Neighbor Turns Old Church Into 4 Bedroom House Near Santa Fe Trail

Church for the Restoration of Life. Photo courtesy Patrick Donlin.

Patrick Donlin has spent years renovating properties in East Dallas to keep them from demolition.

He’s done about 30 so far, including an old church.

He heard about the property from a local real estate agent. The Life Restoration Outreach Ministry’s property at 400 Graham Ave. near the Santa Fe Trail included a maisonette next to the church building.

It took Donlin’s team about 10 months to convert the 2,300-square-foot building into a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home. It’s the largest piece of property Donlin has ever worked on.

The main line to the sewer was not properly laid, which had to be repaired. Since the church was empty, the windows were boarded up and broken and needed to be repaired.

Another challenge Donlin had never faced was the design of the building. Other houses he is renovating already have hallways and other interior walls to divide rooms. But the church had to do a lot for Donlin to make it feel like home.

They were able to save the benches and use them as seating in the Food Truck Park in Chuckwagon Park. There was also a baptistery, but they couldn’t save it. Other than that, all that remained of the church were Bibles and some office supplies.

Donlin, the founder of Mr. D Real Estate Group, says the property is now rented by four Woodrow Wilson alumni. He adds that many of the homes greater than 2,000 square feet that feed into Woodrow are often expensive. With this property he wanted to have an attractive dormitory at a reasonable price for people connected to the neighborhood school.

The average rental price for Donlin’s homes is $ 1,650 per month, with three years being the typical rental period.

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