Converting a house of God

Steve Chapman

Following an incredible amount of demolition, the wall frame of the future master bedroom is up in Whittaker’s church-to-home project. (Photo submitted)

Samantha Whittaker and her dog, Nixi, stand in front of the old Methodist church building in Miller that will soon become their home.

Tall task of major renovation doesn’t scare enthusiastic new owner Whittaker
A building that was formerly a house of God is about to become a house. Samantha Whittaker, a Miller resident, is converting the old United Methodist Church building into a personal residence that will become her home.
Whittaker said she got the idea to make the church building into a house about a year go when the quarantine began.
“We went on a family walk sometime (last) March,” she said, “and the conversation came up, and I (said), ‘Hey, is anybody still meeting at the old Methodist church?’ And my parents (said), ‘No, I think it closed.’”
Whittaker purchased the building from the United Methodist Church and the work of remodeling it began. One of the first things to be done was to remove the old church furnishings. The building still had its pews and two pulpits. There were also a lot dishes and appliances in the kitchen.
Whittaker sold the pews, keeping two for herself. She also kept a lot of the dishes for herself, but offered the appliances to people in town who needed them.
Then came the work of refitting the building. A new leveled floor was built over the original sloping floor and the drop ceiling was replaced. Before the work is finished, Whittaker said, the building will also have all new electrical wiring, new plumbing and a new HVAC system.
Other work is currently in progress to help make the building more energy efficient.
“It’s finally starting to get interior walls,” Whittaker said. “All of the windows are going to be replaced. The biggest challenge in buying a place like this is how do you afford to live in it; how do you afford to heat it?”
 Whittaker said she took ownership in its early stages; she designed the layout for the building.
“I think what I’m most proud of is that all of the designs (and) the floor plans have been my own,” she said.
Converting a building is a very demanding project, but Whittaker said her enthusiasm is helping her see the work through.
“It basically consumes every (moment) of my free time and every thought all of the time,” she said. “Again, all of the design work … has been me. I think when you take on a project this abnormal, you’ve got to be pretty enthusiastic about it. It’s just me and my dog, and I’m in my 20s, so there’s no better time to take on a project like this.”
Whittaker said her goal is to be moved into the new building by Labor Day.


Lawrence County Record

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