It was never going to be easy to find the kind of building that ticked all the boxes. We found one that came close, though it did need a little TLC. To the untrained eye there wasn’t a lot to be inspired about - but years of experience told us we could do something wonderful with it.
The gift we gave ourselves was no deadline. The beauty of a slow renovation is that you actually get to enjoy the process - true story 🙂
As much as we worked physically hard - we both loved what we were creating. Moving the business proved to be a much bigger deal than we ever imagined ~ but having the sun, sand + sea at our door was heavenly after some pretty long days on the tools...
Months were spent months replacing the roof and stripping back the space to the bare bones and clearing skip after skip of rubbish. Finally the day did come when we could specify our (that was fun) own stuff ! A few key architectural elements to bring the old & the new together.
There are a number things to get right
when building around old doors & architectural antiques -
we've seen our fair share of dodgy installations.
First things first... find something you absolutely love.
Condition & size are the key.
When it comes to installation: the framing and timber choice is paramount in making these pieces look like they belong to the building.
And finally finishing: sanding, painting and finishing are skills; especially when it comes to blending old finishes with new materials. My advice is to get in touch with a restorer or polisher for best results :)
The day our front doors and arched window were installed
was a real woo-hoo moment!
Building around these pieces does take extra time and thought but recycling second-hand materials is not only good for the planet but the building will feel and look like no other. There is real sense of satisfaction in re-purposing beautiful architectural elements. Knowing this window was going to be the light source for our photographic studio wall - put the pressure on, but we are so happy with the decision and the placement.
Seeing this 19thC French church window we sourced in France,
finally built into our space delights us every single day...
Making besser block walls look pretty is hard work…so we weren’t even going to try. Josh from Who Plastering worked his magic on plenty of the walls, layering trowel after trowel of plastery stuff. Then the serious painting could begin, a mini cause for celebration ...
Finally, our vision for the main showroom was coming together; the high ceilings, the space and the light - even the quirky Hebel break outs & the run-down sheds at the back started to look a little charming (through squinted eyes).
For months we were up & down scaffolding, sanding, wire brushing and painting all those ceiling rafters – what a difference 20 odd litres of white paint makes! Tim grinded back the concrete floors and refinished them and restored many of the old industrial elements including the metal fans, keeping the simple fabric of the building in tact.
Twelve months or so later we now have a workshop... the street art door we repurposed has the words - Take the dive, Regret nothing - that pretty much wraps up the mood around here. (🙏 Nitsua)
The interior spaces are working just like we imagined, the old and the new are now one. Our intention was to go slow and it worked for us and for the build, its true all the good things do take time.
*See how long it took to create our mosaic floor here.
There was an eclectic & creative history here and we wanted to retain as much of it as we could and add our own little layer. We still have unfinished spaces but for now we are happy that the church window is doing what it was supposed to do. Shining a little light on this corner of the world - we look forward to seeing you in it.
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