Lord, bless my house.

A family of seven in Ohio is singing their praises for finally getting the chance to convert a local church into their home. But it took divinely inspired creativity to make the existing fixtures in this 1903 house of worship work.

Pews became seating in the dining and home-schooling rooms. The baptismal font — yeah that’s now the kitchen sink.

“To think of all the lives that were transformed in this steel tub gives you goosebumps,” commercial contractor Matt Gray, 38 — who along with his 39-year-old wife Kristen bought the former Pleasant Hill Church of God in the village of Pleasant Hill for $50,000 in late 2020 — told SWNS of the latter fixture. “Now it is living a bit less glamorous life as our kitchen sink, regardless we are excited that it could be salvaged and used.”

The Grays, who share two sons and three daughters aged between 8 and 15, spent five months turning the church into a residence — but the journey to get where they are now dates back several years.

The family painted the church's exterior black.
The family painted the church’s exterior black.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS
Inside, a baptismal font is used for a sink and former pews are now dining and schooling seats. There's even a slide that the family enjoys.
Inside, a baptismal font is used for a sink and former pews are now dining and schooling seats. There’s even a slide that the family enjoys.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS

In 2016, while living in the nearby city of Troy, the family wanted to move to be closer to the children’s then-school in Pleasant Hill — and the parents didn’t want to cross as many busy roads to arrive.

“We heard through the rumor mill that the church had land south of town and was looking to build a new facility,” said Matt. “My wonderfully creative, yet slightly too creative wife, Kristen, came up with this idea that was crazy at the time, yet the idea grew legs,” he added of the designer who now teaches the kids at home.

It took some five years for the family to reach their goal of living in this former church.
It took some five years for the family to reach their goal of living in this former church.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS
There are now four bedrooms inside.
There are now four bedrooms inside.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS

In just two weeks, the couple approached the church and pitched the idea of buying the building. Discussions lasted a few weeks, but the church ultimately rejected the offer, saying it wasn’t the right time.

In the meantime, the husband and wife — hoping the church deal would happen — accepted an offer on their home, and then moved into a fixer-upper that they bought at auction. The church, however, remained on their minds.

“We thought about it every day since we first walked through it,” said Kristen.

This bathroom comes complete with a soaking tub.
This bathroom comes complete with a soaking tub.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS
The renovation took a total of five months, and even the kids took part in turning the space into their home.
The renovation took a total of five months, and even the kids took part in turning the space into their home.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS
The family not only has a home with curb appeal, but also one that they got to turn into their personal paradise.
The family not only has a home with curb appeal, but also one that they got to turn into their personal paradise.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS

In 2020, and after two house flips, the church reached out to the family to tell them construction began on their new house of worship and that they were ready to sell.

“I think they really appreciated the idea and the fact that the building would now house a new purpose and would not be torn down to create a parking lot as previously proposed,” said Matt. “In a way that only God himself could orchestrate, the timing and financial positioning of all of the above happened in a fully coordinated and perfectly timed way.”

Decorating began as soon as possible. The couple upgraded the electrical and plumbing, put on a new metal roof and painted the exterior black. They even got the kids involved in designing their own bedrooms, plus entertaining areas such as a craft room, a game room, a television room and reading areas. For kicks, there’s even a slide that zooms down from an upper mezzanine. As for that kitchen, it’s quite large.

A living area where the family can relax.
A living area where the family can relax.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS

“We’ve never had a house where all seven of us can cook in the kitchen together but here we can and we love that so much,” said Kristen.

There are now four bedrooms in sum, as well as three full bathrooms and three powder rooms.

Meanwhile, the parents got a big master suite with a walk-in shower and a soaking tub. Other perks include a gym area and office spaces.

The family first approached the church in 2016 and offered to buy it. But the church at that point said a sale was too soon.
The family first approached the church in 2016 and offered to buy it. But the church at that point said a sale was too soon.
Matt and Kristen Gray / SWNS

Church ephemera still remain. A wooden cross was “left behind” and a church attendance board is now in the bell tower.

Despite the building now serving as the family’s home, they still want the community to use it for bible study and a food bank.

“This small town has a huge heart full of amazing people, we simply try to hold up our end of that bargain and do things the right way,” said Matt.



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