The West Town neighborhood includes an eclectic mix of housing stock—from pre-World War II homes to converted lofts to new construction—so it’s attracting buyers looking for unique spaces, says Jenni Gordon with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

One such home, a former storefront at 1222 W. Grand that now serves as a single-family residence with an indoor koi pond, firemen’s pole, and loft bedroom, recently sold in just over a week to a couple Gordon represented.

“The uniqueness of the space is really attracted us to the property,” buyer Jenna Johnson says of her and her wife’s decision to purchase the home for $780,000. The couple hopes to display monthly art exhibitions in the storefront windows.

The two-bedroom, two-bath home, with 2,550 square feet, features a large deck, 14-foot tin ceilings, and a radiant-heated stained concrete floor in the master suite, which includes a bathroom featuring a huge mermaid tile mosaic. 

“We both instantly fell into love with the place. We had been lazily toying with the idea of buying property in the neighborhood but everything we saw felt too ‘cookie-cutter’ for us. This place is anything but, and won our hearts,” she said.

Listing agent Derek DiSera with At Properties said the home drew 22 showings in only eight days on the market. Seller Dana Carideo bought the property two years ago and put her own design touches on it, such as replacing an old staircase with the pole and a zip line for her two sons.

The main level of the home consists of an entry lobby, kitchen, dining room, and living room with the koi pond running along the wall under the mounted television. A former darkroom, a half-flight of stairs down from the main level, was turned into the master suite. The former photographers’ loft, with a massive skylight roof, serves as a second bedroom. Carideo displayed her sons’ Lego creations in the storefront windows.

Carideo's design updates, such as new wall colors and curtains, caught the buyers’ attention, says Johnson, who plans to turn what had been the second bedroom into a workspace, lounge, and music area.

The two-story structure was built in the early 1920s as a photography studio where, local legend has it, major mobsters of the day came for their wedding photos, says listing agent DiSera. Grand Avenue was an Italian-American enclave in the 1920s. Traces of that past remain, such as in the D’Amato Bakery on Grand and North May Street, a site that has housed an Italian bakery since 1880.

Master bedroom
Master bathroom
Loft bedroom
Storefront on Grand Avenue