BEFORE & AFTER: 223 Main Street

To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of our renovation and remodel of this c. 1900 building, we’re showing a behind the scenes look at what it took to remove a hundred years of neglect and transform the structure to work for today. We took every effort to restore the original elements, such as the metal ceiling tiles, pine floors and brick walls and added new features in keeping with the former Belk department store’s original look and function.

The Exterior, Front

The Main Street facade as we found it was full of odd choices – glossy black granite tiles, a small residential door and an awkward round canopy awning. Our goal was a restoration of the building’s original exterior appearance in accordance with Town requirements, while adding new features needed for a thoroughly up to date look and function.

The Before – glossy black tiles, undersized door and awkward round awning
We started the renovation by adding new windows to replace the old leaky ones
We covered the granite tiles with thin brick similar to the building’s existing brick
The new windows are in and the new brick is ready for paint
We added this new oversized door and classically-inspired trim, ready for paint
The new awning is being installed, soon to be followed by a new hanging sign

The Exterior, Back

The rear parking lot facade, an addition made sometime after the orginal building’s c. 1900 construction, was never intended to be “pretty”, but we made it our mission to create a attractive new face for this side.

The Before – a uninspiring red brick facade with old doors and windows
We replaced the windows and doors and added a fresh coat of creamy white paint
The first stage of our renovation was done before we added the upper floor
We cut into the old brick, adding large windows in the upstairs addition
The new windows are ready for the glass installation
We also added a soldier course of brick over the original downstairs windows

The Interior, Front

When we purchased the building, the front area, a 14′-6″ high space, had an upper loft-like level built over a warren of small, low-ceilinged offices. We demolished this 1970’s construction to begin the restoration of the space which had originally been a department store.

The original interior included an upstairs loft that extended almost to the front door
Demo is almost complete with only a few more studs needing to be removed
We added decorative beams in the central area to tie in the structure at left
We removed many layers of paint and plaster from the original brick walls
We added fresh paint to all surfaces, including the original metal ceiling
We added classically-inspired trim to the new front door surround
We installed a huge chandelier hanging in the center of the front area with 14′ ceilings
We installed lots of LED track lighting in the entire front area
Finally, we installed freestanding walls to separate the open space into vignettes

The Interior, Back

This part of our building, a later addition made to the original c. 1900 building, was a plain, non-inspiring utilitarian space with 8’3″ ceilings. Our goal was to create a space that would be pretty for visiting customers as well as serve as an area for receiving shipments.

The Before – there was a small hair salon in the back area
We discovered an original window covered over when the back addition was built
The back area had low 8’3″ ceilings, in stark contrast to the front area’s expansive ones
We left this stairway that connects the back area to the original building
We added built-in shelving on one side of the back area
We added wide pocket doors to our new storage room and faux shiplap wallpaper

The Upstairs

This attic area was never finished and served as a mechanical space with some storage. The roof was decayed, there was no insulation or natural light, and the ceilings were very low. Our challenge was to create a bright, sunny work space that would house our studio and also serve as a space for meeting with clients.

The original attic was dark, musty and completely unfinished
We found an original window where we cut the new doorway joining the two buildings
We gutted the entire space, including the roof, to remove all decay and mold
We added two large windows to the rear wall, adding lots of natural light
Thin brick and creamy white paint was added to the concrete block wall
We added faux low-profile ceiling beams to tie in the existing structural beam

Our building at 223 Main Street is now our Showroom + Studio and is open to the public Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 – 2:00, or by appointment. We hope you’ll visit Fort Mill’s Main Street to enjoy the restaurants here as well as the new businesses that are opening!