Tucked away in Hamilton’s North End is a home that is perhaps as close to heaven on earth as it gets – and it could be yours.
From the outside it might not look unusual, but a handful of statues and holy images near the main entrance just give a glimpse of what’s inside the 218 Macaulay St. E.
Beyond the front door, which is wrapped to resemble a stained glass window, is a spiritual shrine that has transformed the seemingly normal dwelling into a sort of shrine – a shrine that should accompany its outgoing owners, but that in makes an unusual staging of a house for sale.
Lou Tallarico describes the house, which is listed at $ 799,900, as “very, very unique and very holy”.
He is the sales representative of ReMax Escarpment Golfi Realty Inc. which is responsible for finding new occupants for the otherworldly residence.
Every wall and almost every surface is covered with Catholic icons, nativity scenes and countless figurines. In the living room, next to the TV, is a large screen centered on the Crucifixion, flanked by black and gold pillars and a place to kneel and pray. The ceiling above is painted to resemble the sky and clouds – perhaps a nod to the Sistine Chapel or other holy places.
“Come take a look at the house. The worst thing that can happen is that you will be blessed and you will feel good,” Tallarico said. “There is a cleansing of a sort of spirituality that comes out as I walk through this house.”
The sales representative said the collection is the work of an adult son whose parents own the house. The family declined to share the story behind the collection, but Tallarico cannot avoid the elephant in the room during a visit.
He estimated that it is made up of thousands of pieces and “is worth a lot”, although he is not sure how many.
The son would go to churches when they were closed or updated, and bought or kept different rooms, Tallarico said.
Bringing people closer to the sacred
It’s a collection that spans all three floors of the house, with images of saints, popes, and Jesus looking out from the walls in bedrooms, hallways, and living spaces.
Working in real estate, Tallarico said he’s seen a lot of different things, but the size and nature of the collection that cluttered the unassuming Macaulay Street home is something else.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he admitted. “It was very, very overwhelming when I first walked in here.”
LOOK | ‘Look at the house … you will be blessed and you will feel good ‘:
When Sam Migliore looked through the photos in the ad online, he was struck by something familiar.
Migliore is a professor of medical and visual anthropology based in British Columbia. CBC Hamilton reached out to him to get his take on the house and help explain the motivation behind such a loyal collection.
He said a framed image of the Madonna hanging inside the house was similar to the one his family brought from Sicily to Canada in the 1950s.
“My mom kept the photo in the bedroom to, in a sense, look after all of us,” Migliore explained in an email.
The teacher said some of the artwork in the house appears to be shrines dedicated to Jesus, Mary, or various saints.
“The large number of works is more than impressive,” he wrote, adding that the collection features a variety of art forms and depictions of religious figures.
It’s hard to say why someone would collect so many objects and display them, according to Migliore, who added that it could be a reflection of a personal aesthetic or the importance of religion in someone’s life. .
“Generally speaking, shrines can be used to bring people closer to the sacred, providing a base for communicating with religious figures or creating a special space for spiritual activity,” he said. “I hope, however, that something can be done to keep the items, in some form or another, in a new location once the house is sold.”
“Have faith” in the house
The collection will be saved, with the vast majority leaving with the family when they move, Tallarico said. But first he has to find someone to buy the three-bedroom semi-detached house.
Tallarico said that despite the excellent condition and location of the house, it did not generate the interest he expected.
“I’ll be honest with you – it was a little harder than I thought,” he said.
“We think there may be some hesitation, with people looking at some of the photos, thinking it might not be for them.”
On social media, the house caught the attention of this poster on Twitter, which gave mixed praise for the property:
GAUDY IS A DOUBLE ENTENDER WITH THIS ONE.
That said, I’m a maximalist and a huge fan of color, so kudos to these owners for staying true to themselves. #SeeBeyond https://t.co/V7hjnlJQ3p pic.twitter.com/sx5pFAXJQ4
In an effort to help people visualize the building without its decor, his team simulated virtual renderings to show what it would look like without so many saints looking down on you.
He invited people to embrace their curiosity, come and see the house and seek inspiration for what it could be, rather than what it is.
“Have faith… that this place, when emptied, will be a great, fantastic family home in this neighborhood.”