Friday, October 26, 2012

"Brick" a brack...

Our brick mason, Keith, is repairing the back outer wall of the building, pulled one brick out, and this is what came out with it


The lesson for today kids: never put tar over your bricks.  It sticks to the bricks like, well, tar, it's impossible to remove and moisture gets trapped behind it and screws up your brickwork. 

This is where the bad bricks came from (no surprise - it looks terrible).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Things are heating up now...

Just got the new heating and air conditioning units installed.  The upstairs heating units are suspended from the ceiling to free up floor space in the gallery area. 

Almost every HVAC guy who came in to give us an estimate asked if we were going to insulate the ceiling, put a drop ceiling in or insulate the brick walls.  Um…no.  If we wanted such practical things as efficiency, good insulation and lower bills we would have bought a modern building.  It's a trade off:  keeping the charm of the old place means higher heating and cooling bills, but hopefully by converting from oil to gas and installing new, more efficient units, it won't be so bad (hey, I'm an optimist).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Don't judge a book...

The exterior of the building:

This picture is c. 1930's (according to Lu's research):

This was taken c. 1973 or 74:

And this was taken not long after, my guess would be mid-70's:

And here's how it looks today:

Yes, it's seen better days...but we have big plans.  Stay tuned! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What do you get when you toss a handgrenade...

... into a French bathroom?  


Ripping up the lino that's been down for almost 40 years.  Why would someone ever cover up oak hardwood with lino?  Well, it was the 70's - people wore leisure suits, lots of polyester and platform shoes.  Linoleum was just another groovy fad!


...and after.  Ah, the wood floor finally seeing daylight for the first time since 1974!

The slow, painstaking process.

Now you see it...

now you don't!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hammer Time...

Knocking down the offices...

Moe, Larry and Curly relishing a job well done.  Nyuk, nyuk!

Not a good sign...

5 days into our renovation and we had our first trip to the ER.  Tom was taking down a fluorescent light housing that should have been bolted in to the ceiling with 2 screws, but, surprise! there was only one, so it came down and caught him on the arm.  Ouchies.  Buckets o' blood.  It looked like a chain saw murder had taken place (ok, that's an exaggeration - maybe just an axe murder), but he needed 5 stitches to close the gaping wound that was so deep, the doc almost gave him stitches on the muscle.  Ewwww.  But Tom says it's ok, because "chicks dig scars."

A room with no view...

This is the downstairs area:
Painting studio space

Old freight elevator

Painting studio

Kiln room

Painting studio

Stone walls - which became a real heartbreak - more about that in a later post...

Stone walls

Pottery studio area

In the beginning...

These are some photos of the upstairs:

The front entrance

Looking to the back from the front entrance

Looking from back to front

Future darkroom area

Future lounge area

Gallery area

Classroom area

I'm in love with the ceiling!

I told you!


This is our narrative of the renovation of our future art studio.  You'll be able to track our progress from beginning to end, and maybe give us some much-needed encouragement along the way! 

Just some background info for those of you who don't already know...we purchased an old textile mill in Fountain Hill, a few blocks from our house.  It's 8,100 square feet and pretty damn cool, but it's in dire need of some TLC, lots of elbow grease and some creative ideas to make it into what we envision, which is a multi-faceted art studio housing painting and drawing studio space, a darkroom area and a pottery studio.  We hope you can see the possibilities the building holds, too.

From what we can gather, it was originally built as a satellite location for the Chipman Knitting Mills, the main factory located in West Easton.  We figure it was built sometime between 1870's and 1890's, but my friend Lu is doing some research and will hopefully find some more concrete information. 

What we know is that the building, as previously mentioned, was a knitting mill for years, then a fur store, then functioned as National Wholesale Grocery Co. and then in 1974 became Valley Graphics Printing until they sold it to us.  Now we'll become part of the building's legacy when we open The Art Establishment next year.