In Rockport, Maine, a popular seaside tourist destination and arts center, a tall steepled edifice occupies a prominent hillside site, offering great views of the harbor. Built in 1875 for the local Methodist congregation, the church was later deconsecrated and turned into a sleek modern house by Nancy Talbot, founder of Talbots clothing stores, around 1965. The current owners purchased the property in 1998 and have continued to renovate and expand the once holy residence.
With six bedrooms and six bathrooms, plus two half-baths, in 9,500 square feet, the sophisticated home is now available for about $2.7 million with LandVest Christie’s International Realty agents Joseph Sortwell and Terry Sortwell.
Set upon 0.87 of an acre, the former church stands four stories, including an extensive addition. Plenty of historic features like the lovely old windows and floors remain, while decidedly non-1875 updates include one gigabit fiber optic Internet (a speed rare in Maine), thirteen skylights that open automatically to improve air flow, and an elevator.
There are two living spaces: the main residence, with four en-suite bedrooms and two powder rooms, and an in-law or guest apartment, with two bedrooms and two baths. Renovated in 2017, the apartment provides a spacious kitchen and pantry as well as a living room with a wood-burning fireplace with marble surround. The apartment also has its own private entrance, private driveway, deck and laundry.
Once the sanctuary, the living room centers the main residence. The room soars 19 feet high, with tall lancet windows and a wood-burning fireplace. The dining room is lined with windows and the fully up-to-date kitchen is stocked with high-end appliances, a large island, leathered granite counters, a wine cooler, and a butler’s pantry. There’s a six-foot wide custom double-sided propane fireplace in the kitchen for chilly mornings and evenings and wonderful harbor views thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.
Outside are three decks, each at a different level, accessed by huge glass doors. There are also two patios, one centered on a firepit. The meandering hillside and Japanese gardens are automatically irrigated, while the attached two car garage features a mudroom with built-in dog shower. There’s even an exercise room, which would probably amaze or amuse those 1875 Methodists (along with the dog shower), but surely they’d be pleased the church they built still exists.