Thursday, September 25, 2014

In which....stuff goes on.

I was verbally slapped by a commenter that I haven't posted any updates in 12 days.  Once Lisa and Jasmine moved in....oh, do you know about Jasmine yet?  Lisa will be sharing her space with Jasmine, who will be creating the most gorgeous fresh floral displays for sale out of the Ocean House.  Fresh flowers downtown...wooot!
Lisa is moving her things in and getting organized and feeling out the space.  Her merchandise and her props look amazing...someone saw us last night said that they had been in the space and bought a few things and thought the combination of Lisa and the Ocean House was a "game changer" for downtown Belfast in a great way.  I loved that.  Below are some early shots of the Brambles installation.

Not to be belabor the point, but note the gorgeous floors!

Anyway, after Brambles moved in, Greg and I tuned out.  We needed a break, both mentally and physically.  It is crunch time in Greg's studio, so he is up there working away on beautiful winter coats for clients, and I had to take a few weeks out to assess some auctions for potential purchases for clients.  Bought a beautiful pair of life-sized cast iron hounds in a London auction for clients in Chicago who have been looking for this pair of dogs for years.
 I then spent four days in New York buying a few more things for clients and attending a wonderful lecture on Irish Country Houses and their collections given by a friend and colleague. It was good to put on a suit and feel professional again, to show everyone that I am still alive and still in the game.  A lot of antiques dealers have imploded over the last six years, so the potential buying field at Christies was tellingly smaller than usual.  I picked up a gorgeous pair of 18th century New York side chairs with some of the best carving I have seen on NY chairs of the period, and a Boston easy chair with really lovely proportions.  I passed up bidding on a chair that ended up costing more than our house because of very hidden stress cracks to the legs, probably caused by kids jumping up and down on the seat over the years. or by some rather large soul plopping themselves down in it repeatedly.   

Back here now and slowly getting back to work on the building. We put down the floor for the bathroom in the lower level space so that we could get the bathroom installed down there and I have been painting sprinkler pipes to match the walls.  We are hoping to have the lower level space finished in October.  I haven't wanted to show the space to anyone yet because it is still in rough condition and I've found that potential renters don't have the vision to see the space finished the way we do.  The floor isn't down, the lights are not in, the back driveway isn't complete, the parking spaces are not evident in the back lot, etc.  
I am toying with renting the space to a group of artists for the Christmas season to introduce the space to Belfast and to let people see exactly what it could be.  That is of course, after we fix the damage to the walls and ceilings done by the sprinkler company.  What a friggin' mess.  That was the other "thing" about the building...the last contractors...a fire suppression company, left the lower level space dirty and damaged. There are holes in the walls everywhere. I was heartbroken to see the space after the sprinkler company left, and it took me awhile to kind of get back to it.  Needless to say, I am not happy.  
On a better note, the back lot will get a makeover starting next week when it is scraped and graded and stoned.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

In which we compare...Its before and after Friday!

Way, way before...around 1890s

Just before.....October 2012

After.....September 2014. Props to Alicia Nichols for the photo.
not bad, eh?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In which we work on the landscaping.

While I wait around for the sprinkler system to hold 200 lbs of pressure for the next few hours...(It was a bit harrowing this morning listening to the pipes slowly fill throughout the building while we searched for non-existent leaks)...I thought I would take this opportunity to show off some of the hardscaping that has been going on down at the ole-girl, courtesy of our favorite landscape geniuses: Dan Waldron and his merry band of rock toting lads and Larry Jones and his dazzling back-hoe and rock placement skills.  
We have new pea stone pathways and some ready to plan mulched gardens around the ADA ramp.

The large courtyard of hay will be a beautiful lawn next year where we can rent space to pop up tent artisans on the weekends.  I figure we have about five to seven spots right on Cross Street that face Main Street.

The door yard has perfect visibility coming down Pendleton from the Coop.

About 85% of the large stone that we used around the building came from onsite, this this granite step into the first floor.  This was the threshold for the basement space when it was a garage.

 This enormous flat piece of granite came from underneath the building.  It makes a great step 

Though these granite steps didn't come from the building the stones at the top were some of the ones that I pick-axed out from underneath the Ocean House

Larry used boulders, uncovered when the front of the building was dug out, to make this cool retaining wall.  The short wall in front crafted on the fly by Dan Waldron is made up entirely of granite mined from under the building and I think is beautious.  Dan's hardscaping skills are evident everywhere .

The beautiful bluestone block at the door was dug up somewhere under the building as well. 
Quite the difference from what it used to look like over here!  Dan and Larry had a good time finding uses for all of these stones.

 Some leftover concrete curbing from the MBNA days was scoured to used for grading steps at the back door.  No more puddles!

And of course I wanted us to have a gently sloping lawn so we could roll down it on sunny days.

All of this granite was found onsite and cut to make an awesome staircase between Cross Street and the parking lot.  Anyone know of a good iron smith who can make railings? 

Monday, September 8, 2014