List Price: $1.299 million
The Property: This prim Swedish Evangelical church, built in 1900, was redone in the past two years as a serene, spa-like three-bedroom house, complete with a master bath hanging inside the steeple and a front hallway of ancient stone salvaged from Jerusalem. The house now has a sharp contemporary kitchen whose bright blue cabinets and backsplash of varicolored glass echo the stained glass in the original Gothic windows; a master bedroom where the choir loft used to be; and a 35-foot-high arched ceiling whose exposed original wooden beams alternate with more energy-efficient insulated drywall.
In 2005, when it could no longer afford maintenance, the Christian fellowship that had owned the building for 35 years decided to sell. “They had services on Sunday, and I moved in on Tuesday,” says Hazel Teichen, the self-professed “project person” who then undertook an extensive renovation. She paid $325,000 for the church and its 126-by-50-foot lot on a busy corner of Ogden Avenue, and enlisted the Chicago architect Joe Pasquinelli of Archideas to create what Teichen describes as a “relaxing, restorative home in this sacred space.”
They installed a pair of bedrooms in the English (raised) basement that share a lovely bathroom with a pebble floor—“reflexology for your feet,” Teichen notes. There is also a study with a beamed ceiling on that level and a reading room on the main floor. The primary living space is in the former sanctuary, which is shared by the kitchen and the living and dining rooms. Throw in an all-new roof and copper gutters and the project ultimately wound up costing Teichen almost a million dollars. “I have no regrets,” she says. “It’s a great transformation of the space, and what it did for me on a personal level is about the same.” With plans to move on to another project, she listed the property in August.
Price Points: Most houses in LaGrange that have sold over the past few years within close range of Teichen’s asking price have had at least five bedrooms (although two of them had just four), according to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois. Not only does Teichen’s house have only three bedrooms, but two of them are two floors away from the master, a configuration many families might find awkward.
Listing Agent: Susan Breen, Coldwell Banker, (708) 670-4668