Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What on earth did we get ourselves into?

This view may or may not have had me in tears a few months ago.

In full disclosure, at seven months pregnant and having the awesome opportunity to renovate a building and try to keep up with everyday life, I was a little overwhelmed. We had talked for several months about when to start phase two of the renovation of The Market. We jumped in after the holidays with a plan for the financing, Things were finally motion.

And then - we had a medical emergency that rocked us to the core. We dutifully followed through and kept the faith. In the end, it all worked out, but not without some sleepless nights and extra anxiety.

And, then, the clouds started to separate and we were ready for decisions to be made. With great patience, Jeremy would bring me to the building and we would talk through each decision. I would leave thinking, "what on earth did we get ourselves into?" and cry just a little bit.
These emotions might have also been fueled by the fact that when you renovate an old building and start from the bottom up, you eventually move to the second floor. It is at that point that all of the dirt and debris from maybe a hundred years or so filters down into the finished space. So, let's add this up - we were packing and unpacking from shows and in between, cleaning up construction dust and chunks of plaster and concrete. Fun times!

One of the best parts of having The Market is staging and showing off some of our great finds. During this season of renovation, we weren't showing off much of anything!

But, like most things, this crazy, out of control season passed. Fast forward a few weeks and when the new electrical was installed on the second floor, I was so excited. We had turned a corner!

Granted, we still have a long way to go. We have picked out paint colors and have some of the "bones" of the space in place. I can clearly see having events in our space and getting to a place where we can stage. We have even picked up a few special pieces that we have in mind for the space and we can't wait to show them off!

Helping us  keep the motivation going is the installation of the fence on the north, east and south sides of the property. We got this in place early enough in the growing season that we can begin to design and plant the east courtyard area.
Yay for progress!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Progress Principle in action

 Years ago, I stumbled on a book called The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer. It was a great book about motivation and maintaining focus. My most important take away was that making progress on important goals is one of the motivators for employees. Over the years, I have found this to be true in not only working with others, but also motivating myself.

We are pretty certain that renovating a historic building is an exercise of patience and faith. We have big dreams for this space and have been wrestling with when to start phase two of renovations on The Market and putting together all of the pieces to make the next steps happen. This waiting is a little discouraging and there are times when we think that just haven't done enough or are behind our self-imposed schedule.

This week Jeremy had the brilliant idea to use Google Earth to look up older images of the building before we started any work. Wow! What a difference!

This was just the motivator that I needed to remember how far we have come (focus on the progress) and an important reminder of the fun work ahead.

The first collage shows a before of the front landscape and the next two show off our work so far - tree and fence removal, new windows, and new doors! A transformation!
The side and the back of the house show off just how much was hidden by the trees that needed to be removed. Removing the door to no where and the fiberglass wall of the shower (not kidding!) and just priming the siding were a huge step forward.

So, today, we are celebrating the progress, thankful for how far this project has come. And, we are hopeful for a quick start to the next phase!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Vintage finds: Vintage sacks

Vintage sacks used for flour, feed, seed, laundry, ballots or banking have a special place in my collector's heart.

I am finally ready to let go of some of my favorites and have been sorting and eventually pricing them for The Market.

One of my favorites - the Cheyenne Steam Laundry bag that we found in Denver. Check out the phone number!

What do you do with these great vintage finds, especially when some may only be in "cutter" condition? Some of my favorite projects are for pillows like the set we have in our living room. There are also some really cute potholders that I have pinned on my project board, but haven't gotten around to making. I am also a huge fan of making these into bags.
 We found this bag in an antique store. I couldn't pass it up because I loved the vibrant colors.
 A talented seamstress friend transformed a seed corn sack into a bag. I love the spaciousness and the great pockets she included. My mom has a matching version.
Another talented friend made this more modern version. I love that it is lined with a sweet "country" cotton fabric and the outside it essentially weather proof!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Market on Main: A soft opening

 We ran across this saying,

if you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts.

I am not sure that there is a more fitting way to sum up this season of our lives. The Market on Main is shaping up nicely and we are really, really happy and very thankful for all of the help and encouragement.

It is also fair to say that we have a ton going on right now - Jeremy is coaching basketball, he has to take classes to recertify for teaching, custom orders are rolling in for the holidays, my work schedule is about the same as usual, and we have some health stuff for us and family members that has been keeping us on our toes.

So, our hands are full!

Despite it all, we had some great help from family to set up The Market. We had the chance to unpack our trailer and some of the other storage locations where we have been tucking away inventory for the past few months. Everything needed a really good cleaning and then we had the fun of trying to find everything we had packed. The good news - we have some awesome stuff! The bad news - we are still digging out items and trying to find some of our fall and holiday items. It's a daily exercise in discovery and often some declaration of, "where the heck did we put that!?"


