It’s been one bonkers week since we closed on our purchase of the Anthe Building, which will become our new headquarters here in Covington, Ky. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, click here.)
This blog entry is a brief update on a shed-load of work. But before you read further, please take a moment to digest the following.
This project is being done to code by licensed and bonded professionals. We are following all applicable federal, state and local guidelines. If you feel compelled to make some comment like “that’s not safe,” “that’s not right” or “you should do this instead” know that the world will never see your wisdom. I’m going to delete it. The only thing worse than armchair woodworkers are armchair plumbers, electricians and general contractors. Thank you.
We have three big goals before June 1, which is when we plan to start fulfilling all orders from here. (Note, we are actually already fulfilling some orders from here at Willard Street, breaking in the shipping software and building new processes.)
- Clean the first floor room and make it safe and appropriate as a climate-controlled fulfillment center.
- Add the bits we need to make accept and send deliveries (a paved driveway and a rollup door).
- Build an ADA-compliant bathroom and amenities for our two new fulfillment employees.
This week was all about No. 1. How do we remove 125 years of oil from the floors and walls? The answer: Dawn Degreaser. I have never worked with the stuff before, but it is amazing. The clean-up crew wets the surface with the degreaser at full strength. They wait 10 minutes. Then they scrub with a stiff-bristled brush (or an electric floor scrubber). The sludge is sucked up in a shop vacuum immediately and disposed of properly.
The difference is shocking. In one week we went from a room that reeked of oil to barely a wisp of smell. In fact, the degreaser is working so well that we think we can use the original floor with a few repairs and patches, instead of covering everything with a floating floor.
Also in the process, the carpentry crews have been dismantling the modern improvements made to the building (I have been helping a bit because I love this process of discovery). Also, the HVAC crew put in the three mini-split heads for the first floor.
And we are starting to draw and plan for No. 3 (the bathroom).
What about No. 2 (paving and a new rear door)? Glad you asked. Site-prep and pouring begin next week. Then the rollup door can be installed and the broken modern metal doors at the back can be removed and sent to the scrap yard.
— Christopher Schwarz
44 thoughts on “Anthe Update No. 1”
Wow. That’s amazing. Any plans to remove the paint on the inside brick and bring it back to it’s natural looking state?
We suspect the paint was applied very early. We are leaving it. The brick is soft, so removing the paint is not advised.
The paint looks to be in remarkable shape. Like the grease protected it.
I love the way you slay the cyber trolls!!
Looks great. Congratulations. Oh by the way you should have….just kidding
Great progress, looks like Dawn Degreaser saved the day.
Reading National Geographic a few years ago on cleaning oil soaked seabirds… Dawn dish detergent.
I was using a diluted solution last summer to kill spotted lantern flys.
Thanks for the update. Good to know that century old grease and grime can be cleaned up. Keep posting you are inspiring other to take on tasks that seem impossible.
The transformation of that floor is amazing. Hope the rest goes well.
Hmmm…… Was revisiting your hand plane “rehab” video earlier this week. Dawn Degreaser vs Simple Green…..
Having spent the last 20 years getting permits, hiring trades, and making sure everything meets building codes and the work is done in full OSHA compliance I had to laugh because I fully understand where you’re coming from. You have never struck me as the kind of guy who would risk his business or anyone’s safety by cutting corners. Hopefully your willingness to share this renovation project will be of benefit to others who read your postings. Bringing an old building up to current code isn’t a job for the faint hearted or shortsighted. Watching your progress is going to be a lot of fun for me. I hope it pays off big for you and John. Thanks for sharing.
what am exciting time! the transformation is remarkable. I’m gobsmacked that you were able to slip in a No. 2 right next to the bathroom. was there a bathroom in the original building?
Looks fantastic! You know, the law. Says you must let MEGAN tee meals a day, at least 4hours sleep night, 1 hour off on Sunday for church. Keep up the good work. Wish I lived up there so I could provide some free labor (non-professional of cours)
This stuff is BIG FUN!!!
That floor looks like a keeper.
Any link for making sub $100 donations to your restoration? Thanks
You can do that here:
The link is at the end of the first paragraph on the “Help Restore the Anthe Building” page but it’s easy to miss.
Best of luck!
Those floors look as the stories they could tell and the music of all the feet trod through out. Maybe take a minute and sit with coffee in hand before the workmen arrive. Soul food.
As a licensed Master electrician and former contractor, I applaud your methods. Keep up the excellent work.
What a great old building.
Dawn is amazing stuff, everything from your cleaning tasks to a component of SuperQuench (able to harden low carbon steel: 5 Gallons of distilled water, 5 lbs. non iodized salt, 2 – 8 oz. of Dawn Ultra Blue,
8 oz. Jet Dry for diswashers).
Following with great interest. Sounds like a fun (but very tiring) project.
The effect of the degreaser on the walls is amazing. I never would have thought the walls would get that clean. That’s a great job.
Is the electrical changing much? It looks like it was added onto and changed so much over the years, as the needs and demands of the machine shop required. It’s certainly not what you would have for a fulfillment center.
We are removing a lot of the 220 that powered the lathes. Mostly to reduce clutter and unnecessary conduit.
We have three-phase on the second floor. And a lot of 220 on the second and third floor.
Loving the updates. Nothing better than seeing a building like this come back to life.
How exciting! Great to see this building move to new life while honoring its past. Love it!
That floor is amazingly disgusting, I can’t wait to see the full restoration!
For the bathroom, are you going for a similar “original” look, or a common modern bathroom?
The way I approach renovation is to try to get into the head of the builder. After hours of examining this building and its structure, they approached walls with simple framing and painted beadboard. No plaster. So the bathroom will use white hex tile for the floor (the floor is too rough for a wheelchair user in my opinion). Walls and ceiling will be painted beadboard. Fixtures will new (to be ADA compliant) but vintage-looking. Door will be one of the originals we have salvaged from other areas. (They added walls in the 1990s that were beadboard with original doors and windows from elsewhere in the factory. So we are taking the same approach. Reuse.
Definitely use the old floor, if at all possible.
The Lost Art Press version of This Old House …
So sad that you didn’t make the bathroom goal No. 2. grin
Another missed opportunity.
That Dawn is really amazing stuff. That old floor has gaps you can drive a truck thru. How do you plan on tackling them if not by using a floating floor? Ship’s caulking & sealant? What kinda finish? The oily wood would keep any varnish or paste wax pretty soft, I’d imagine.
We are going to replace boards that create a hazard (about six square feet total). But otherwise, we are going to clean it and let it be. This floor is going to be our fulfillment center. And it’s smooth enough for a pallet jack.
Again with the slanted wood floor. I wonder if that is a Cincinnati thing? I will be tres cool if you can bring it back.
No armchair-ing here! You are doing it the best way possible.
If I were closer I’d volunteer my time
The floors remind me of this painting I saw once…
My wife and I sometimes talk about want to breath new life in an old building. I worry it would take a lot of money and more importantly, a lot of time away from woodworking which is the hobby. For now, I will be happy to watch you go through this for the new building. It was a pleasure to watch what you did to the current LAP/home location.
I love the interior photos of this classy old industrial building, it’s easy to see the outside, but not so easy to look in.
keep up the good work! I’m looking forward your updates