Gothic-style former church, designed by Charles Cassell, marble block with slate roof, circa 1875. Complete, high-end, interior renovation into three-story, 5,100 sq. ft., 5 bed, 3 bath home. Cathedral ceilings, original lancet windows, skylights, sky bridge, atrium, large formal and informal entertaining spaces in open area floor plan. Gourmet kitchen with quartz countertops, island, Aga stove. Built-ins, hardwood floors. Large basement with rock-climbing wall and workshop. Wrought iron fencing, off-street parking, landscaped and fenced back garden: $1,250,000.
What: Underneath the spiritual significance of a church is an underpinning of architecture that gives expression to the soul. This is why church conversions can be so awe-inspiring, although they are not without problems. Often, by the time they come up for sale, they are in pretty bad shape. All that vertical space can be hard to work with, and typically, they don’t have much in the way of a yard.
Here, all those problems have been resolved by an impeccable architectural restoration from about 10 years ago. The result is a stunning and human-scale dwelling that will make you want to live up to your home. Designed as an Episcopal church in 1875 by noted architect Charles Cassell, who also built the chapel at the University of Virginia, the congregation had run out of steam by the 1980s. It was then sold to the Bolton Hill Synagogue, which soon moved north to Roland Park. Rather than see it torn down, a group of neighbors bought it and carefully vetted interested buyers to determine their plans for the building. In 2005, a family took up the challenge and transformed the church into a warm, comfortable home that still inspires awe.
Where: Bolton Street is a wide, tree-lined boulevard that runs right through the heart of Bolton Hill, from North Avenue south to Dolphin Street. Local spots are B Bistro, On the Hill Cafe and Park Cafe & Coffee Bar. The Bolton Hill Nursery is too sweet for words. It’s a short walk to MICA, and another 10 minutes to the MARC train at Penn Station for D.C. commuters. Neighbors are a close and interesting group — ambassadors, artists, journalists, and doctors. Blue plaques on buildings commemorate the famous ones.
Why: Tranquility. There is a real Zen (or other) spirit to the space.
Why Not: No garage.
Would Suit: Architectural connoisseurs looking to ditch suburbia for unique city digs.
NB: The little sitting room, pictured below, is really a magical place.