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Million dollar homes: Reclaimed

Today's major home builders are focused on incorporating the most green features and technologies available. Today's home buyers demand it. But what could be more green than recycling an old, defunct property and turning it into something useful again?

Barns, churches, factories; these properties are uniqueand uniquely positioned to provide potential home buyers a way out of cookie-cutter housing developments. Some are in coveted downtown areas of major cities, while others offer size and dimension that no modern home builder would ever attempt. They have been refurbished and retrofitted, but still hold onto the characteristics of their former purpose.

This condo occupies four floors of the church’s bell tower.  List Price: $975,000
Karen Stern | CNBC
This condo occupies four floors of the church’s bell tower. List Price: $975,000

These clever conversions often command a hefty price tag because the interior rehabs can be far more high-end than regular new-builds. They are usually a labor of love by the buyer, who has the vision to take, perhaps a water filtration plant and turn it into a home. When turned around for sale, the original renovator will want credit beyond just the number of bedrooms and baths.

The good news for this tiny segment of the housing market is that high-end homes are selling best right now. As the rest of the housing recovery falters, homes priced above $1 million were the only segment of the market in June to see a sales gain over last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Read MoreMillion-dollar homes: Summer vacation edition

On Tuesday, CNBC reporters were fanned out to six different properties that had been reclaimed from their former purposes and converted to single family homes. In a twist to the "Million Dollar Home Challenge," this time, starting on "Squawk Box," viewers will vote live during the segment to determine which home gives the most bang for its renovation bucks. The winner will be crowned on "Closing Bell."

—By CNBC's Diana Olick.

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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