As the fellas carried out our game plan – remove the ceiling tiles, paneling from the office and gift area, and pull the carpet – we ran into a few roadblocks. There was a fiberboard underlay below the carpet. The installers had nailed this crumbly, wafer-like fiberboard with 8 penny nails roughly every three inches. Removing this was extremely labor-intensive, adding hours to this part of the project and stress concerning the shape of the floors below. These poor floors already had nearly a hundred years’ worth of traffic and abuse, not to mention the hundreds of nail holes from the underlay. All we could do was hope that when the dust cleared, there would be something salvageable underneath.
The tin ceiling looked great on one half of the room. Because the gift area was two different store fronts at one time, the other side had a completely different ceiling. This meant that we would either have to find a suitable match to fill in, or adjust our plan. To make matters worse, the plaster beneath the tin and the paneling on the walls was crumbling in so many places, it almost seemed like it would be more work to try and hold everything together than to just gut it all.
This all started to seem like a bigger job than we had signed up for. What if we started pulling layers of the different series of remodels from the various decades of use and we uncover more problems than we can handle? Anyone that has attempted to remodel an old house or building, anyone that has watched any of those renovation shows on TV (Renovation Realities, for example), anyone that has watched The Money Pit knows, you can quickly bite off more than you can chew. As most of you locals know, we chose to gut. Through the crumbling plaster there was something glimmering as bright as gold. You can see what we saw in the featured image above – something way better than real gold, an original element to the building that could serve as a beautiful focal point (assuming it doesn’t cave in on us hilariously à la Shelley Long and Tom Hanks) – a brick wall. Our bet paid off, better than we could have ever imagined. It helped define the space and exposed an amazing ceiling that was just as good, if not better than the tin ceiling. See photos below.
Now, the ceiling on the other hand, was not in such great shape. Some of the trusses did not survive the stress of numerous roofs over the years (more problems, right?? Of course!). Steele Construction was happy to oblige helping us shore the ceiling up for at least another hundred years. As we began to throw around ceiling ideas, we soon decided that less is more – leave it alone. The old trusses looked great, we would just have to blend the old wood with the new. After some deliberation between the minds, Sarah (Luke’s wife) stained all the new wood to match the tone of the old and blended well.
After the dust cleared, we began to appreciate the surrounding space for something more than we had previously envisioned. We felt good in there. What we had done felt right and it was time to think bigger than before. Yes, we still wanted to have retail space available for the hardware store, but it felt like it should be more than that. We have always wanted to involve the community more in what we do. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. Did we have all of the details figured out? No. We did know that if we were going to involve the public in whatever this space was going to be, we had to make some adjustments to the space. Specifically, the office and lack of an entrance. – LK