Former Chapel Now a Heavenly House in LaGrange

List Price: $699,900
The Property: As you will see in today’s video, the old informs the new in this century-old Swedish Evangelical chapel in LaGrange that’s now a three-bedroom house. For instance, the colors of the stained glass windows dictate the palette of the tile in the kitchen, as well as most wall colors…


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List Price: $699,900
The Property: As you will see in today’s video, the old informs the new in this century-old Swedish Evangelical chapel in LaGrange that’s now a three-bedroom house. For instance, the colors of the stained glass windows dictate the palette of the tile in the kitchen, as well as most wall colors. In the foyer, the new floor is made from old stone imported from Jerusalem, to subtly suggest the roads and plazas there.

Original features, including the two-tone Douglas fir floors, partner with new decorative elements, such as Gothic arch-shaped cutouts in staircase newel posts and a bathroom’s tile wall.

In the building’s present incarnation, the sanctuary now contains the living room, dining room, and kitchen. A tall brick arch topped by a keystone and a soaring ceiling supported by wooden beams lend the space a certain grace, while the bright blue kitchen cabinets give it sizzle.

Behind the sanctuary, a smaller room fills the rounded brick bump-out at the rear of the church. It opens onto a small porch that overlooks the backyard. (There is no garage, but building one is permitted). The main yard is along the side of the church, on Ogden Avenue. It’s fenced now, but to become a fully usable yard, it would need improved access to the house and possibly some privacy-enhancing landscaping.

In the raised lower level are a sitting room and two bedrooms that share a large bathroom. The structure’s origins are honored with exposed heavy-timber beams (they support the main floor above), one of which is still emblazoned with the rooster logo of a forgotten tradesman who must have helped build the place in the 1890s.

Floating above one end of the sanctuary is the former choir loft, now the master suite. This cozy haven includes a bathtub and shower nestled into the bell tower and overlooking a large gothic window.

I last visited the home in 2007, when the conversion to residential was newly completed. The converter and seller was asking $1.299 million. About a year later she let it go for $675,000 to Maureen Gavan, who runs Betty’s Love, an organization that supports Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Both Gavan and the organization have been housed here since then, with some of the spaces used to provide respites for caregivers. With the organization reworking its mission somewhat, Gavan says, the space would become only her home, and it’s too large for her. “I want somebody else to come and feel the blessings this home has in it,” Gavan says.

Price Points: Gavan is asking more than she paid at a time when homes were selling at higher prices. But during her residency she improved the plumbing and heating systems, increased the insulation, and repaired and refinished the damaged Douglas fir floors. On a per-square-foot basis, the home’s asking price is about $206. That’s 15 percent below the $245 per square foot that Redfin shows for recent LaGrange sales.

Listing Agents: Smothers Realty Group’s Laura Walsh (708-482-2595 or realtorlaura@comcast.net) and Connie Tomasian (708-482-2997 or ctomasian@msn.com)

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