Looking For a Dime. Found a Quarter

The exterior of the partial mansard-roof building. Though the paint job is new, we'll be repainting it in more historically appropriate colors.

The exterior of the partial mansard-roof building. Though the paint job is new, we’ll be repainting it in more historically appropriate colors.

Don’t you hate how every Lost Art Press project takes years to complete?

Me too.

After more than three years of work, Lucy and I have found a building for Lost Art Press where we will live out the rest of our days, making stuff and writing about it. We have come to an agreement with the owner of a circa-1890 commercial building with a living space above. If nothing goes wrong, it will be ours at the end in late August or early September.

The building is located in a residential neighborhood in Covington, Ky., that is off Main Street in a particularly German part area. The building first appeared in city records about 1890 as Jos. Horstmann, a “Dealer in staple and Fancy Groceries, Liquors, Cigars &c.” Two Germans lived above the store at that time – a baker and a stonemason.

The store remained a grocery and saloon for many years – switching to soft drinks during Prohibition – and was a meeting place for organizations such as the Latonia Mutual Aid Society and the Deutscher Pioneer Verein, a German publishing group. By the middle of the 20th century, it was a cafe. In the later part of the century it was a jazz club and, finally, a lesbian bar.

A view of the interior of the current bar. We will keep the vintage bar on the left. The black paint and tile will be replaced.

A view of the interior of the current bar. We will keep the vintage bar on the left. The black paint and tile will be replaced.

We have no desire to become bartenders, so we will convert the first floor to a storefront with a hand-tool workshop, offices, library and photo studio. The upstairs will be our living quarters. The rear of the building has a small courtyard, plus a two-bay garage for a car and a few machines.

These changes will take place during the next four years as we get our youngest through high school and off to college. So we’ll have plenty of time to do the work and do it right.

Have no fear that this blog is going to become the daily diary of This Old Storefront. While we enjoy fixing up old buildings, I much prefer building furniture and writing about it. But there will be a change of scenery. And I’ll probably sell off a last hoard of surplus tools to help make improvements that I cannot do myself.

And when it’s done, we’ll invite everyone to come see it.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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53 Responses to Looking For a Dime. Found a Quarter

  1. So pleased that this is finally going through. Looking forward to the next chapter of Lost Art Press!

  2. bsrlee says:

    Congratulations on finding a site. Although the bar looks like it would be comfortable to relax in after a day in a class at the Lost Art School, it would probably have to be BYO.

  3. That’s awesome! I’ll be stopping in a lot when it’s open.

  4. Very cool! Can’t wait to see it in the future.

  5. Ryan Starkey says:

    Congratulations Chris, what a great looking building!

  6. Kari Logwood says:

    I’m thinking your new store will be a bigger hit with the lesbians than the bar was. If you add an espresso bar, you’ll pack ’em in. Tools and coffee. 😉

  7. Stumpy Nubs says:

    I see I’m not the only one who went through census records to find out the history of his workshop. Mine’s an 1890 Victorian with a garage floor poured (and signed) by a couple of kids right before Pearl Harbor. One of the kids soon left and died over France. I salvaged the 120 year old cedar siding from the outside and flipped it over. The bare side was a rainbow of color from all the years on the house. It’s now the wall coverings in my workshop.

  8. frpaulas says:

    “hand-tool workshop, offices, library and photo studio”… and BEER. I mean, if you are going to keep the bar…
    Well done!

  9. Congratulations! Please keep the sign.

  10. Eric R says:

    Your search paid off. Congratulations to the Schwarz family !

  11. Chris,

    Congrats! You have earned my friend!!! I can’t wait to come out and see it!

    Cheers,

    FR

  12. Congratulations Chris. I see a promising future for you and your company.

  13. Grats to you and Lucy, Chris! Can’t wait to see it in person!

  14. Bob Easton says:

    You really need to change the title of this post: “Looking for a Dime. Found a Silver Dollar”
    Congratulations!

  15. Matt Merges says:

    Congratulations, Chris. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t mind seeing updates on This Old Storefront… sans Vila

  16. Tim Raleigh says:

    Congratulations!
    Looks like a nice place with plenty of potential.

  17. sides1960 says:

    That is awesome. Best of luck with the rehab. I would like to see work in progress posts. I’d like to hear your thinking on how you laid out the shop.

  18. Old World Carpentry says:

    What a beautiful place you found. Best of luck to you and happy carpenting!

  19. Congratulations Chris, all the best to you and your family. I think you have given me food for thought for my future (way in the future that is) of teaching here in the UK! Looking forward to reading about your journey when it comes to renovating your new home and workplace.

    • Thanks Jamie — we are returning to a style of living that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. The longer we studied things, the more we became convinced this was the right move. Fortunately Lucy is very tolerant with how I mix work and life.

  20. bearkatwood says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to your progress with it and I hope to make the trip out there to see it when it opens. You know you have an army of crafters that would be happy to help you furnish it, myself included. Best of luck.

