This Spring dREamodel made the decision to open a permanent office in St. Paul, MN. As a growing company we thought that the time was right to create a home base for our team. The challenge was to find a suitable space to meet the present and future needs of our office staff, sales team, construction crews and customers. After a few tours of other options, we settled on a location in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul at 508 Prior Ave N.
Our new office is situated on the first and basement floors of a 1920’s streetcar era brick building. The space was formerly a Karate studio and was in the desperate need of improvement. The walls, ceilings and floors were in very bad condition and the lighting and plumbing needed repairs.
Phase 1: Basement Office Remodel
Our priority was to overhaul the basement section of the building to create a day to day working space for our office staff. We demolished the ramshackle kitchen counters and sink and pulled all the non-functioning lighting and wiring down from the dimly lit ceiling. The grungy basement carpet was thrown in the dumpster and the cobwebs were dusted away from the walls and ceiling. The next step was to add a fresh coat of paint. The floors were painted gray, the walls white and the ceilings black. The black ceilings allowed us to leave the many pipes and conduit exposed in a way that looked clean and modern.
Our electricians added 2 sections of fluorescent lighting that evenly brightened the room. New switches were added, and additional electrical outlets were placed in more functional areas. The next problem to address was what to do with a large pipe that ran along the back wall. Our answer was to frame a 4’ high wall to conceal the pipe and create a functional shelf space. The wall was sheet rocked, taped, mudded, sanded, capped and painted dREamodel orange with white trim. A sturdy blue cabinet was salvaged from the kitchen area and mounted to the back wall for office storage.
To add warmth to the space we added some affordable gray commercial grade carpeting to the office program area. The space was furnished with some vintage desks and file cabinets from the University of Minnesota’s Reuse center. For storage we added some steel shelving units from Menards in the center of the room.
Phase 2: Showroom and Sales Office
We felt it was important to create a comfortable space for our customers to visit for comparing products and discussing project options. The existing walls were cobbled together over years of poor workmanship and damaged extensively by the Karate students. There was also the obstacle of multiple pipes, vents, electrical boxes and conduit running up and down the walls. We decided a total refurbishment of the walls was in order. We elected to creatively enclose one wall section within a false wall frame to conceal some unattractive electrical and plumbing systems. Because access was necessary to a fuse box we installed a custom functional sliding barn door to cover the opening. A nonfunctioning very heavy cast iron radiator was removed to free up some extra space. A new steel exterior door was installed to replace an old broken door. The classic large pane windows were cleaned up and frames and sills painted flat black.
To add some style to the space we decided to feature white faux “tin” style panels to the ceiling. The decorative pattern and texture created an interesting contrast against the smooth finished walls. The room was painted dark gray with light gray trim. Next, we took advantage of the high ceiling height and installed new period appropriate hanging pendent and chandelier lighting fixtures to brighten up the space. A short wall was built to contain the sales work area. This wall was finished with T&G cedar and a color mix faux barn wood. We added several outlets to accommodate computers, printers and the like. Another short wall was finished with salvaged corrugated metal and rough sawn cedar to enclose the staircase. We installed a code compliant graspable handrail running down the staircase.
We decided to get creative with our choice of flooring. We installed functional and attractive ceramic tile for both entryways and a luxury vinyl tile walkway in the center of the
room. The showroom area was completed with a versatile square tile carpeting surface. The office area and the stairs were finished with a padded dark colored carpet. We added an accent wall in the front of the room to frame the street side window. This wall was first painted black and faced with nickel gapped multi-width composite deck boards of various colors to create a dynamic focal point at one end of the room. We added a complimenting barnwood style wall with an electric fireplace insert, trophy mantel and flat screen TV to one wall. This piece was once used as a part of our home show display.
Displays were added to complete the room. We framed a multilevel deck area to give realistic examples of deck, railing and lighting applications as well as a slat wall to display the full collection of Trex, Azek and Timbertech colors. This area also includes a typical porch roof alongside a patio door, window and siding combination.