BLOSSBURG — A former Catholic church is getting a new life as an Airbnb destination.
The former St. Andrew’s Church was the site of an open house at 14 Granger Street on Sunday, July 5.
The man behind the remodeling is Jim West of Mansfield.
“I’ve done a lot of remodeling, flipping houses. I’ve always wanted to do a church and a barn,” said West. “Well, I got the church, but there won’t be a barn.”
West, with Amarosa Carpentry as general contractor, started work on the project in December 2019 and finished seven months later.
In recent years, churches have become much more readily available for remodeling or repurposing, said West. He purchased the 3,200-square foot building from dentist Stephen Ollock.
It was important to West to maintain the integrity of the original brick building, constructed in 1916. In many areas, he did little more than add new flooring and paint. He retained all the stained glass windows, except for some bedrooms where egress windows had to replace a portion of the stained glass.
The hand-painted ceiling arches, which once held portraits of the 12 apostles, remain. Visitors can see the pencil markings in some areas where the painter, Antonio D’Ambrosio, sketched out the location and size of the design components for the 100th anniversary in 1951.
Entering from the front, visitors walk beneath the choir loft into an open area which formerly held rows of pews for congregational seating. A kitchen and dining area is located in the front area, while a hallway leads back to three bedrooms and a small living room. The living room is situated in the altar area while the sacristy now houses bunk beds.
“This one layed out quite well for my purpose,” West said, noting that he essentially created a living space within the church building.
In the altar/sacristy area, he built a second floor to house more living space and the main bedroom which has a walk-in closet, bath, sitting area and close up view of the painted ceiling.
“Imagine waking up to that view every morning,” he said.
The bells are still attached and visitors on Sunday — particularly the younger set — would ask to hear them ring.
“It’s one of a kind. It truly is,” he said.
Several former members of the church, which closed in 2007, attended the open house.
“It is beautiful. I can’t believe he could restore it and keep the integrity of the church and still make it functional,” said Jack Eckman, who helped with the church’s maintenance and rang the bells for funerals.
His wife, Mary, said it was her first time back in the building since it closed.
“It’s wonderful he was able to save it,” she said.
Several guests have already discovered the “castle,” as it is labeled in the Airbnb site and the building has several dates booked through October. Some couples have asked to be married in the building, and a visitor inquired about hosting a chamber music concert there for the Endless Mountain Music Festival.
To book the building through Airbnb, visit www.airbnb.com.