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Rustic loft tucked inside old North Branch charcoal factory lists for $1.8M

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The unique live-work space was meticulously curated by a local antique dealer

1684 N. Ada Street.
Photos by Janet Mesic-Mackie

Chicago has no shortage of older industrial buildings that have turned into residential lofts. Few, however, successfully combine chic and gritty as well as this unusual live-work space carved out of former charcoal factory along the city’s North Branch Industrial Corridor between Lincoln Park and Bucktown.

Originally built in the 1890s, the long-neglected property was transformed by current owner Stuart Grannen roughly ten years ago. Grannen, who owns Architectural Artifacts—a 80,000-square-foot antiques warehouse and popular wedding spot in Ravenswood—converted the two-story space into both his personal residence and a gallery for favorite vintage pieces like a leather-topped coffee table crafted from an old pommel horse.

Hidden behind large metal doors, the home is accessed through the alleyway via a secret ivy-covered courtyard. Inside, a 1,100-square-foot first floor gallery oozes with old-school industrial cool with original clay tiles, raw concrete walls, and overhead timber beams.

An equally stylish second floor features minimalist touches like a steel fireplace and is home to a living room, compact commercial grade kitchen, a single bedroom, and an outdoor terrace.

“My client took every step to keep as much of the industrial patina intact while adding modern conveniences such as radiant heating, a new roof, and new windows,” said @properties agent Lucas Blahnik. “But there’s also room for someone to make this home their own by redoing or expanding the kitchen or adding more bedrooms.”

As for Grannen’s next project, Blahnik says the collector has no immediate plans to share. “Stuart’s done a great job with the space and he hates to leave it, but it was time. This property is not for everyone. It will take a true creative person to make it work. I’m really excited to see who ultimately settles here.”

Although its relative seclusion is arguably a key selling point, the old factory at 1684 N. Ada Street could see its sleepy surroundings change as developments such as the massive Lincoln Yards project reshape the North Branch Corridor in the coming years. “I get this feeling of a future Fulton Market where we’ll see these older industrial buildings next to new commercial and residential developments,” added Blahnik.

Previously featured in Crain’s and Chicago Magazine, this one-of-a-kind combination antiques gallery and bachelor pad officially hit the market last week. It is currently asking $1.8 million.