How we used Covid Quarantine to Remodel our Retail Space

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  • By Fancy T. Smith
  • Posted in Shop Boss
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How we used Covid Quarantine to Remodel our Retail Space

My little shop - Cactus Creek - will turn 20 this August of 2020.  She is my first baby, my calling and my creative muse.  There have been so many times we should have closed because we ran out of money and/or steam.  But I could never leave it behind, having this shop is all I've ever done and it's my true passion, so we always found a way.  Honestly the last year has been really hard.  There were more than a few moments that I thought we were at the end of our rope.  But I had this vision of how the shop could look - the way I saw her in my minds eye - and I knew I could never walk away until it looked the way I always knew it could.  Little did I know.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

We closed the shop doors due to Covid on Monday, March 15th.  Ironically I had a paint swatch of the color I wanted to paint the walls - a friend help me pick it out in February way before we knew what the future would bring.  Once we closed I knew we would be closed for at least a month or two so I began painting on the weekends right away. During the week I ran home school for my three teenage sons in the back of the shop while also ramping up our social media, website sales and curbside delivery.  Time melted away as we forged through the first six weeks of our Covid quarantine.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

 

Once the shop was painted bright white it was time to conquer the floors.  Simultaneously our county's health department began allowing retail shops to open again.  We knew it was time to double down and start hustling.  Every day we were closed meant we were bleeding money.  That said, I was conflicted.  As much as we needed to get open to sustain ourselves financially, I was hesitant to open the shop up to strangers.  I had painted every square inch of the walls by myself {well mostly}.  At night I would sit in the mess and picture it finished, plan how I would re-create my blank canvas.  As we found new scars on the floor I would ask my Main Street neighbors about the history of the building, adding to what we already knew, watching it's story unfold.  I scraped and mended the floors to the point of exhaustion for days on end.  The journey made me feel even more connected to the building that I had been before.  I prayed tears of gratitude and with a humble heart and I promised that we will always protect these beautiful floors and honor the building's history - and never again will I almost give up.  I had become so intimate with the space that the idea of letting other people into our bond seemed like a vulnerable move and I was still not ready to go there.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

 

Nevertheless, the remodel needed to proceed with haste.  The previous owners of the building had put navy carpet squares on the floor so we weren't exactly sure what we would find underneath.  At first it was layers of linoleum - but as we started scraping up the linoleum we were thrilled to find the orginal 1910 hard wood floors.  It was like striking gold.  Buckets of nails and staples had to be removed from the floor - each by prying it up, a thankless but necessary task.  We were in full swing to get it done fast until we hit a sticky situation.  About half way through we pried up a new part of the linoleum and found that many years ago one of the building's occupants had glued carpet to the wood floor.  why?????  We went after it with adhesive remover but that just created a goopy substance - we couldn't sand it off because it would goop up the sander.  The solution was surprising - fabric softener.  For five days straight we would soak a section of the floor with fabric softener, scrape the old glue away, then soak it again.  Each section needed this rinse and repeat 3 or 4 times. Thankfully I didn't need it to be perfect, we are all about embracing our scars and imperfections around here.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

The second to last pass on the floors was a good cleaning with soap and water, followed by rolling them down with an equal mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits.  Make sure you get the low order mineral spirits!!!  And then voila, we were done with the floors.  The nice thing about the linseed oil is that you roll it on, leave it for 15 minutes, wipe it down, and you can immediately walk on it and even start putting furniture on the wood floor.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Light fixtures were also on the list of things to switch out. I had dreams of new chandeliers to replace the stain glass globed fixtures that we had lived with the last 10 years.  Someone suggested to just change out the globes.  I swear I thought I had tried that a few years ago and couldn't get the old ones off - thanks to the ingenuity of a teenager they came off in about 30 seconds flat.  I wish I'd known that so long ago!!  We found replacement globes that were perfect and it saved a tremendous amount of time and money.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Finally it was time to decorate.  Being able to watch it come alive is my favorite part.  Whether I'm setting up at a show, or redoing a room for a client, moving stuff in our own house, that is my outlet for creativity.  It never goes together the way I expect, but always better.

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

New dressing rooms were built to just blend in - the door knobs went on those today.  The dressing room lights will be added on Saturday.  We are so close to done.  I am so grateful for this unexpected time and that we were lucky to have a great bank who made sure we got our loans and were able to pay for the remodel.  There isn't a moment I'm not humbled by the blessing of being about to remodel our shop during covid.   And we can't wait for yall to come see it!!

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

 

Cactus Creek Remodel Weston MO

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