The Lytle House isn't just a photography studio and venue, it's also our home.
Shortly after our own wedding in 2014 we started looking for a place to settle into. We knew we wanted to raise our kids in the city and we loved the area we had an apartment in...on a walk through the neighborhood in early January 2015, we came across an old auto garage being sold as-is by the owner. After more than 9 months of negotiations, the keys were finally in our hands.
The property had some very unique features due to it development history. The first permit for the lot was pulled on April 1st, 1901 by Conrad Bristle for a two story structure. A structure that probably resembled the neighboring two flat to the south as he ultimately built 8 in a row. In 1921 a second permit was issued for a structure on the rear of the lot which would become a tin shop. As time passed, two flat was demolished and the rear property expanded, ultimately operating as an auto repair business from 1977-2015. This varied history is responsible for the unique setback of the property, providing the perfect canvas for our design plans. Nearly 8 months of designing, permitting, and financing later, construction began.
Before you step foot inside, the dramatic changes are evident. The chainlink fence is gone, replaced by a 10' tall steel wall creating an immediate sensory effect as soon as the door closes shut behind you. The sights and sounds of Broadway fade to a murmur and you're greeted by a private urban oasis complete with a 30' X 40' mural.
The concrete at the front of the property was removed, allowing for the design of over 1600 square feet of curated green space including 15 varieties of plant species and 12 trees. With professional landscape lighting and hidden speakers, this portion of the space is breathtaking. A hidden retreat in the midst of a bustling city.
The original garage door was swapped with a full glass replacement and custom steel wheel to crank it open. As much as possible, we wanted to maintain the original building features and layout. Keeping the existing opening allows for a free flowing space but also is a nod to the buildings past.
When we first toured the auto garage, the partially boarded up and obstructed windows lining the south wall immediately caught our eye. This back half of the building dated back 100 years and emitted a character all its own. The windows were replaced and the exposed brick cleaned up and white washed. Simple, minimalist choices were made to accentuate what already existed.
Over the 15+ years we've been photographing weddings, we began to attract a specific type of couple. People who wanted us to capture, not create. Couples who wanted to have an intimate celebration. Who wanted "I do's" without ado. No large wedding parties. Ceremony onsite. Less formality. More...focus.
When it came time to design the studio portion of our home, it was these celebrations that we kept in mind. Unconventional. Unique. Intimate gatherings of only their closest family and friends. Celebrations that produced a certain energy and told their own story. Simpler but more profound. These are the people we loved working with and we wanted the design of our space to not only attract those couples, but also make their planning a little easier.
Narrow, long tables allow for conversation and with the beautiful, locally crafted walnut tops, you can eliminate the added expense of a linen rental
Custom walnut and steel shelving throughout the space can be left adorned by the collection of antique cameras or added to accommodate card boxes, wedding favors, and dessert buffets
Concrete treads in the courtyard allow for pulling a food truck directly onto the property
There are many opportunities for photos throughout the space (and the neighborhood). Some are obvious--the mural, the landscaping, the ivy climbing the steel wall, the light coming through the row of factory windows--and some are more subtle such as the "You & Me" set into the concrete floor.
In addition to being a fun photo, this is one of many hidden touches that incorporate our personal family history. "You & Me" by Penny and the Quarters was our first dance song at our own wedding.
Chairs, tables, good lighting, multiple backdrops within the space for ceremony or photos....we specifically designed the space for you to do as much or as little as you want. Get good food, good booze, and invite your favorite people. If that's all you do, you'll still have a great party.