\u201cIs living in a church creepy?\u201d According to Santiago and Bonnie Suarez, not at all. The couple, who owns the former church on 1035 North Street in Greenwich, said they used to be asked that question all the time. Santiago said he even stayed in the church by himself before committing to its purchase in 2005.\u00a0 \u201cThe next time I went [to the property] with our broker, I said, \u2018Do you mind if I just stay by myself for a couple of hours?\u2019\u201d he said. \u201cI sat there for a couple of hours and the sun was streaming in.\u201d For Bonnie, what makes it feel less like a sacred structure and more like a home are those tall windows that flood the home with light.\u00a0 \u201cIf it had stained glass, it might have felt more religious,\u201d she said. \u201cBut these windows are glorious.\u201d \u201cGlorious\u201d is just one of the words used to describe the North Street property, which is currently on the market for $1.8 million. The word that comes to mind for listing agent Liz Forrest is \u201cspecial.\u201d \u201cI\u2019m actually honored to have this listing,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s just so special and so well done, inside and out. It\u2019s just unlike anything else on the market, particularly in Greenwich.\u201d Long before it ever hit the market, the church was a focal point of local life. Located in the Conyers Farm area of town, the Banksville Baptist Church was built in 1852 in what is known as Banksville, a section of Greenwich that sits about 10 miles from Greenwich Avenue and a stone\u2019s throw from the New York border. When the church was built, it followed a similar design to the Middle Patent Methodist-Episcopal Church in town, but featured \u201ca large baptistry beneath the platform at the front and a balcony above the vestibule,\u201d according to information from the Greenwich Historical Society.\u00a0 The church was the site of an \u201cactive Sunday school,\u201d according to the historical society, along with church picnics and strawberry festivals. On Nov. 11, 1918, the church\u2019s bell \u201crang out the good news across the farms and meadows in the Mianus valley\u201d of the end of World War I, the historical society notes, though in the following years, membership at the church diminished despite several attempts in the 1930s and 1940s to revitalize it. Eventually, it was converted into the private home it is today. Enter the Suarez family in 2005, who toured and eventually purchased the converted two-bedroom, two-bathroom church. While it was obvious to them that it was a unique property to own, they quickly became aware of how much work it needed to make it the downsized studio and living space they imagined after their three grown sons left them empty nesters. \u201cWe sat around looking at it and saying, \u2018What the hell did we just do?\u2019 Santiago said. \u201cWe inherited this beautiful building, but once you started looking at it, it\u2019s like it needed everything.\u201d Describing a \u201chippie family\u201d that lived there before they bought it, Santiago recalled the \u201cred shag carpet\u201d that \u201cwas all over the place\u201d in the church, as well as the altar-like structure in the home. They also uncovered the baptistry that was \u201cthe size of a septic tank\u201d as they began renovations. Leading the charge on its \u201cgut renovation\u201d was New Haven-based Gray Organschi Architecture, which Santiago said they stumbled upon a year after buying the property on a trip to the Elm City to look at its architecture \u2014 and sample its pizza. \u201cWe started looking all over the place [for an architect], and we went for pizza near Yale, and we discovered a guy that had a company there that was doing some pretty interesting things, and that\u2019s what started the relationship,\u201d he said.\u00a0 Stripping the church down to its studs, they set out to create a revamped living space as unique as the property itself, though its overhaul was not without structural improvements, including repairs to the steeple.\u00a0 \u201cThe next thing we saw was that they took the bell down,\u201d Santiago said. \u201cI was like, \u2018Why did they take the bell down?\u2019 The contractors came and started talking about it, and they said they took the bell down because the bell was pulling the steeple over to one side\u2026it was totally straightened and reinforced.\u201d Instead of putting the bell back in its former home, they decided to place it on the lawn as decoration. Putting the bell on the lawn also made the steeple accessible, according to Forrest, who said the spot has been used as the site of several parties at the home.\u00a0 The rest of the home\u2019s renovations were chronicled in a Dwell magazine profile, which highlighted Santiago (a former advertising executive) and Bonnie\u2019s (a professional chef) journey in revamping and redesigning the home. The changes included the addition of a \u201cbirch pod\u201d that \u201cfloats above the great room, hovering where the choir loft stood silent as parishioners entered the church,\u201d according to the Dwell profile, which houses the main suite.