  21. jonathanszczepanski says:

    Fantastic Chris! So happy for Lost Art Press. It looks like there is going to be another must-see woodworking stop on the cross-country drive.

  22. mrogen says:

    Chris,
    I couldn’t be happier for you and the rest of the Schwarz clan. Very few people get to live out their lives the way they envisioned it. But you’ve worked for this and are doing it YOUR WAY, which is even more rare. So good for you my friend. Good for you.

    Recently I’ve been going through some of the most serious health issues I’ve ever experienced in my life. But I’ll be damned if I let them get in the way of my seeing your dream come to fruition. So, I’ll see you Covington for a beer or three, and a toast!

    Congrats, you’ve earned it Chris.

    Michael

  23. Wunderschoen! The streets are likely to be broom clean, and the place might still smell like beer….or even…..!!! Perhaps both.

  24. wortheffort says:

    Now that place is just plain cool. Congrats, and even though you worked really hard for it, I’m totally jealous! But you left out the most important part since you’ll be leaving in the counter. What’ll be on tap?

    • Considering how much money we will be pouring into the resto, Natural Light.

      • gblogswild says:

        Seems someone might be needing to relax a few moments and make some friends within the local homebrew club. They’re often bearded lumbers like yourself. If I’m ever able to make a trip down there (just had a cousin move away from the area) I’ll bring a cask of something worthwhile.

  25. tpier says:

    Keep the bar. Plenty of times in my life a good bar has been too far away. Never has a bar been too close.

  26. Nice looking building. Good luck!

  27. Paul McGee says:

    Early September … a Coke bottle on a rope and “Bless her and all who sail on her” ??

  28. fubfcribermike says:

    It’s nice to see dreams come true.
    Congratulations.

  29. Nice Buddy Guy reference by the way

  30. abtuser says:

    I know that that publishing is your ‘raison d’etre’, but still ‘Lost Art Pub’ works nicely with the current corporate acronym, too bad the bar is going. The place looks great. Can’t wait to see any ‘work in progress’ updates if you share them, and of course the final outcome.

  31. paulobro says:

    To live well where you work, to work well where you live… Not bad.
    Not bad at all.
    Congrats.

  32. Sergeant82d says:

    Having had the wonderful feeling of finding our “forever home” a few years ago when I retired from the Army. I can completely empathize with the feeling of knowing that anything and everything you do to a place is to make it better for *you*, not some nebulous future owner. Congratulations on finding a wonderful place to send down strong and healthy roots for a lasting venture in life and work.

  33. Good for you! Does it have good natural lighting?

  34. toolnut says:

    Neato! And I gotta ask, is the bar 38″ high?

  35. Congratulations! Looking forward to the continuing saga.

  36. Ken Presser says:

    It sounds like you’ve found the dream domicile that you’ve been searching for. Good for you. Most of us are still searching, but personally getting closer lately.

    It sounds a little like your plans for the ground floor are similar to Roy’s School. Is the area anything like Pittsboro, NC?

  37. rngrpezza@aol.com says:

    Chris & LucyBest of Luck with your new home….. Larry

  38. lcm7293 says:

    Congratulations on your purchase. I to would like an occasional update on the rehab.

  39. Dave Jeske says:

    It’s going to be Amazing Chris! Congratulations.

  40. It looks wonderful, congratulations! I’ll also chime in that This Old Storefront posts would be welcome. Perhaps setup a separate blog (whatever’s the least fuss to setup and run) for that project with the occasional pointer posted over here?

  41. Jason says:

    Perhaps it’s really the beer I just drank ~ but after following along for the last few years, very happy for you!

  42. diondubbeld says:

    Can’t wait to see this new adventure play out!

  43. jwatriss says:

    That’s the best thing I’ve read all day.

  44. mnrwoods says:

    Please pardon my curiosity…how will the building will speed production of LAP? Not that I don’t like the new digs. 🙂

    • We will have dedicated spaces for photography, machine work, hand work, writing/editing, digital scanning, color proofing and research. And storage for books and lumber. As of now, we do all those things in two tiny rooms that have to be tediously re-purposed on a daily basis depending on what we’re working on.

      Even if it weren’t going to speed production, we’d move there to live where we want to live: In the city where Lucy’s family ran its chain of drugstores that closed when the bottom fell out in city’s business district in the 1970s.

      This building is not about our customers (sorry). It is about fulfilling a dream Lucy and I have shared for more than 20 years.

  45. Congrats Chris. Looking forward to seeing all the changes unfold.

    Gary

  46. G. Robbins says:

    Northern Kentucky is like the Promised land compared to the rest of the
    Commonwealth state. We have everything a growing family could possible
    need, good schools, light industry glor, a steady educated workforce and
    friendly conservative neighborhood values. That will come out in droves
    to support your new endeavor.Northern Ky is a whole lot different than what
    most people invision the area to be like. Smooth sailing my woodworking friend.

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