Friday, June 15, 2012

Four and a half months of progress...

These last 20 weeks have been a blur. We've sorted, swept, tossed, inventoried, organized, mowed, scraped, pulled off a mountain of drywall and nails, filled a 6 ton dumpster with debris, and then a 4 ton dumpster... twice! We've drawn countless sketches in order to describe our thoughts, lifted more than we should have and walked funny afterward. We've breathed in more dust than we should have and coughed like crazy.  We've spent hours emptying a window of multiple ancient bird nests and there are a few more windows like that to go. There's so much work stretching out into our future that we try to celebrate each accomplishment.  Each tiny toehold up the mountain makes us smile with satisfaction, even though the mountain seems to grow as we go.  We're hanging on to our vision of Whistle Stop Corner in the face of the current chaos.

Because WSC is in a historical district, we're learning the process of working with the city to ensure that the buildings are restored in an historically appropriate way.  We did a happy dance to receive our Certificate of Appropriateness from the Office of Historic Preservation which authorized removing the dangerous balcony/porch roof and the biggest eyesore of the property.

Tar paper "bandage" where balcony was removed.
 Even though it means we'll have a tar paper "bandage" on the main building until the balcony is replaced, it was exciting to see it come down.  The view from the balcony will be spectacular- The Tower of The Americas and the Hays Street Bridge toward downtown, the north side of the WSC apartment building across our courtyard, and a grassy, tree-edged lot across the street.

Of the three buildings on the property, the apartment building has gotten the lion's share of attention so far.  It's been a beehive of activity- electricians rewiring the whole place from scratch, carpenters working their magic with new insulation and drywall, HVAC specialists installing central air units, plumbers running new lines, and painters scraping the last vestiges of very old paint from the wood siding, then caulking and priming. We can't wait to see the paint go on soon!  We hope the apartments will be ready to lease by early September.
New drywall going up.

Apartment building's new electrical service.

Preparation for paint!
The main building has the beginning of its new wiring, which has allowed us our refrigerator and a very large A/C window unit- life savers!  We also have two flushing toilets (Yea!) -one upstairs and one down.  Only two more to go.  Very soon to come- hot water!  That will be a red letter day, trust me.   Although cold water is not all that cold in central Texas, a bath in a deep clawfoot tub would be made all that much better with hot water.
We're loving the wood floors and high ceilings and the very close proximity to the gallery.
Primer changes everything.

Electrical inspection day- Approved!

We truly thought we'd be adding posts and photos MUCH more often, but instead it's been all we could do to work at Whistle Stop Corner, work at Nueva Street Gallery, and keep house and family functioning. We've come home, made dinner and collapsed each evening.  Thank you for being interested in our progress and process. We hope we can post more often in the weeks ahead.

Life is exciting as we're making this dream come true!