Imagine getting a phone call telling you that your dream home is on the market—and it’s a 7,500-square foot church on Baymiller. Dayton Historic District resident Abdiel Acevedo got that call. If he wanted it, the church was his. Despite the months of work it would require, he moved fast to secure the property, sold his home down the street, and began renovations. While he’s currently working on the two rental units on-site, we caught up with Acevedo to hear what it was like renovating the historic property.
Tell us about the renovation process—taking this church and turning into your home. The renovation process was extremely difficult, but rewarding. It was incredible to see this beautiful historic church slowly come back to life day-by-day. When I think back and look at photos of the original structure that I walked through nine months ago, I think to myself, although it had so many flaws, those imperfections are what made me fall in love with the building.
What’s your favorite part of the home? Now that I’ve been here for a couple of months, I can truly share what I love most about the building. The morning light gleaming through the 20-foot, amber-paneled windows has to be up there. The sunrise is enhanced by the beautiful, tall windows and the morning and evening light is incredible. The building is stand-alone and light surrounds the entire structure.
What do you love about the West End neighborhood? This is a good question. The list is too long and this neighborhood is really what’s made me reinvest and continue to call this place home. I love the architecture and the rich history that comes with each one of these homes. The West End is magical and although I’ve only been here about nine years, when I walk through these streets and talk to people that have been here their entire lives, you can get the sense that this place has been magical for a very long time. I love the people, the diverse backgrounds and the teachings that the neighbors [and] neighborhood have to offer.
What challenges did you face throughout the rehab process? It’s no big secret that it’s extremely tough to deal with city codes when rehabbing a home. But this was even more challenging since this was never considered a residential dwelling.
Do you recommend someone renovating a historical property like this? If so, what’s your advice for tackling a historic reno? Yes! Absolutely. If you’ve got a little bit of courage, lots of love and willing to put in the work, many are able to do a project like this one. I think the most rewarding part about the two buildings that I’ve done is that I’ve been extremely involved. I [work] alongside the skilled trades workers that make these buildings beautiful. I love that because it makes me really feel like part of the process. And [I also] learn lots along the way! Like my “Cincinnati mother/best friend” (who also owns one of these great buildings) told me, we’re just caretakers of these buildings and we’re just ensuring that the history of the West End and these beautiful homes continues.