LaGrange, IL Chapel Conversion

This darling little chapel in LaGrange, IL was built by Swedish brick masons in 1895. After the congregation out-grew it’s limited size and moved across the street, it went through ownership by a series of small congregations and was then purchased by it’s current owner in 2005.

Her dream was to convert it into a comfortable modern home with unlimited character and charm!

Her first step was to call Dan Ruzic of Chicago Project Mangement.

The rest is described here!

Design Team

The key to such an unusual project is to select the right Design Team.

Following interviews and careful consideration, the Owner has selected the following team:

Project Manger – Dan Ruzic – Chicago Project Management Design Architect – Joe Pasquinelli – ArchIdeas Interior Design – Michael FitzSimmons – Michael FitzSimmions Decorative Arts Landscape Design – Mary Jamieson – NatureWorks of Western Springs Design Basis Architect – Doug Schroeder – Doug Schroeder Architects Plumbing Design – Bob – Jim Dahmer Plumbing HVAC Design – Bob Mueller – Heat Engineering Lighting Design – Ben White – White Light Design Kitchen Design – Amy Pizza – Armor Tile & Supply

Chapel Before

Chicago Project Management has been retained by the new owner of the small chapel at the SE corner of Ogden Ave. and Kensington in LaGrange, IL to manage the conversion from church to single family residential.


The interior before renovation began.


The stained glass windows will be retained.


The original balcony is being considered for the Master Bedroom.


The basement is being evaluated to have the ceiling raised or floor lowered. It will likely contain 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.

Chapel Gutting

Internal Gutting of the Chapel began on December 27th, 2005. The gutting was necessary to examine masonary problems and replace all wiring.

Design Meeting

Presently, final design drawings are being prepared by ArchIdeas.

Below, the Design Team reviews the latest draft in the gutted interior.


Masonry Repairs

Masonry repairs have begun.


Marion Machnicki of Marion Restoration explains needed repairs to the owner.


Removal of plaster on the basement walls precedes tuckpointing.


One of the 15 brick arches is rebuilt.


A brick floor support column is rebuilt.


A cast iron balcony support column is removed.


Scaffold for exterior tuckpointing is erected.


Two portions of exterior walls are rebuilt.


The ground floor windows are enlarged for egress.


The dirty exterior brick requires a careful cleaning


to reveal the original colors.


All the way to the top!

Floor Leveling

As a result of their 110 year age, the chapel exterior walls have settled up to five inches while the center floor support columns have remained in place. The result is a significant “crown” in the floor which would make for both difficult construction and living conditions.

The solution, chosen by Project Manager Dan Ruzic, was to shorten each of the six center posts exactly the amount required to result in a flat floor plane.

First the floor was carefully marked in a 3 ft by 3ft grid and then using a laser level, the exact amount of settlement in each grid was determined. This allowed for a calculation of the amount required to be removed from each of the seven support columns; two columns are masonry and five are wood. The floor was supported on jacking support piers, the masonry columns rebuilt by Marion Inc, and the wooden columns sawed off in place by Cincotta West Construction.

The result was a very satisfied Home Owner with a level floor at one tenth of the original budgeted cost!


Masonry columns are rebuilt.


With the center beam supported by jacking piers, the wooden support columns are cut by Cris Cincotta with an electric chain saw.


Each cut block is then removed by tim with a saws-all.


Then the Cincotta West Construction Team carefully lowers each jacking pier and the floor is level.


Reroofing contract is awarded to Tilden Roofing.


Their roofers remove four old layers and install the new roof.


A unique “Star & Moon” finial from Fischer Art Works is chosen!


The finial skirt is field modified by Ed


and carefully installed by Carl & Jesus in time to…


catch the afternoon sun!


The framing contract is awarded to Cryer Construction.


Their first task will be repairs to the exposed roof joists reusing original timbers from the balcony.


Then Phil of Blast-All sandblasts the timbers clean.


Cryer Carpentry frames the master bedroom balcony.


The original wooden column is used for support and will be in the kitchen.


The fireplace wall is framed.


The fireplace is installed by Alltypes Fireplace.


The pulpit and some pews are returned for fitting into their new locations.


A new back door is added.


Home Energy Control applies foam insulation to the masonry walls.

Finishing Work

The stained glass windows return!


Robert of Sennia Interiors sands the frames of the original windows after reinstallation by Cincotta West Construction.


The main stairway with its arch design is fabricated and installed by Designed Stairs.


The new balusters provide the desired contrast with the old building lines.


Tile Accents Group installs the master shower tile that picks up the color and pattern of the exposed bell tower brick.


The Lower Level Bath that includes arches.


Cris Cincotta completes work on the custom arched return air register.


The original light fixtures are placed over the east entry


and in the downstairs bedrooms.


The new front doors from Lee Lumber welcome all guests.