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Tudorp
10-19-2011, 08:43 AM
A couple emails asking if I was ok, and where I been. I been poking in and out, but haven't been as active on the forum for a few weeks. Yes, there is a reason, but to be honest, a good one.

Some changes in our life here are changing. Actually an opertunity has risen that can really be the next cool chapter in my families lives. We have listed to sell our old house in this small town. We love this place, but, like I said an opertunity has pretty much been dropped in my lap.

This is my 14 year old daughter's frosh year in HS. We transfered her to another school district in the area for a few reasons no need to go in here. But, bottom line, she is happier than ever with the new school, and sports program. Yes, she is not only a musician, she is also an athlete. It's another small town just 4 miles from our current town. We have always been very involved with our local community, but frankly that has suffered due to the transfer of my daughter. Many friends understood, and are ok with it, but others refer to us as "traders" even tho we did what we felt we had to for the happiness and betterment of my daughter's teen years. Our sense of community here in the small town has suffered, and we don't like that. So, we started considering looking for a home 4 miles away in this other small town where my daughter now goes to school.

At the same time, most of you know my daughter is also a musician. She is an awesome guitarist, & vocalist, especially for her age. Not only that, she has filled in part time as a guitar tech at a local guitar shop. She loved the guitar, not just playing it, but everything from working on them, and now she has been in the process of designing her own. She aspires to be a musician, and maybe even as a living, but is realistic in knowing small percentage of musicians actually support their familes with just gigging. She wants to make her living as a luthier, and the performance thing as a side thing as well.

Anyway... We are in the process of purchasing a property that fits our dream property. My wife and I collect antiques, and love 19th-early 20th century American culture. This property is the coolest storefront building built in 1848. It was the original "General Store" of the little town, and a part of a historic district down town of the small town. It has a 1700 sf 1st floor and storefront. A 1700 sq ft apartment living quarters on the 2nd floor. It even has a 1700 sq foot full basement. Beautiful building... Below is a picture of it.

What we want to do with this, is not only live in it, but also use the store and set up a ukulele/guitar shop. Split the 1st floor into a storefront up front with a shop in the back half. The basement we plan to use for a wood shop.

I am not a luthier, but plan to build up "Dük" as a real label. I don't plan to be a manufacture, I am not good enough right now. But I do want to start to build on a name. This will also be a learning enviornment for my daughter. Some day, after high school, I want to be able to send her to a school of Lutheri, and maybe apprentice under a real luthier. Some day, this shop will be her baby. By the time she makes a name for herself, she will be set up with her own Luthier shop, and music store in a historic district. I can see my baby with her own shop, and being one of just a few woman Luthiers with a reputation in the industry. This is very exciting for us, and we look forward to a pretty cool new chapter of a day in the life... Send up prayers, and some good juju that things pan out like we hope.
Here is our soon to be new life...

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/11039648.jpg

Here it is on a row of the historic buildings. The other side of the main street is just as impressive.

Ours is the 3rd from the right.

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/constantine1.jpg

Kauai808
10-19-2011, 09:28 AM
Wow. Those pictures look like something of a postcard! I hope everything works out for you. What a cool little town.

mm stan
10-19-2011, 09:33 AM
Aloha Tudorp,
Thank you for sharing your new chapter in your life with us...sounds really exciting and wish you and your family the best wishes and may you all prosper...Your Friend, MM Stan

fitncrafty
10-19-2011, 09:43 AM
T..
Best to you on your new endeavor! So awesome, really!! I wish you and your family the best of luck! Kudos and be in touch when you can.. It's a gorgeous building, and I can't wait to follow you along in your success....

mascompro
10-19-2011, 09:46 AM
Reminds me of my old home town. Sounds like you got a good plan, hope it all works out the way you envision.

dkcrown
10-19-2011, 10:12 AM
Great looking property, Tony. I love the building. Does it need much work, aside from what you want to do to make it your own? It sounds like a great plan that you have. I'm sure that it will be special to be part of the local business community. I hope that everything works out for you. We all know the many caveats and pratfalls involved with Real Estate deals.

On a practical note, how are you going to be with all those stairs?

