Buyers devoted to finding church conversions

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Heaven sent: Jane Matthews and partner Jeff, with their son Banjo, bought a converted church in Laidley. Pic Jamie Hanson

Couples in the market for a property with charm and character are devoting their attention to buying converted churches and warehouses across the state.

Jane Matthews, 35, and Jeff Moulton, 41, of Laidley, loved the idea of living in a converted church, but never dreamt it would become a reality.

“We had been renting in an inner suburb of Brisbane, which was lovely and convenient, but with the arrival of Banjo (our son) last year we found that we needed more space and a more child-friendly home,” Ms Matthews said.

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“Knowing what our budget was, I quickly found that there was not going to be anything in Brisbane that suited our needs, so I started expanding my search to surrounding regions. I had also liked the idea of a quieter lifestyle in a country town.”

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The converted Baptist church at 25 Samuel St, Laidley

The couple came across the old Baptist church in Samuel St, Laidley, built in 1954 but recently renovated, and fell in love the sense of space and light in the house.

“There is something romantic about the idea of it I guess,” Ms Matthews said. “There has been quite a few jokes about ghosts and spirits haunting the space but we are yet to come across any.

“Coming from a house that was a quarter of the size, it felt so open and airy. With Jeff being a singer, he also fell in love with the acoustics.”

She said the previous owner had spent the past few years converting the church, which now has five bedrooms, and a turret.

“He has sensitively fit the bedrooms and living spaces into the church footprint, with the white walls bringing out the wonderful stained-glass windows and wood panelling,” Ms Matthews said.

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The couple loved its light and airy feel. Photo: Supplied

Her favourite aspect of the church that still remains is the baptismal font, which is part of their kitchen and dining area.

“With its beautiful stained-glass window featuring the River Jordan and steps into and out of the bath, it is quite a striking feature in the room,” she said.

“I also love the original floorboards. As you walk down the hallway, which has been angled to slope down towards the alter, you can see marks from the women’s shoes where they would have entered the pews and rows of seats from the centre aisle.”

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The home’s kitchen

William Ellyett, studio director at Brisbane’s Myers Ellyett Architects, said cities were growing and older industrial areas located close to the city were becoming gentrified.

“There are a lot of warehouses, schools, churches and factories that in a bygone era made sense being 1km from the city, but are now being transformed into homes, offices, bars and restaurants,” Mr Ellyett said.

He said councils also had a desire to preserve the historical and cultural fabric of a city so it became part of its narrative.

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The house has towering ceilings

Mr Ellyett said building costs being higher than they had ever been was another reason to convert existing buildings.

“The new norm is $3000 a square metre for anything that has a high-end quality to it, up to $4000-$5000 a square metre for the top end,” he said.

“So when you start talking a high number of construction dollars it makes a lot of sense to maintain and restore existing buildings.”

Mr Ellyett’s studio is in a converted church at Paddington – a 1970s slapdashery build.

“The owners bought it because there’s value in the land, however, they have committed to a very tasteful renovation of the church. The renovation was a fraction of the cost to build new, was quickly filled with interesting tenants and there is a lot of communal pride in the building because the streetscape and fabric was preserved and improved.”

In Eumundi the former St George Anglican Church, with the original tower bell, is going to auction on March 28 after being privately owned and occupied for 10 years.

Designed and built in 1912, Adam Kuczynski of Noosa Hinterland Realty – Eumundi said the beautiful church had been maintained in its original state.

He said the one-bedroom propery featured the original outdoor toilet, which “sits proudly” in the open backyard.

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This eight-bedroom, five-bathroom property at 18-20 Bailey St was suitable for someone to move right in

Hugo Alexander Property Group principal Adam Nobel is taking a converted warehouse at West End to auction on April 4, and said a “real mix” of buyers had showed interest.

Mr Nobel said the eight-bedroom, five-bathroom property at 18-20 Bailey St was suitable for someone to move right in, knock it down and build up to eight storeys.

“We’ve had someone who wants to covert it into a house, it’s zoned as a place of worship – that’s pretty rare as there’s not a lot of inner city churches of this size,” Mr Nobel said

“It has a creche, a mum’s room, and audio visual set up. It’s pretty phenomenal.”

suitable for someone to live in, can knock it over and build eight storeys.

“This is so many people’s dream. It’s more special than a usual home. Most homes now are fairly vanilla”.

HEAVENS ABOVE

Converted warehouse

Auction April 4 at 10am

18-20 Bailey St, West End

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A former warehouse at 18-20 Bailey Street, West End, has been converted and is awaiting a new owner.

Converted church

Auction March 28 at 3pm

15 Cook St, Eumundi

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15 Cook St, Eumundi goes to auction on March 28 at 3pm.