If you’ve ever coveted stained glass windows, you’ll love this renovated church-turned-home nestled in Chicago’s Little Italy. Linc Thelen Design and Scrafano Architects transformed the long-abandoned turn-of-the-century church into a stunning contemporary family home for five. The stunning conversion preserve the church’s best features, such as the gorgeous multicolored stained glass windows and the five-story-tall bell tower, and juxtaposes those historic elements with a clean and contemporary aesthetic with playful twists, including an unexpected climbing wall.
Despite the contemporary upgrade to the interior, the designers kept the church’s old cream-colored facade intact to maintain the historic integrity of the neighborhood and surrounding homes that range from the Victorian to the Italianate era. The interior, in contrast, was gutted to make room for a modern and minimalist makeover with seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, and a series of additional rooms outfitted with custom-designed and fabricated furnishings. Reminders of the building’s past life punctuate the home, from the numerous black metal-framed stained glass windows and exposed brickwork to the hidden doors, crawl spaces, and other nooks and crannies that serve as secret play spaces for the children.
The most dramatic space in the new home is the light-filled great room housing the open-plan dining, kitchen, and living area. The designers tore down the original ceiling to reveal a beautiful buttress ceiling made up of thick hardwood timbers and to bring the space up to a height of 25 feet. The bedrooms are located on the upper floor, accessible via a sleek stairway and catwalk. The unique nature of the project necessitated custom-built fixtures and furnishings, such as the hanging lights, dining room table, and Murphy bed in the nursery.
Images via Linc Thelen Design