We had just checked out a few potential office spaces in downtown Sudbury. Dropped ceilings. Wall to wall carpets. They were all missing a little something special.

That same night, we made our way to the old Muirhead Building to watch a theatre production, Plague (a sic love story) by Jenny Hazleton and Mathew Heiti, presented by Crestfallen Theatre. Built in 1903, the century-old building that was hosting the event was in a somewhat obvious state of renovations and served as an excellent backdrop for a story about the end of times. The old neglected walls had charm, appeal, and history.

It was love at first sight. We did a bit of research.

Here is Elm Street looking West in 1936.

Elm Street looking West in 1936
Elm Street looking West in 1936
1952, Elm looking West.
1952, Elm looking West.
1919, Elm at Durham, looking West.
1919, Elm at Durham, looking West.
1936, corner of Elm and Elgin, where Kwik Kopy is today.
1936, corner of Elm and Elgin, where Kwik Kopy is today.

Finally, Elm facing West with the old Post Office which was torn down in 1959.

Elm facing West with the old Post Office, which was torn down in 1959.
Elm facing West with the old Post Office, which was torn down in 1959.

We knew right then and there that this was where we wanted to set up shop. We immediately inquired about the space and a couple weeks later, we got the keys to the space that would eventually become Studio123.

Here are a few photos of how we went about transforming an 111-year-old space at 73 Elm into the studio of our dreams.

We had to use our imaginations a little.

This gorgeous brick wall that was never meant to be exposed was built in 1903. The Muirhead building was Sudbury’s first brick block.

When our neighbours’ building was built in the 1940’s, they simply bricked up the second-floor windows.

Just a couple of guys who were up to no good.

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.

After removing five layers of flooring, we were left with this strange mixture of paper and glue. Hmmmm.

Let’s start scraping!

Why there you are 100-year-old hardwood!

Water proved to be our best friend.

Nico, the Bane of our existence.

Take a step back and realize there’s still quite a bit of work to do. Nothing a little (a lot of) sanding can’t solve.

Now we’re talking!

In development.

Nice dark stain.

A little before and after? The photo on the left was taken in early January. The one on the left was taken in early March.

Starting a new business also means meeting with lawyers, signing documents and making it all official…

… finding unconventional places to work while you’re renovating…

… and making a cat video.

Now that the floors were done, we could start filling up the space. We got some old doors, clamped some pipe legs on them, covered them in glass and called it a desk.

We snagged this slate blackboard from McLeod Annex Public School before its demolition.

Got some old school lockers from Churchill Public School, painted them yellow and got our friend Bruno to come in and work his magic with some hand painted typography.

Picked up a great sounding Yamaha amp from le Phonophile.

Printed some really big maps of Elm Street from the 60’s and…

…played with some acetone to transfer it to our wooden countertop.

Finally, Rob climbed out on to the ledge to install our flags.

It’s been quite the adventure and we still have many stories to tell but that’s where we’ll leave it for now.

In our next post, we will give you a tour of our completed studio and explain how we set up our anti-Ikea office by sourcing out local materials, working with the Nickel City’s best handymen and carpenters, and finding cool things like glass marbles from the 30’s, a classic pencil sharpener and ball pit balls from the Internets.

AuthorNico is a graphic designer, Deutsch lernen, vegetarian meditator and tattooless punk.
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