I'm making progress in my shop and wanted to share photos with you. This picture is from the 1930's but it is way more cool looking than any recent ones I have. The general store sign and the gas pumps are long gone, but the place basically looks the same.
I live upstairs in the 2 storey white part of the building and the main floor is my shop. The back wood building is one heck of a huge storage area at this point, but I dream of one day tackling that portion.
I have a binder that sits on my office desk and contains my never ending "to do" list. In thick black marker I have written across the front of it "She did because she believed she could". Every once in a while someone comes into my office and I quickly flip the binder upside down so no one reads those words. Perhaps I think people will think I am a wee bit crazy if they see it.
Yet, today I am sharing those words with you. "She did because she believed she could". You see, today I am in a little bit of a teary-eyed, sentimental mood. Thus far, my journey in fixing up this place has been hard work. Physical work. I am on this journey alone, meaning I am the right hand lady and the left hand too, as I do most of the work myself.
But, I am finally getting all the yucky jobs done and am moving forward to the fun stage - the decorating!
This is my shop when I first bought the building. I fell in love with the character of it.
Although there is stuff piled everywhere in this photo and it is difficult to see, the front portion has some really great old wood display areas.
The wood floors are over 100 years old and I do believe they were never washed that entire time. Funny how some people think I should change the old flooring and others love it. Personally, I am in love with it and it is staying forever. The way I figure it, if these floors could talk they would indeed have wonderful stories to tell.
My shop was originally an old general store. In later years it became a hardware store and the walls were basically this lovely shade of pegboard blue. Although I promised several friends that they could have the pegboard for their garages, it was not to be. Apparently the hardware store had an abundance of 4" nails that they used to put up the pegboard. Removing it in one piece was not doable and eventually I resorted to using my reciprocating saw to get it off ... one small section at a time.
And then I realized there was no insulation in the walls. None. Armed with a crowbar and a sledgehammer, I pulled down all the walls in the shop. Lathe and plaster walls. Dusty, heavy, awful walls.
I hauled buckets and buckets of plaster to the dump.
Next came the pretty pink insulation. I would like to know why it is pink. Have you ever wondered that?
Then came the vapor barrier and the tuck tape.
The next job on my to do list was insulating the attic. The floor of the attic was covered in these wonderful 100 year old wood planks and I knew I would regret not saving them.
I pulled out my crowbar and carefully pried each plank off the floor - 1300 square feet of it. Once again they used those darn 4" nails! The worst part was the mouse skeletons that I found everywhere under the planks. Super creepy! But I guess I should count my blessings, mouse skeletons are better than live mice. Right?
Once the planks were all removed I sprayed insulation. That was an easy job and sorta fun, kinda like watering my garden.
Just for the record, I know this an awful photo of me. Layered with long johns, flannel pj bottoms and then jeans, I look as though I have a Jennifer Lopez butt. What can I say? It was cold up there. Or maybe I really do have a big butt but never really see it from this angle. I think I'm gonna go with the layers of clothing story.
Originally when I started working on the shop, my intention was to have a great space as a workshop and for photography. You know, a dream space that I could leave messy all the time and when I had the desire to create I could just run downstairs and play away. I never really intended to start a business in this space.
Then I discovered milk paint, fell in love with it and decided to start my online business. My customers would not care that I had pink insulation walls.
I planned to eventually finish the renovations and have a store front, but the "locals" found out I was selling milk paint and started to come. My shop has pink insulation walls and they still came. Wow! Finishing off my renovations had to become a higher priority now.
But then I had a delay. I was hired to paint and photograph collages for the new Fusion mineral paint. I have written up a behind the scenes blog post about that adventure. Yikes, I had a ton on my plate.
Did I mention I also work full-time as a police dispatcher?
I was starting to sink and was completely overwhelmed. Although it is a great feeling when you can watch a youtube DIY video, pick up your tools and get 'er done, I was smart enough to know that I could not possibly do it all myself.
It was time to call in the pros to put up some walls. Enter Rick the carpenter.
Remember the planks from my attic floor? Well, Rick used them on one of the store walls! I didn't have enough boards to do the entire shop, so I came up with another solution for the other walls. Photos of that to come.
Rick put up all the walls, replaced four window, built a wall and put up two doors. Thank you so much Rick. You did an amazing job!
This is the before shot. The boards were fairly dirty and dusty and in some areas there were water stains. I did not wash them, but I did use a shop vac to remove the dust.
I tossed around many ideas on how to finish off the walls and finally decided to use Miss Mustard Seed's hemp oil on them. I played around with a couple scrap boards to see the best way to apply the hemp oil.
Left board: unfinished. You can really see the water stain on this one.
Middle board: sanded and then applied hemp oil.
Right board: applied hemp oil and then sanded (wet sanding technique).
It was clear to me that the board on the right using the wet sanding technique was the winner. It had more of a golden look to it and the knots and imperfections really stood out. This was the look I was going for!
I asked my pal, Gillian, to help me and we used a small paint roller to put on the hemp oil, working about a 9' by 4' section at a time.
Once the hemp oil was applied (but still wet), we used an electric sander with 60 grit sandpaper to give it a light sanding. Of course we sanded with the grain of the wood.
We sanded a little heavier in the areas with water stains.
See? Water stain gone.
Normally sanding creates tons of dust, but with this wet sanding technique the dust just mixed with the hemp oil and did not fly everywhere. Once we finished sanding, we used a rag to wipe off the walls.
I was thrilled at this point with how it was looking. Gillian and I took quite a few coffee breaks to sit back and admire the walls. It was turning out even better than I ever imagined. Saving the wood from the attic was worth the effort!
By the time we were done, it was dark outside. I was anxious to test how the wall would look as a photography backdrop, so I set up my lights. I also knocked over a jar of paint, hence the wet spot on the floor. I quickly put some hemp oil on a scrap board to cover the metal heater and I was ready to take some photos.
I had a hard time deciding whether or not to paint the walls and I am so glad I decided against it. Painted pieces are going to photograph wonderfully in front of the wood wall.
Earlier that day I received a shipment of Miss Mustard Seed's look books and needed a photo for my online shop, so I took that photo too. I love how the wood chair blended beautifully with the background.
This is the "big girl" jug of hemp oil that we used. I don't stock this size, but I can special order it for anyone who is interested. (Edit: I now stock hemp oil in the "big girl jug").
Gillian spotted my MMS aprons and loved them and wanted to put one on for this shot. She took it home with her to wear in her cooking class at school. Isn't she adorable?
Next on the to do list ... paint the ceilings and put up new light fixtures!