Chicago-Based Interior Designer Linc Thelen Transformed A Church Into A Modern Residence, Part 2

Vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, brickwork, exposed beams and ceiling turnbuckles – historical details had to be carefully restored to preserve the soul of the place while incorporating all the conveniences of a modern-day home. Designing the heating and cooling proved to be a major challenge. While the homeowners – working in law and finance – loved the open floor plan, they needed additional rooms with a scheme that could accommodate a growing family and the luxuries of a suburban home without losing the loft feel and the openness that it provides. American designer Linc Thelen explains how he collaborated with them, “We worked very closely and the home reflects their personalities very much. The clients loved modern, vintage and farmhouse design, but didn’t know in which direction to take the home. I steered them to a modern design with small accents of vintage and farmhouse touches.” A wild gamble at the time, the transformation has paid off – the house is now a true architectural gem.

Push open the blue wooden double door and you’re greeted by the brick walls of the ancient church that lead to a short flight of stairs with light-colored steps. Past the entrance hall, you penetrate into a welcoming space with impressive volumes, raw materials, gleaming parquet, copper-coated brass accessories and immaculate white walls, which give a revisited loft-like feel. In the bright, airy open-plan kitchen/living/dining room with soaring 25-foot-high ceilings revealing a charming buttress ceiling of thick hardwood timbers – vestiges of the old construction – a gigantic TransCeramica built-in, black quartz-clad chimney stretching from floor to ceiling in the middle of the house anchors the room and separates the main salon from a more modest living area so it can be enjoyed from both sides. The family room contains a gray linen sofa from Interior Define, a white steel bench from Room & Board that’s used as a coffee table and a Tom Dixon chair.

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