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New event space opened in Edgewater for celebrations
by Melissa Wasserman

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The Lytle House in Edgewater is ready for big celebrations.

Robyn and Michelle Lytle ( not pronounced as "little" ) have been married since 2014. Shortly after getting engaged, Robyn began working with her wife at Michelle Lytle Photography, established in 2004. Robyn, originally from Hinsdale, and Michelle a Downer's Grove native, moved to Edgewater in January 2017 with their dog and infant daughter.

The Lytles, have a passion for the City of Chicago's history and all the old buildings, when they began looking at properties where they could have more space to raise their growing family and expand their business, spotted an old auto garage for sale by the owner, which had "a cool history." The Lytles received a grant from the City of Chicago's Small Business Improvement Fund ( SBIF ) to get the building up and running.

"It was really important for us to own a piece of Chicago history and hold on to a piece of it with all of these buildings being knocked down and all these huge apartment buildings going up especially in this area," said Robyn.

Now the old auto garage

Robyn shared that the Edgewater Historical Society said that over 100 years ago, this property was a tin shop and the Lytle's goal was to preserve as much of the building's history as possible. Today, after making major renovations, they have converted the building into a live/work space. While they live on the second floor, they run their wedding photography studio and a small event space out of the first floor. People can celebrate weddings, engagement parties, baby showers, professional events, photoshoots and more in the first floor event space. Bookings for events at the Lytle House began in June 2017.

"I still can't believe we live here when I walk up to it and we love this neighborhood, we love the community; it's amazing," said Robyn. "We're really happy."

The Lytle House has more than 2,800 square feet of free-flowing indoor-outdoor space. Being photographers, the space was designed with a very strategic approach, including daylight-balanced lighting and various custom touches. For example, Robyn explained, they took the previously paved driveway full of broken-down cars and turned it into a private courtyard with a custom mural created just for Chicago ( and Edgewater, specifically ). For this big project, they also mainly worked with local Chicagoans and businesses.

Robyn said the thing that really stands out about the space is the attention to detail.

"There's just so much detail in everything," Robyn said. "Everything that was designed, like the tables, were designed with such thought. We just worked with all local people and just tried to make everything that was brought into this space so meaningful, so we didn't just throw something together, we wanted everything to be very thought out. So, when I walk into the space, I feel like everything is very thought out."

Robyn described her and Michelle's wedding photography style as "photo documentary." In the photography work, Robyn shared that hers and Michelle's favorite part, as they focus on capturing different angles of the same moment, is getting to witness one of the happiest days in people's lives. She added she enjoys witnessing that moment right after two people decide to share their lives together. That passion transfers into the work the two are now doing in the new event space.

"So, we love that piece of it and when we created this space to host events, we're like 'wow, now this space we created, our home is above it and below it, these people are going to be celebrating amazing things, whether it's a birthday party or a 50th anniversary or an engagement party," said Robyn. "Just so many happy moments right below our home. They're being hosted right in our home pretty much."

With the space being a new development, Robyn said they are spending a lot of time talking to people in the community, letting them know that they are here, what they are and what they have converted the space into. They offer tours to those who want to see the place for an event.

"We're always encouraging them to do something different, do something that's unique to you, what you want your celebration to be, we're open to any ideas and helping them make it happen and it's just really cool the people who have come through," said Robyn about people's events in the space. "It's been really fun so far."

To learn more about the Lytle House, visit .

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