Tudorp
10-19-2011, 10:25 AM
We do have to do some work. It is live in condition currently, but needs some freshen up in the apartment. The 1st floor is all open, and even has the original shelving from the General Store the length of the building on both sides. We need to build a wall to split that in half between the store and the shop though. The 1st floor needs very little except that wall built. Sounds easy enough, but the thing has 12 foot ceilings on both the 1st and the 2nd floors. Love them, but, for building walls, 12' ones are a challenge.. lol.. The basement only has 8' ceilings, so it isnt so high.

As far as the stairs. Yeah, with my issues, they are challinging. They are steep and long as typical in buildings of this period. But to be honest, it was slow going, but I made it up, and down them twice in one day. Something I would not even attempted a year ago (whoot whoot). The thing is this, that daily climb and decent will be a chore, but a good thing and easier and easier as I continue my health quest and weight loss. It can be nothing but good for me, even as challenging as it is. That is how I am going into this, because yes, that was a concern. But, now I know I can do it. It will just get easier and easier as I gain my health back.

Besides that, we are going to fairly quickly after we close tear those stairs out and rebuild them. We have plenty of run space to rebuilt those stairs to a more current standard for safety. I hate tearing out original stuff, but in that case, we need, at least want to build new stairs to a more current and safe standard. We plan to use as much of the original wood, and banisters we can with the new stairs to make them look period so as not to detract from the charm of the building. Yeah, you maybe can tell we have been addressing that.. ;)

Trinimon
10-19-2011, 11:25 AM
Congrats to you and the ohana on starting up a new chapter in your lives. Looks like your head is in the right place and the little keiki will have a nice nest egg by the time she graduates from college etc. Sounds like a lot of elbow grease and sweat in the next little while for you guys but it will be well worth it. All the best to you guys! :)

sukie
10-19-2011, 12:15 PM
Good luck and best wishes. It actually sounds really fun.

ksiegel
10-19-2011, 12:37 PM
Best of luck, Tony!

Make sure that the stairs have a landing, make sure that you have smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors on all three floors. (In that kind of building environment, you have to worry about not only your building, but leakage from the adjacent structures.)

Insulate the heck out of that 2nd floor, and the first floor walls, if you can. - not much you can do for the 1st floor front, other than putting in additional windows, and giving them a thermal seal; you'd be better just adding thermopane windows behind the existing glass (Which are probably not tempered glass, by the age of the building, and thus if broken fall in big, heavy, sharp, potentially deadly chunks. As a former paramedic, I've seen it happen - minus the word "potentially", if you get my drift.

I like the concept of the lutherie - you won't have to give up on making things when the cold kicks in.

Oh, and while the 8-ft ceiling height is a bear, it is also pretty standard for that era construction. You can build in an insulated drop ceiling, with ducted runs for wiring, plumbing, and heating/ventilation, too. Unless the place has a tin ceiling; you really don't want to hide that.

When you've made the move, make sure I have your new address.


-Kurt

jackwhale
10-19-2011, 01:04 PM
Oh man! What a great story. Luck to your family with the move. There is nothing more important in life than giving our kids every opportunity.

I grew up in a small town in Michigan. Your story and pictures make me really homesick.
I can almost see the colors and inhale the fragrances of Fall in Michigan.

Hippie Dribble
10-19-2011, 02:44 PM
awesome Tony. Really pleased for you, for all of you. Hoping the venture is as successful as it can be mate, that the renovations and set up is smooth going, and that the business and family prospers as a result. I think it's wonderful your daughter has such a clear-eyed view of where she wants to go. We all gotta have direction otherwise we drift by default. Blessings to you and the family brother. :)

ADD
10-19-2011, 08:46 PM
Exciting news. Best to all of you in this endeavor and new chapter of your lives.

rreffner
10-20-2011, 03:21 AM
What a fantastic store and setting. Congratulations and best of luck with your new adventure.

Tudorp
10-20-2011, 03:57 AM
Thank you all. This is very exciting for us. We haven't had much sleep lately due to active minds contiplating our future with this. It's a good sleep loss tho, not a worry thing.

