Before-and-after photos show how a couple transformed an old church into a stunning space for weddings

The new owners worked to keep the building's structural integrity in the renovation.

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The new owners worked to keep the building’s structural integrity in the renovation.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House
  • The Cliff House is an event space in Dallas, Texas, that was formerly a Baptist church.
  • The original structure was built in 1936, and it was renovated by Thomas and Lynn Bain of Boxwood Hospitality in 2017.
  • The Bains worked to maintain the building’s historical integrity during the renovation, keeping its original architectural style.
  • “Ultimately, we’re happy that anyone who walks into The Cliff House today sees the original trusses, windows, and walls that existed when the church was built,” Thomas told Insider.
  • You can find out more about The Cliff House on its website.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Cliff House is an event space located in Dallas, Texas, that used to be a Baptist church.

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The Cliff House used to be a church.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

Thomas and Lynn Bain own The Cliff House as part of Boxwood Hospitality, a company that runs three event spaces throughout Texas.

The Bains acquired The Cliff House in 2017.


Formerly known as Davis Street Baptist Church, the building was built in 1936.

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Davis Street Baptist Church was built in 1936.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

Thomas explained that Davis Street’s first pastor, Virgil Hunton, built the church by hand with his congregation.

“From what we can tell, given their backgrounds, they sourced all of the materials locally, even using some stones from nearby Kidd Springs, which is now a park our kids love to play at,” he told Insider of the congregation’s building process.


Weddings were held in the space during its heyday, but the church eventually fell into disrepair.

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The church hosted hundreds of weddings.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

In 2017, the Bains purchased the property with plans to transform the space into an area for events.


“We had lived in the Oak Cliff neighborhood for a number of years and had gotten to know the owner of the old church,” Thomas Bain told Insider of how the renovation came about.

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The Bains purchased the church in 2017.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“They had looked at a number of different uses for the building but couldn’t find one that worked,” he said of the previous owners.

“They approached us, and after we took a look at the unfinished space, we thought it would be an incredible opportunity to try to restore the building into a space that holds celebrations.”


The Bains transformed the former church into a venue that’s ideal for weddings.

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The Cliff House is able to hold events today.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

At The Cliff House, Dallas residents can enjoy the same kind of event Davis Street once held but with a modern and elevated feel.


The Bains chose to keep the building’s original architectural style in the renovation.

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The Bains maintained the building’s original architectural style in the renovation.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“We looked at a number of different architectural options, but ultimately felt that restoring it in the style of the original construction was the most appropriate,” Thomas said.

“We felt strongly that given the history and structure of the church, keeping the design simple and preserving as much of the original construction as possible was of incredible importance,” he added.


For instance, the chandelier that hangs in the entryway was made in the 1930s, just like the original structure.

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The Cliff House’s show-stopping chandelier was made in the 1930s.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“The woman we bought it from estimates it was fabricated in the early 1930s, which would have fit the time frame perfectly,” Thomas said.


The Bains actually removed the plaster tile covering the ceiling, revealing the building’s original trusses.

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The Bains exposed the building’s original trusses.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

The trusses have become a focal point of the building’s design, making it the unique space that it is today.

Meanwhile, the pews were removed to allow for an open area that can be used for dancing, eating, or whatever else guests may need.


“When guests walk into what we call the Gathering Space, they’re looking at the original ceiling that was over the Sunday school rooms,” Thomas explained.

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The Cliff House’s Gathering Space holds the building’s original ceiling.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“Ultimately, we’re happy that anyone that walks into The Cliff House today sees the original trusses, windows, and walls that existed when the church was built,” Thomas said.


“We went out of our way to find both great raw materials and period-appropriate accents when possible, as well as some of the era’s construction techniques,” Thomas explained of the renovation process.

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Flattened tin cans were used to replace some of the walls in the space.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“One thing we found out was in some of the places where the original boards had rotted out a bit, rather than replacing them, we found tin cans that had been hammered flat and painted to match the rest of the wood as a fix,” Thomas told Insider.


“We copied that technique in a few different places around the building,” he said, creating a cohesive design style.

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The tin isn’t visible to the naked eye.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

The tin isn’t visible, so the Bains were able to use an older renovation technique without making the building look dated.

White walls, large windows, and hardwood floors give the space an open feel.


The renovation took Thomas and Lynn about a year.

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The renovation took about a year.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“We began construction in May 2017 and held a soft opening in March 2018, the night before our second son was born,” Thomas said.

The large posts were removed to create more space for guests.


Since it opened a little over a year ago, the space has been home to a variety of events.

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The Cliff House can fit up to 175 guests.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

The Cliff House can hold up to 175 people, and Thomas said Boxwood is hoping to have hosted 75 events by the end of 2019.

The venue also offers in-house catering.


“One of the most fun parts to us about The Cliff House is the wide variety of celebrations we’ve been able to play a small part in,” Thomas told Insider.

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The Cliff House holds close to 75 events per year.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

The new open structure of The Cliff House has allowed the Bains to host a wide variety of events rather than just weddings.


The versatile space can be used for whatever people may need it for.

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The space has proved to be versatile for guests.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“The space naturally makes for a beautiful ceremony and reception backdrop,” Thomas said.

“But we’ve also seen rehearsal dinners, quinceaneras, pop-up dinners, graduation parties, bat mitzvahs, and even an 80th birthday party for a woman that grew up going to the church.”


“I think one reason people have responded so well to The Cliff House is that you can really feel the authenticity of the building when you enter,” Thomas said.

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The Bains think their commitment to the building’s preservation has helped make it popular.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

“We’re not exactly known for our centuries-old architecture, nor are we a city that always does a great job of preserving our past,” Thomas said of Dallas.

Cliff House challenges that notion, merging the past and the future in its very structure.


“Hopefully, the updates and the care with which we restored the building come through when people walk through the space,” said Thomas.

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The Bains approached every aspect of the renovation thoughtfully.
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Boxwood Hospitality/The Cliff House

You can learn more about Cliff House on its website.