The Orchard: Before, After, & Everything in Between

An Aspen Project featuring Lead Architect David Wilde

Walk into The Orchard’s Arlington Heights campus on a Wednesday afternoon and you will be greeted by the organist rehearsing a variety of hymns. Though the hymns sounded traditional, the lobby looks like a fresh slice of contemporary pie. You would never guess what it used to look like before David got his hands on it.

The Orchard’s members are mostly comprised of seniors and that was largely reflected in the previous style of the church. They wanted to renovate not only to update the space but to attract new members as well.

The Entry

Before, you couldn’t see into the lobby when you were walking up to the church. Solid doors with small, rectangular windows blocked the field of sight and natural sunlight.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 1Before

After, you can see the smiling faces at the welcome desk as you walk up and natural light floods the lobby.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 2After

The Lobby & Café

When you walked in before, there was a foyer/gathering area and small cafe to the right. There wasn’t much natural light and the dark doors made the space seem small.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 3Before & After

During renovations, the cafe was relocated to the other side of the lobby to leave space for a family room. Now families with small children can have a clear line of sight into the sanctuary with glass windows, glass doors, and tv monitors.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 4Café After

Cookies, coffee, and specialty drinks are waiting for members of The Orchard when they finish with worship. There is an expansive fellowship area complete with a coffee bar, pastry display, tables, and comfy seats!

The Sanctuary

The front of the church had stadium seating for the choir, a stage that was too deep, and covered up the lower portion of stained glass.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 5Before

The stage was re-worked to accommodate space for the choir, instruments, and more seating for the members!

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 6After

Out with the old and in with the new! The Orchard had a volunteer crew do most of the demolition.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 7Before

Traditional pews and small stained glass windows were replaced with cushioned theater seats and clear glass windows! Now the church can accommodate a larger audience and appears more open with natural light streaming in.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 8After

The Gym

The beige wall color combined with lack of visibility made the gym seem small and uninviting. The doors were solid and there were only windows on the lower level.

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 9Before

Bright paint, polished floors, new wall mats, and updated basketball hoops almost light up the new gym more than the additional windows and new doors!

#FollowFriday Feature: The Orchard 10After


Before The Orchard seemed very dark and closed in. Now it has an open floor plan with spacious hallways, neutral colors, and plenty of natural light. Take the virtual tour below!