There's something delightfully whimsical about going to the chapel to get married. But one couple has turned the traditional notion on its head, renovating a rundown church built in 1905 and transforming it into a modern wedding venue that's anything but conventional. The gutted, light-drenched space maintains the high arched ceilings and stained glass windows of the original architecture while juxtaposing them against fanciful fixtures and bright accents—velvet couches in chartreuse, moss, and the brightest azure; tufted rugs with bright patches of red; lush green hanging plants cascading before mosaic mirrors; geometric marble side tables; and fur throw pillows in shades of oatmeal and ice blue.
The eclectic Los Angeles space, nicknamed The Ruby Street, is the creation of husband and wife Zach and Lourdes, who rejuvenated the property with a fresh, modern aesthetic while respecting the history of the building. We had the couple tell us about their unique remodel and invite you to take a visual tour of the charming place. Keep scrolling to see what they had to say, and then check out the photos below.
MYDOMAINE: Please tell us about the space.
Zach & Lourdes: The 4000-square-foot former church has an open-plan venue upstairs with two bathrooms, a kitchen, a bride’s room, and a groom’s room. The reception area opens onto a large backyard and outdoor bar area. Downstairs, we live in a loft-like space that we’ve dubbed The Sunday School.
MD: When was the building built? How would you describe its style of architecture?
Z & L: This Arts & Crafts church was built in 1905. We love that it was a center of L.A.’s suffragette movement and was later a meeting place for civil rights activists. When we found it, the building had definitely seen better days. And we wanted to bring some love and life back into the space.
MD: What was your personal goal or directive for the space?
Lourdes: I’m a singer in Spain and had spent most of my life on tour. When Zach and I got engaged, we wanted to take on a creative project together that would really connect me to our life in L.A. We bought the church because we fell just in love with the building. But we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do with it. At first we thought we’d just convert it into homes or apartments to sell. Then we thought that it could be a music or pop-up food venue. One night, we invited a bunch of friends' bands to play there. At the end, a woman asked if we’d consider letting her hold her wedding here, and it just clicked. We got to work getting the space ready, and she was married there a few months later. Then we ourselves got hitched there shortly after that!
MD: Did you make any renovations?
Z & L: A lot. The front was roughed up and painted a dingy white, and the backyard was basically a cracked concrete slab. We refinished the wood floors, knocked out old bathrooms, and added new ones. We added a kitchen. We took out walls to open up the space and let the sun in. We removed the dark old church offices and turned them into a bride’s and groom’s suite. We also spent a lot of time repairing the gorgeous stained glass windows. Now that they’re restored to their former glory, they cast this gorgeous glow on the room.
We were originally just going to use the basement for storage because it didn’t have any windows. While doing some research on the property, we discovered some historic photos showing a different façade with windows and a door downstairs. It turns out that the previous owners had filled in the landscaping out front with dirt! When we cleared it away, sunlight flooded in, and the basement looked like a loft apartment, so we decided to move in and be just downstairs from work! Best commute ever.
MD: How would you describe your style?
Z & L: Cozy and colorful, welcoming, eclectic, whimsical.
MD: Did you have any existing pieces you worked with?
Z & L: The piano serving table. When we bought the church, it was a wreck, but we didn’t want to just throw it out. So we painted it, added fun lightbulbs to the top and turned it into an art piece.
MD: How did you decide on the color scheme?
Z & L: We started with the painting of the outside of the building. It took us forever to decide. There were samples taped to the front for months before we finally settled on something. We decided to go with this lovely dark turquoise. It felt right for the structure of the building, striking a balance between being formal but fun. That color then carried through and set the tone for the rest of the colors that we decided to use.
MD: What was the biggest challenge of this project?
Z & L: Keeping the essence of a beautiful old building but bringing all of the guts up to date—the plumbing, the air conditioning, the electric, the sound (aka, the boring stuff).
MD: What were your greatest finds?
Z & L: We had Shift Creative come to design a birthday party that someone threw in the space. Alexis Andra, Shift Creative's founder, liked it and wanted to do a workshop here, so we traded her use of the space for a giant custom wall hanging.
MD: What’s your favorite thing about the space?
Z & L: The couch area beneath the giant stained glass windows. The beautiful green couch flanked by the two white pianos, the colored light filtering in. I can’t get over it. Every time I stop in front of it, it just blows my mind.
MD: What was the first thing you bought for the house?
Z & L: We were on a budget and were driving around forever to different stores, trying to find something that didn’t cost a fortune. We gave up and decided to get something to eat. On the way there, we drove past a truck that had a giant couch in the back of it. I made Zach pull over, asked if it was for sale, and it was a steal! We took it right off the back of the truck.
Head below to step inside the church that's been transformed into a bright, lively wedding venue.
he Ruby Street backyard bar
Now discover more unique wedding venues from around the world.