I’ve always been a fan of design that involves repurposing and reviving the old and transforming it into the new. Linc Thelen Design with the help of Scrafano Architects have mastered this, transforming a late 19th Century Lutheran church into an inspired single family home in Chicago, Illinois, as featured recently on Design Milk.
You can see just how important it was to preserve the historical character of the building even in the entryway foyer of the home. The beautiful stained glass windows and the teal-blue door have been left unchanged, and are met by light oak and herringbone marble floors and black accents to modernise the space – it’s a clever and subtle mix of traditional and contemporary. A pew original to the church stands peacefully before the glass steel-framed doors, leading you to the home’s living quarters.
The first thing that catches your eye is the amount of natural light that filters the room, bouncing off the white 7.6 metre-high ceilings, and highlighted by the open-planned spaces. Light oak flooring, exposed dark timber beams and metal supports (original to the building), and a sky-high raw steel fireplace, beautifully contrast against the crisp white walls to create a warm and balanced interior. Mid-century classic and contemporary furniture features throughout each space, creating a clean and timeless look.
An elaborate arched stained-glass window sits above the kitchen – a vibrant pop of colour against the neutral interior. Ten gold-dipped exposed light bulbs make up a custom light fixture that hangs dramatically above the kitchen island; the subtle gold colour ties in with the amber hues of the stained glass, whilst the simplicity of the exposed bulbs does not distract from the from the Church’s masterpiece. The lighting fixtures throughout the open space all feature gold or brass tones to, again, compliment the colours in the stained glass.
The before-mentioned colours are carried through to the four bedrooms and three bathrooms to create a cohesive interior. Each room is large and light-filled, and oozes luxury and a bit of quirk. My favourite room? Believe it or not, my favourite space is the first-floor powder room, which features a white burlap wall covering, created by local artist Anna Wolfson, and a custom soapstone sink.