\u00a0 The kitchen was also upgraded to suit Bonnie\u2019s professional standards, though it came in a second phase of renovations. They also removed stone from the church\u2019s basement that was used outside to construct a wall in the back of the house. Forrest noted that their additions only enhanced the church\u2019s intrinsic features, like the 16-foot tall windows in the \u201cgrand room\u201d with 20-foot ceilings, or the dramatic S-curved foyer that abuts the kitchen and serves as its back wall.\u00a0 \u201cIt is very dramatic, actually,\u201d Forrest said. \u201cWhen you\u2019re standing outside in front and looking at those columns, they\u2019re just beautiful. They frame that front door magnificently.\u201d The home\u2019s drama doesn\u2019t solely come from these large-scale features. The Suarezes also incorporated several unique finishes throughout the home to polish off its design. Look no further than the front door to see that it\u2019s not a standard church entry.\u00a0 \u201cThe front door was inspired by a sushi bar in Japan that was admired by Santiago and Bonnie,\u201d Forrest said. \u201cSo they came back here and had a replica of this door made. It\u2019s just gorgeous, it\u2019s just like a piece of art.\u201d The door is just one of several globally-inspired features part of the home. Inside, there are two Murano glass chandeliers that the couple got from Venice \u2014 something that was no simple feat. \u201cWe have a Venetian friend\u2026and we were looking for chandeliers with the right proportion for a 20-foot ceiling,\u201d Bonnie said. \u201cOne weekend, it was a Friday, he says, \u2018I got two chandeliers, you gotta come now \u2014 can you come this weekend? Because people are sniffing them out.\u2019 It was a Friday afternoon, and we took a flight Saturday morning, and we\u2019re like, \u2018Are we crazy?\u2019\u201d They purchased both chandeliers \u2014 one made of multicolored glass and one made of clear glass \u2014 which were shipped from Venice and arrived at their home disassembled.\u00a0 \u201cThere were no instructions,\u201d Santiago said. \u201cIt took Santiago a week to open up all the crates because they put miles of cotton netting all around everything,\u201d Bonnie said. \u201cHe unwrapped all these pieces, put these piles of glass all around the rug, and when we were in Venice, he had gotten up on a ladder and was taking close-pictures of exactly every arm, every angle, how everything was supposed to be.\u201d\u00a0 With the help of two Greenwich locals who worked on chandeliers before, Bonnie said it took the four of them a week to reconstruct the chandeliers.\u00a0 The home\u2019s renovations were completed in 2007, and since then, the couple has split their time between the North Street church and New York, where all three of their grown sons reside. When the COVID-19 pandemic crept into the region, the Suarez family found themselves spending more and more time in the Hudson Valley area with their sons and grandchildren than in the isolation of Greenwich. \u201cI used to only go back to Greenwich to go to the dentist and for a knee replacement,\u201d Bonnie said. \u201cAnd that was because I hadn\u2019t found local doctors. So really, during the pandemic, I only went back for those services.\u201d They have since moved and joined their sons in the Hudson Valley permanently, becoming one of many movers in the Northeast to migrate during the pandemic. Besides enjoying the open space and less traffic the area presents, the Suarezes also get to enjoy their sons\u2019 success. One finds new talent for music recording companies. Their second son, Nick Suarez, owns and operates Gaskins \u2014 an eatery with a locally-sourced menu profiled in The New York Times in 2016 \u2014 located on the ironically-named Church Avenue in Germantown. The restaurant serves beer made at the Suarez Family Brewery, run by his brother, Dan.\u00a0 But making the move across state lines means letting go of their Greenwich church and finding a buyer who sees the same value they saw in owning the unique property. \u201cIt\u2019s great for someone who\u2019s creative,\u201d Santiago said. \u201cGreenwich people would not think of living in a church. That\u2019s going to be the hardest thing in selling it. It\u2019s like, \u2018I don\u2019t want to live in a church!\u2019\u2026But since the pandemic, people are starting to think differently: \u2018What do I really want? What do I really need?\u2019\u201d According to Forrest, there\u2019s still that post-COVID appetite among home buyers to find one-of-a-kind properties like the church. \u201cPeople are looking for different things\u2026They want something completely different from the traditional house \u2014 something cool,\u201d she said. \u201cThey\u2019re moving to out West, they\u2019re looking for properties that are different. And this home is a very inspiring home. You\u2019re just inspired inside and out when you\u2019re there.\u201d The 1035 North Street Church is listed by Douglas Elliman \u2013 Greenwich and is presented by Liz\u00a0Forrest (203-651-9674).