or as a massive playroom for the children. They hope to one day turn it into a community space for local events.
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