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The rawness of the space was part of what attracted the Santoses to it. See more photos in our gallery below.
SIZE 2800 square feet
LOCATION Lake View
Two and a half years ago, Lisa and Joel Santos had given up on their dream of buying and renovating, in Lisa’s words, a “sort of nondescript-from-the-outside, wonder-what-it’s-like-inside building in Lake View.
Everything they saw was either priced too high, as if in expectation of a multiunit condo conversion, or in such bad shape that a teardown would have been necessary, recalls Lisa, who owns Southport Grocery and Cafe, and hoped to live near her business. She and her husband were ready to throw in the towel and convert their existing two-flat into a house—they had blueprints in hand. And then one day, driving along the Ravenswood train tracks, they saw a for-sale sign on just the kind of building they’d been hoping for—a defunct 100-year-old electrical switching station.
“We looked at each other and just knew,” Lisa says.
As it turned out, the sign they saw was not for the whole building but for one of the two condos inside—a huge space with a private entrance, three bedrooms, three baths, and a nice side yard. The space had been developed by the husband-and-wife architect team of Ann Temple and Ken Schroeder, who run a company called Beauxbo Properties. Preservationists at heart, the two approach conversions of old industrial spaces with a light touch and an eye on keeping costs sane.
Photography: Alec Hemer
Styling: Lindsey Parker