In the town of Okarche, Oklahoma, there is an old church that has been standing there since 1893. Except these days, it’s not a church at all, but a woman’s house.
When the town was getting ready to tear down this abandoned Congregational Church, Suzan Alig stepped in to buy it. She had always loved the building and she could tell it would make a beautiful home. Once she got the chance to own it, she enlisted her son to help her turn this old church into her dream house, and the results are beautiful.
Before Suzan Alig bought the church, the town was about to tear it down.
At that time, no one was using that church for anything. It was more or less wasting space, but Suzan loved the building and she didn’t want to see it destroyed. Before buying the church, she had a vision of exactly what it would look like if she lived there.
One day before buying the church, Suzan walked into the building and saw the sunset light flooding the area. She loved the potential for beauty that the church had. Fortunately, her son John is an architect, and he could help her make her dreams a reality.
Even before buying the church, the family had ties to the space.
The town’s Congregational Church served as a meeting area for all sorts of people. John, Suzan’s son, even attended Boy Scout meetings in the church’s basement.
But, John remembers the church as a musty and somewhat gross building. If it was already in bad shape when he was a kid, it must have been worse by the time Suzan bought it, and John couldn’t really understand why his mom would want to live there.
With John as the architect and contractor, Suzan’s vision was able to come to life.
Hiring your son for this remodeling job must have been helpful, because he was able to understand exactly what his mom wanted from the building.
John tells KFOR about his participation by saying that his experience in his family and in the town helped the process a lot:
“I knew the structure. I knew what we wanted to do. And I obviously knew the client.”
In the process of changing the church into a home, they kept a few important signature parts.
You can’t have a church without a bell, so the Aligs decided to keep the bell, and the rope that you pull on to ring it. Suzan says her grandkids especially love that part.
They also kept the original hardwood floors and the ceiling of the building. In particular, the ceiling is arched and has beams, which makes the house look beautiful in a gothic way, and unique.
They also added on some luxurious spaces.
In total, this house has seven staircases. That means that there are all sorts of spaces to explore and create as you want it to. Suzan’s son John added on a rectory above her garage in order to give her a living space. The rectory has Suzan’s favorite part of the house: her dream bathroom connected to her bedroom.
In addition to the lofts and basements that John built for this house, the Aligs noticed that there was some extra space underneath the front door. In that nook, they put in a beautiful wine cellar complete with a glass floor and a statue of a priest. Talk about luxury!
For an abandoned church that she bought with only $10,000, Suzan Alig did a great job making this church a home!
To celebrate this remodel, the family gave the house a name that fits its past and future: Kirchin Haus. In German, that means “Church House”. After two years of remodeling, it’s inspiring to see that this family took a risk that paid off well, and to see their design dreams come true.
To see more of the stunning inside, watch the video below!
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