March 25, 2007
The HGTV Show "What You Get for Your Money" featured a church turned home on Ruckersville.
Mount Paran is an old church in Greene County that dates all the way back to 1854.
Bruce Wardell, an architect with BRW Architects in Charlottesville, bought Mount Paran when it was on the market years ago.
He vividly remembers the first day he ever stood inside that church.
“It was this perfect image of a rural Virginia church, and it was just captivating,” said Wardell.
He went home that day with the idea to turn it into a home.
An architect by trade, Wardell went straight to work, turning the holy sanctuary into a livable house.
“It just became evident that the main sanctuary space would be a great set of proportions for a living room, dining room, kitchen, family room kind of space,” said Wardell.
“What is still original is the 16-foot tin ceilings, the hardwood floors and plaster walls,” said Susan Wheeler, whose family currently lives in the old church.
The fellowship wing became four bedrooms and three bathrooms where the Wheelers have lived for the past seven years.
“I love to get up in the morning and make a fresh pot of coffee and look out all these windows and see the beautiful mountains, and that’s something that I’ll love and that I'll miss when we move in closer to town,” said Wheeler.
Her eight-year-old daughter Chloe says she'll miss a lot about this house as well.
“I like the backyard because it’s so big, and there’s lots of room to play, and today I just finished building a fort,” said Chloe.
But the entire Wheeler family admits the best part about living in here is the more than 150 years of history within the walls.
“You can never lay claim that you own all that history and that we are really just the guardians right now, and it’s been just a wonderful tenure being here,” said Susan.
Wardell said, “You benefit from that sense of history, but you are still able to live there in a very modern way.”