 Things are coming together! We have some great things that we are excited to share and have had some fun shopping with some friends and other small business owners.
 A constant work in progress, but we are finding some great things that we have been collecting.

The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, November 26. We had a soft opening on November 5 to just get some people into the space and to try out our set up.
The best part of what we do is getting to hang out with family and friends. Jeremy's siblings surprised him for the soft opening!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Market on Main: Phase One Update

 This project has come a long way!

Phase one has been both a marathon and a sprint with us often wishing things would move faster so we could get set up and then wishing things could slow down so we could make decisions and get a better grasp on all the options. We often would drive up to the building when we both got home from our respective activities and then shine the headlights on whatever progress we could see.

So, we are almost there! The concrete floor is just what we hoped. It has some variation in color and it is easy to clean. Electrical is coming along and geothermal is almost installed. But, we are complete enough to open the doors and had a soft opening on November 5. Jeremy worked it solo because of my work commitments and he loved seeing so many friends and family. It was fun to be able to show off the space and we were thankful that it was warm enough that heat was not required.

 Since this photo was taken, the supports have been wrapped in cedar.
The front windows have been wrapped. The natural light from these windows has to be one of my favorite things about the space.

We also have installed black pipe handrails to help keep guests from stepping off of the ledges around the ramp at the back of the space. It was a simple, industrial looking solution for the safety concern we had about the drop down.

 The geothermal unit looks a bit space age! Jeremy sent photos to me and I was sure it was a situation where maybe I had the proportion wrong or was confused about the set up. But, no, these components are pretty impressive. We look forward to having everything connected and running before the cold temperatures hit.

 Part of the reason the geothermal installation has been delayed is because we have a huge water table under our property. When the crew was drilling the wells, they ran into water - a lot of water. We essentially have a mud pit in the backyard. Jeremy keeps reminding me that we now have a blank slate for landscaping this spring. Until then, we are thankful for the plastic barriers that are keeping most of the mud in our yard and not in our neighbor's yard or the alley. And for the bit that is escaping, we are thankful for some grace.  Maybe by spring, we can make something beautiful grow in this space?
And, the windows! We wanted something that gave nod to the original windows and would be energy efficient and low maintenance. We are so very happy with this solution that honored that beautiful arch of the original design.

There is much, much more that has happened. For instance, we have a bathroom! More soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Market on Main - phase one gets closer

 A work in progress! The Market on Main continues to take shape and we are really excited that we are almost ready to move into the retail space.

Some of the major pieces have some together rather quickly in these last few days before our tentative "end of October" goal to be in the space.

The front of the building was one of the major pieces that needed to come together - new storefront windows, new double doors, new transom. The storefront windows had to be special ordered and took a little work. The existing frames were a little off square and that might be a kind way to say it. Our contractor worked to use the existing opening and to make the frame more square to accommodate the new windows.

The photo above will give you a pretty good feel of the "in progress" stage.
 Then, we had the transom and doors installed! We found these doors at an architectural salvage place in Wichita. Jeremy spent some time reaching out to Wichita and Kansas City area salvage places to see if we could find some reclaimed doors to fit in the space.
The installed, but unfinished stage. If you look to the left of the door, you can see some evidence of the work needed to make the doors more square.
 Perhaps one of the biggest transformations has been the west facing facade. We had several different things going on on this side of the building and we were able to removed a "door to nowhere," replace a window, replace some siding and remove and put siding over a section of the exterior that was covered with some fiberglass. There are funny stories with some of these aspects of the old building, best told during a tour so you can see for yourself.
Geothermal continues to be installed. We were so happy to see how the duct work was tucked into the beams. The industrial look of the duct work doesn't bother us a bit and we keep thinking about how nice it will be to be warm when we are open for shopping or working in the space during the winter. Yahoo for HVAC! Certainly not sexy, but important in the overall project.

Up next: we have update about windows and the floor and soon we will be moving in inventory!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Kansas Barn Sale

 Our fall includes several favorite traditions, but none are as beloved as attending the Kansas Barn Sale.

A few years ago, we signed up as exhibitors and we have continued to count this show as one of our favorites. The setting is perfect, the people are happy, and the hospitality is unparalleled.

The Emma Creek Barn creates the perfect backdrop. We arrived early to finish the final set up and it was just a little magical with the lights on and the sky showing brilliant colors.
 Sunrises in Kansas are the best! The morning of the show, we had some great color and slow warm up to a beautiful fall day.
 We really enjoyed putting out some of our favorite vintage finds.
 The sign inventory was on point. Jeremy worked really hard in the months leading up to the show to have a great selection.
I loved this little collection - old books, pumpkins, positive vibes, and all things vintage.

We can't wait for next year's show!