Can an old church be converted into a boring McMansion?

Curbed presents an example of an old church building with a so-called boring McMansion interior:

In a harrowing example of conversions gone wrong—or if not wrong at least boring—this stunning landmark church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio seems to have fallen victim to one very unholy makeover. Currently on the market for $439K, the three-bedroom, 2,635-square-foot home looks the same as always from the outside, but offers the dullest, boxiest new interiors imaginable—with a veritable sea of beige walls and oatmeal colored carpeting. Even the massive windows—the crowning glory of most church-to-home conversions—seem to be sporting some sort of weird framing over the lovely original glass. Sure, some of the blame can probably be shifted to the staging, but there’s just no getting around the general awkwardness of the layout.

Here is the problem with claiming that this is a McMansion: typically, the term McMansion is applied to exteriors. In that sense, this home has done everything right. They took an old church, presumably one that was no longer being used as a home for a religious congregation, kept the historic exterior, and only renovated the interior. The home is not ridiculously large; the listing says it is just over 2,600 square feet and the size is masked a bit by the building’s exterior. The church is in an older neighborhood so this renovation avoided either a teardown situation or building another McMansion on the exurban fringe. The home can’t immediately impress the average passer-by, supposedly a key feature for status-hungry McMansion owners, as they would probably think it is a church rather than a home.

Is an interior enough to make this renovated church a McMansion? I think one could complain about the interior design, particularly if it misses an opportunity to take advantage of a unique building, without placing it the category of McMansion which carries with it all sorts of other connotations.

0 thoughts on “Can an old church be converted into a boring McMansion?

  1. Back in the 70s I would attend a church in Ruidosa, NM when I was there for weekends. I returned to Ruidosa in 2003 and was disappointed to see that the church building had been converted into t ski shop. I went to the shop and in talking with the owners found out the rest of the story. The church had grown to the point that it needed to expand, but no one wanted to buy the old church building. So a couple in the church bought the building, opened a ski shop in the front part of the facility, and remodeled to make their home in the rest of the space. It was a good solution for the church and allowed them to proceed with the new building. One downside: the couple said it was hard to get used to sleeping in the room where they used to have adult Sunday School!

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