Brudda Kurt, You bring up a great point that I didn't really think about altho it will be covered by default. I also used to be an EMT, and was very active with the fire dept (volenteer) so my mind has always been geared towards safety, especially electrical safety (my living for many years) and fire safety. I didn't think about dealing with gasses/fire hazards from connected buildings. I can not be assured they take the same safety precautions as I do. So, GREAT point and advice. But, yes, there will be more than a couple fire, and carbon monoxide detectors through out the building. As well as an escape plan. My family kids have always teased me, because I always had an escape plan, meeting place and even fire drills in my home.. lol.. But, Lord forbid we ever need it, they will understand then. The stair plan we are designing does include a landing. It would be a 12.5' climb on a 20'+ run (24' including the landing). Without a landing it seems like a huge task. The stairs now are fairly steep, with only less than 9" tread, no landing. And like I mentioned I climbed it and decended twice in a single day. It was a chore, but, I was able to do it. It will only be so much better with 12" tread and less than 7" risers, with a 4' landing in the middle with a lemonaid stand in it, lol.. (kidding about the lemonaid stand of course.. hehheh). Now it is about at a 45° angle. My stairs are just less than 31°. Much safer and more graceful than standard residential stairs today.

We are also planning to replace the windows with tempered thermal pane windows. Currently, they are not like you mentioned. We considered drop ceilings, but decided against that. We will just insulate the heck out of the external surfaces. The windows are very large upstairs too. they don't look as big as they are, but they are 4' wide, and tall (within a foot of the ceiling). If we dropped it, it would be less than a foot, because we don't want to mess up those cool windows. This place does have a modern furnace with central air in the basement. It is cooling and heating the entire 1st and 2nd floor. We do want to make it as effeciant as we can, because that is allot of cubes to control. There are ceiling fans all over the pace to help circulate the controlled air. (about 10 of them on extended poles on the 1st floor, and 1-2 fans in each room on the 2nd. So, it does circulate the air pretty well. The upstair apartment has huge beautiful rooms, with all period tall transom doors and hardware, and trim. We do need to do some cleanup and repaint in most the rooms tho. But like mentioned, it is plenty liveable currently.

All this said, we also have another option if the building doesn't inspect as I think it will. There are actually 2 of these buildings we are choosing from. The 2nd, is about the same size, but only has a half basement, and it isn't a "pretty" as this one. It is from the same period, and just across the street from this one. It is our 2nd choice and our backup. It is the same price, but has allot of "pluses" to it. It already has thermalpane windows. It has been completley remodeled on the 2nd floor. The 1st floor really needs nothing. it has complete renovated plumbing, and electrical, and also has central heat/air. The negitive is, The front of it has been modernized some, and just not as cool looking as the one we chose. It looks good, just more "generic". The upstairs altho all new remodel, is built out into two 1 bed room apartments. We would have to knock walls out to consolidate into one single living space. Modern spec stair cases, etc. Nice, but also very generic/apartment like. This one we chose is simply more "homey" and charming. The trade off, needs a little more work and has more options for us as a cleaner slate. And, we just like it better. So, we chose this one, and the other as a back up plan.

Again, thanks all. We are pretty stoked about our family changes. We expect good things in our future, and the future of our kids...

Kurt, you will definatly have our new physical address..


Best of luck, Tony!

Make sure that the stairs have a landing, make sure that you have smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors on all three floors. (In that kind of building environment, you have to worry about not only your building, but leakage from the adjacent structures.)

Insulate the heck out of that 2nd floor, and the first floor walls, if you can. - not much you can do for the 1st floor front, other than putting in additional windows, and giving them a thermal seal; you'd be better just adding thermopane windows behind the existing glass (Which are probably not tempered glass, by the age of the building, and thus if broken fall in big, heavy, sharp, potentially deadly chunks. As a former paramedic, I've seen it happen - minus the word "potentially", if you get my drift.

I like the concept of the lutherie - you won't have to give up on making things when the cold kicks in.

Oh, and while the 8-ft ceiling height is a bear, it is also pretty standard for that era construction. You can build in an insulated drop ceiling, with ducted runs for wiring, plumbing, and heating/ventilation, too. Unless the place has a tin ceiling; you really don't want to hide that.

When you've made the move, make sure I have your new address.


-Kurt

dkcrown
10-20-2011, 04:15 AM
As a lover of old houses and buildings, I think that I am almost as excited as your family is over your new endeavor. I have renovated three for my family and I over the years.

