‘When Are You Opening a School?’

Our future headquarters (fingers crossed) shown in situ on Willard Street.

Our future headquarters (fingers crossed) shown in situ on Willard Street.

We aren’t. So you can stop asking poor Megan Fitzpatrick at Popular Woodworking Magazine that question and start getting the same answer from Brian Clites, your new moderator (brian@lostartpress.com). He’s happy to be abused.

So what are we going to do at the new Lost Art Press headquarters in Covington, Ky.? Well first we have to close the deal on the building next month. Then we’ll get to work on a few mechanical issues – leaks, condensation problems and some basement drainage.

After that, the building will become the offices of our small publishing company with workstations, a photography studio, proofing and scanning stations, our research library, an 1890s wet bar and a hand-tool workshop on the ground floor.

No school. Promise.

This building will allow us to have some public events. I hope to have a book release party for “The Furniture of Necessity” there next spring in our biergarten, and it will be open to the public. Also, the library and shop will be available at times for hands-on research (more details on that later). But it absolutely will not be a school.

Last week I spent a day measuring the entire building, plus the outbuilding and biergarten. I’ve posted a few photos here of the ground floor spaces. The two floors above are very nice, but as they are occupied by tenants, I’d like to keep those private.

Here are some details:

  1. The storefront is on the corner of West Ninth and Willard streets in a quiet residential area of Covington, one block off Main Street and one block off Pike Street – the main commercial street in the city. Willard is nice and tree-lined, with 11’-wide sidewalks.
  2. The front area of the storefront is huge, 26’ wide by 39’ deep. That space is almost three times the space of my current shop. And it has 11’ ceilings.
  3. The large bar attached to the north wall stays with the building (the plywood bar will be removed). The oak bar is either original to the building or is at least contemporaneous to it.
  4. Behind the brick archway is another room that measures 16’ x 13’ – this will either become the library or a guest bedroom, depending on whether Lucy or I win the leg-wrestling match.
  5. And behind that room are bathrooms and a utility/slop sink area – 10’ x 17’. The fate of this area also rests on the results of the pay-per-view leg wrestling match mentioned above.
  6. The biergarten measures roughly 24’ x 14’ and is enclosed by fences and the wall to the garage/machine room.
  7. The garage/machine room is 19’ x 23’ – bigger than my current shop.

It’s an exciting – and totally frightening – time for us. Lucy and I have been planning for this moment for more than three years. But it’s like having a child. Nothing can really prepare you for what’s ahead.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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28 Responses to ‘When Are You Opening a School?’

  1. Never mind a school; I keep wondering when you’re going to open a pub.
    You must have an encyclopaedic knowledge of beer by now?

  2. Eric R says:

    Really happy for you man.
    I know there was an awful lot of looking,. but I think you came out a winner.

  3. jmwagle86 says:

    I thought you were going to start a new microbrewery. If so, when?

  4. therealdanh says:

    What an interesting space. I hope that the deal goes through.

  5. beshriver says:

    Blaze nightclub…home of LAP…publishers since ’07… Lesbians since ’15… I’d like to pre-order the t-shirt please

  6. jonfiant says:

    Chris, that is exceptionally cool. I hope all goes according to plan, and I hope to visit someday. See you in November.

  7. Read my lips: No sloyd benches.

  8. toolnut says:

    Did they cover up a lot of brick with drywall? I see the archway and the exterior wall and I wonder if there is brick behind the bar and other places. Uncovering it might be worthwhile. It would give LAP HQ and old timely publishing house feel and look really cool. Congrats on the purchase. It’s a really nice space.

  9. Josh says:

    This looks and sounds great. Good luck with (1) the closing and (2) the leg-wrestling match.

  10. leofrancis316 says:

    Can that fireplace be made to work? I’m thinking a nice Rumford and the smell of burning chips.

  11. Just promise to get rid of the Bud Light umbrellas in the Biergarten.

  12. Mark Maleski says:

    If you convert the space beyond the brick arch into a guest bedroom it will help you host the guest teachers for the school.

  13. Paul Sidener says:

    I am very happy for you and your family. You have a lot of work ahead of you. I hope it goes smoothly for you. It is easy to see your vision. I am looking forward to seeing the progress.
    You gave the location, you may have to put people to work on the remodeling job. I think you will have plenty of visitors, or volunteer workers.

  14. Jim Maher says:

    Oooooh! When’s the leg wrestling and how much for the pay-per-view tickets!

  15. Jeff Meyer says:

    Best of luck to you and your family. I hope all goes smoothly!

  16. gblogswild says:

    That is seriously some FUGLY paint!

    You thinking of going back to the brick, or painting something that isn’t the color of makeup?

  17. m46opie says:

    Between your project and Megans’ my paltry punch list is no longer a challenge….

  18. durbien says:

    Please tell me there will be new flooring.

  19. Chris,

    You didn’t mention the micro brewery, where is the beer going to be made.

    Then you will have utopia, a place you need never leave …

  20. Great concept, highly likely to be a success with your level of commitment.

  21. mysticcarver says:

    That place is awesome! Can not wait to see how you Schwarz it up ! Looking forward to the library and the new look of the shop. All in all very excited to see the direction this is going.

  22. Dave Reedy says:

    I still think you’re missing the boat on a “school”. I’m thinking small classes on woodworking techniques. Not project oriented but skill building. Think, sawing, dovetailing, etc.

  23. richardmertens says:

    Why not a compromise–a library with a fold-out couch? That’s what we have at home. Your guest will be delighted to browse through the books at night.

  24. Actually, you CAN prepare for the baby’s arrival. It just doesn’t do you any good when your wife goes into labor and you run out of the house in a mad panic, leaving your overnight bag, laptop, DSL, video camera, bag of secret snack food, and sanity sitting next to the front door.

    You are fortunate indeed if you can call a family member who will retrieve them for you (well… all except the sanity; never did find that bit). So just don’t forget your phone, detestable though it may be.

    Good luck with the purchase. You know its a good deal or you wouldn’t be sharing it with us.

    To paraphrase Malcolm Wallace, “Your heart is FREE, Chris. Have the courage to follow ‘er!”

    (As an aside, probably best to not leave stuff by the front door that you don’t want to forget when you typically leave through the garage door. I’m sure there’s some parabolic lesson in there somewhere…)

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