As promised, here are a few more updates on the new studio shop. It’s hard to believe it’s finally all coming together.
This week has been our most exciting week yet – plumbers, electricians, drywall, dumpsters, a cherry picker parked in our backyard. Everyday, our backyard has been turned into a parking lot, which has been truly a thrill, to see this much action.
We still have a few more relatively major structural changes to go through before we open, so these photos are just an indication of the process, not the final product. It occurs to me now that actually these pictures look quite similar to the last update, except there’s now a bunch of now very dusty furniture tetrised into the main area of the shop. Despite that, there really has been a lot of stuff going on in the background, some framing, new support beams, staircase adjustments.
There are a few final walls that still need to go up, and then the rest of it is mostly aesthetic (cleaning up the brick, lighting) or not quite as visible (electrical, plumbing). Once we move the furniture around, it’ll be much easier to get a sense of how the shop is going to work.
This antique sewing table, which is now sadly on its side, was one of the first pieces of furniture Jon and I got when we were married. It then got seconded to the shop, and has moved around with us.
Jon has had to find a new life coach/therapist/general contractor for this project because his old one (the one for the main shop at 52 Clinton) unfortunately was too busy with other projects, especially with the delayed timing here. We sure miss the old one, but the new one, Jeff, has been wonderful, moving quickly (can he sense our desperation??) and with lots of experience with these sort of retrofit projects, trying to salvage bits of the old home (i.e. my deerheads).
Also, to the left of Jon is a bathtub he found on Kijiji. At this point, renovating the bathroom to include a bathtub has been bumped back to the 5 year “plan,” and the bathtub is made out of cast iron and therefore incredibly heavy, so we’re probably just going to leave it in the office on the first floor. Bassinet for the baby? Cat bed?
And the deerheads are still here! When I first saw the place, the first thing I fell in love with was this archway. You just don’t see these sort of details anymore, and of course I immediately petitioned Jon to save these. He said something vaguely along the lines of ‘as long as it doesn’t cost too much.’ Hah! At this point, we’ve spent so much to save these two deerheads that we’re obligated to continue the investment, having already dug into Caleb’s college fund. If some contractor accidentally takes one out with an errant ladder over the shoulder, I think Jon may very well throw in the towel and move up north, into the wild.
We’ve been creating our plans based around saving these, and while unfortunately, for the launch, these will actually be hidden away behind a wall, eventually we’re hoping they’ll be a beautiful part of our shop (once we get a permit to remove the wall that we’re going to pay to put up to hide these. Yes. I know.).
We are keeping everything crossed that we’re in the final pitch towards finally opening our doors mid to late August. There are a few more things that are out of control (building inspections, etc.), but once those are out of the way and the rest is just us (installing lights, painting, setting up displays) we’ll have a firmer timeline. As I mentioned in the last post, we’re opening the doors to get things going, and over the next six months to a year, we’ll be closing up here and there for future renovations. It would’ve been nice to get it all out of the way at once – the hassle of closing up, moving furniture and inventory, all that pervasive drywall dust – but at this point, we’ll take what we can get.
You would think with all this moving around – 906 Dundas West to 250 Carlaw to 52 Clinton – we’re an extremely agile company, but actually (shocking!) we are not. Every move has been cumbersome, expensive, dramatic and with lots of adjustments for both us and our customers. We are very much looking forward to being home, and can’t wait to have you come and visit.
The difference between the main shop and the studio shop is that the west end main shop in Little Italy will be housing most of our inventory, have the most stock, and is where we will be shipping out of. The studio shop on the east end will be much smaller, and hold a much more limited amount of stock, but it might be where we might trial new products or brands that we’re not sure if we’re going to go whole hog into.
And, with the studio shop, we’re also going to be running a few new workshops and classes. I’m incredibly excited to be finally gathering up the last of my materials and getting organized for my first journaling workshop. It’s going to be a four week affair, starting sometime mid-September, taking place in our new studio shop.
There will be more details to come, but it’s something I’ve been dreaming about and simmering on the back burner for a long time: time and an intimate community for people looking to develop a sustainable and consistent journaling practice, or for journalers looking for new writing exercises and creative practices and new ways to remember and tell their own stories. If you’re interested or have been thinking about journaling for a while, you can send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll send you an email once all the details are up.