This Colorful Converted Church in New Jersey Hits All the Right Notes

This Colorful Converted Church in New Jersey Hits All the Right Notes
This building has been standing on the same piece of land in Cream Ridge, NJ, since 1903. In the last five years, it’s been transformed into a marvelous home.
Before 2015, the 3,682-square-foot building on Davis Station Road served as the Upper Freehold Baptist Church.
The current owners, including a father who is now 87, and his son, bought the former church for $110,000 five years ago. Today, it’s a single-family home, on the market for $675,000.
“They restored it from an abandoned church into this amazing house,” says the listing agent, Valerie Vargas. Much of the original was retained, she notes, “so all the architectural features are still there.”
That includes the gorgeous stained-glass windows in almost every room, as well as the organ pipes, donated by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie stepped in to help the congregation rebuild, after a fire destroyed the original structure in 1903. The organ pipes are now a bar area in the huge main room.
In addition to the great room, both bedrooms and bathrooms feature the original stained-glass windows.
“It’s amazing. It literally takes your breath away,” Vargas says.
The current owners spent about $750,000 to restore the property. They updated all the infrastructure, including the electrical and plumbing systems.
“It was pretty much a tear-down, and they put money into restoring and renovating it,” Vargas explains. “They also had to do structural work. You’re taking something that was a church and now making a living space, so you have to add everything.”
The church’s former sanctuary now serves as the home’s great room, which measures a jaw-dropping 50-by-35 feet.
“You come in through the front door, and it’s very pretty. And then there’s a second set of doors that just opens to the grand great room,” Vargas explains. “Once you step into that, it’s just so vast and powerful.”
The church’s original tin ceilings are visible throughout the main living space, as well as in the bedrooms and other rooms.
The kitchen has a more modern feel.
“When you’re in that great room and in the bedroom, the windows are stained glass,” Vargas says. In the kitchen, on the other hand, “It’s all custom cabinetry, granite, farmhouse sink, and high-end appliances.”
Vargas notes that the current owners are “brokenhearted” to give up the property.
“As much as they love this, and they’re so sad because they spent so many years restoring this thing from top to bottom,” she says, “financially, it just doesn’t make sense for them to keep it anymore.”
In 2018, the family won a preservation award from the Monmouth County Historical Commission for the renovation.
The church bell still works, and the owners ring it every year on New Year’s when the clock strikes midnight, Vargas says.
The purple exterior and the interior colors were the choice of the family matriarch, an artist who died a few years ago. She matched the colors in the stained glass exactly, Vargas says, adding that it achieves a harmonious balance.
The congregation that used to own the church had been in existence since 1737, since the community was a Patriot stronghold during the American Revolution. It moved to the Davis Station Road location in 1850.

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