I hope that there will be more cars on that street when you open your business than there were in your photos. As a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I am painfully aware of the decline of our local downtown areas due to the arrival of malls, strip malls, and large National chains. The Trust can play a part in the saving and renovation of buildings like the one that you are trying to purchase. If not financially, they can provide a wealth of knowledge and resources that might help you along the way. IMO, it would be worth contacting them. www.preservationnation.org

Tudorp
10-20-2011, 04:58 AM
Thanks for the link. I'll check that out. The wife and I have always loved, and collected antiques, and it has always been a dream of ours to own a building storefront like this, but never thought it would happen. I have been in the classic auto/hot rod circles for over 30 years, and have built many hot rods, and restored many classic autos over the years (my current being a 1948 Plymouth). This building, man, that is just the cherry on top of our lives, and our life style and decor we already live is just a perfect match to and a step back when times were simpler.

Yes, that street is very busy at times, and very quiet at times. All depends on the time of day. It is a main drag from the Michigan/Indiana border, up through Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, all the way up towards the upper penisula. It is a very traveled road for Michiganers, and local and open road travelers. All the buildings around there are occupied, and active, with the exception of this one, and the other I spoke of, are vacant and for sale. Both have been renovated, altho mine is an older renovation and in need of the freshen up. The other, it's been over renovated IMHO. A nice building, but they removed the most of the charm of the building, and stripped out the entire period interior, and updated it to a very generic "rental" type of space. The main reason we chose this one, because it is an older renovation, but still has about 90% of the original charm, doors, cabinetry etc. As far as on a business level, you couldn't ask for a better location for exposure. But also the blessing is, being retired, the shop at this point doesn't have to be profitable for us to maintain our current situation. So, we can concentrate on building it into something we want and not worry about loosing it. The building is being paid for in cash, so no worries of having to maintain it as a income at this point. We plan it to be some day, but currently, we are free to concentrate on establishing and building it to a point it can be a great income suppliment, and some day, be profitable to support my daughter as an adult business owner by that time. We have a pretty good 1-5 year plan in place already, a 5-10 year plan, and beyond as we fully retire and turn it over to the kids. By that time, it should be established and profitable for them.

joeybug
10-20-2011, 07:31 AM
Wow, Tony, looks like a fun endeavour for you all! I live in a house that is part of what was once the Railway Village, built in the 1840's, it even has a through floor lift, though that wasn't here back then, obviously! I, like you, love old buildings so coming to live here was a dream come true!

I also love the idea of your daughter having a family business to come into when she is ready! Sounds like a lot of good things are happening for you guys!

Good Luck and keep us all apprised to your progress!

Joey

ukulefty
10-20-2011, 08:10 AM
That, my friend, is totally awesome! :) Live the dream!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-20-2011, 08:17 AM
Wow, great looking building and a super opportunity for you to pursue your craft and the possibility of a built-in sales venue. It's every artisans dream to live, work and sell in the same location. Regarding your stairs, if you are like many of us you'll end up living in your shop anyway. Best of luck to you!

janeray1940
10-20-2011, 08:29 AM
Wow, what a beautiful place! Having spent my entire life in metropolitan Pacific Rim cities, I have never seen any place that charming before. I admire your ambitions and wish you the best!

brucemoffatt
10-21-2011, 12:18 AM
All power to you and the family Tony. Use the challenge of those stairs to your benefit. It looks and sounds great.
Bruce in South Australia

Tudorp
10-21-2011, 08:27 AM
I been digging up some history, and wanted to share these because.... Well, because it's just cool..

late 1800's
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/birdseye.jpg

early 1900s
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/1910b.jpg
1980's through today.
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/current.jpg

philpot
10-23-2011, 03:22 PM
That's really awesome!!! Whenever you get the shop open, shoot an address and I might make a road trip out of it ;) sounds like your daughter has an awesome passion for music. I wish I had started a couple years earlier, maybe I could've gotten into the technical aspect of instrument work as well, that's something I would really enjoy. Just not much call for it around here, or much place to learn. But it sounds like she has a great head on her shoulders about a feasible way to make a living doing what she loves. And way to go for being such an awesome dad and supporting her like that. I know it would make a difference to me if I had my family behind me like she does. Good luck with the move! I moved 3 times in 6 months, so I know how stressful it can be. I'll be praying for you that God aids you in your awesome family business venture, and I'd be pleased to own one of those ukes of yours someday! Keep us posted. Beautiful place too!


-Phil.