From Olden Church to Soaring Modern Marvel

Who lives here: A family of 8
Location: Moonee Ponds neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia
Size: 5,274 square feet; 4 or 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
Budget: $1.55 million

When an 1892 Anglican church outside Melbourne, Australia, came on the market, husband-and-wife architects Dominic and Marie Bagnato jumped at the chance to save the weatherboarded structure from being bought and turned into a commercial office space. With old churches like it becoming a rarity in the area — the smallish designs can't support growing congregations, so churchgoers are consolidating into larger spaces — the couple decided that converting the building into an awe-inspiring modern home would help ensure its staying power. “We wanted to preserve the architecture and retain the look but bring it to a 21st-century house on the inside,” Marie says.

Of course, adding a little style didn't hurt, either. Since it was listed as a heritage site, the architects could do only so much to the existing structure. So they created a mezzanine with two bedrooms and a rumpus room in the old church structure and added a new modern building with a plush master suite, ramping up the square footage to accommodate the current occupants: a doctor, his wife and their six kids.

With the home's hundred-year-old trusses and ceiling, and high-end decor, being inside it today is nearly a religious experience.

text by: Mitchell Parker

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