Ever since she bought the building at 7503 Madison St. that houses her stencil business, Linda Cibula has been dreaming of creating a living space on the second floor. 

On June 23, Forest Park’s village council approved a plan to add a second floor apartment to the building where the Stencib shop is located. 

“I’ve been buying doors and things that will be fun to put in there,” Cibula said. As one of 14 children, the former commodities trader said she’s the “crazy one” who hosts family parties for her 13 sibs and 40 nieces and nephews. 

Jim Collins, an Oak Park architect, submitted a design to the plan commission for the three-bedroom addition that includes a family room mezzanine. The Zoning Board of Appeals passed a variance in May basically grandfathering a yard setback to be cut in half from 25-feet to 13.5-feet because the building’s first floor footprint already has the smaller setback. The plan commission liked the architect’s plans, including patterns of brick bands, cornices and a roofline with architectural features.

Cibula says she knows it will be a change to move from her Victorian on Park Avenue in River Forest to Madison Street. “It’ll be no different than living in downtown Chicago,” she predicted. She’ll put the Victorian on the market in August, she said. 

The residential unit will be right next door to Slainte Irish pub, which faced local resistance from neighbors in October 2012 when owner Matt Fleming attempted to expand a patio in back to make room for a beer garden.

At the zoning board of appeals hearing, neighbor and Forest Park Post publisher Amy Rita, who lives in a condo next door complained about vomiting patrons and the “smell of vomit.” 

But Cibula is not fazed. 

“The bedrooms in the back are very well insulated,” she said. “With all my relatives I’m used to noise.” 

“It’s a new adventure,” said Cibula, known for her ebullience and described by one sister as “Martha Stewart on crack.” 

“I’m looking forward to creating everything with my own design, so it’ll be very fun.”

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...