PAUL MELO HAD HIS DOUBTS when he heard about this condo for sale in the deconsecrated St. Boniface Church in Jersey City. “I already go to church. I’m not going to live in one,” Melo remembers thinking. This was 2016, and Melo and his partner, Tom Walko, both designers, had decided to buy a place together—“We each lived in our respective apartments for over ten years. Neither was big enough to comfortably absorb the furnishings and accumulations of the other,” says Melo—and had been searching fruitlessly all over Manhattan. They looked at more than two dozen two-bedroom apartments, from Harlem to Murray Hill to the Two Bridges area on the Lower East Side, but nothing felt like home. “I surprised Tom by suggesting we look at Jersey City,” Melo says. That was their first leap of faith.
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