An update on our new showroom
We thought it was about time we gave you another update on progress on our new showroom and offices.
The renovation work has carried on throughout 2020 and into 2021. We’re a little behind schedule but this is for two reasons:
Firstly, the pandemic meant that we couldn’t have opened the showroom anyway.
Secondly, and more excitingly, as work progressed we uncovered some unexpected original features. If you look at our products in situ on the website, we think you’ll agree that they enhance any room so it was an easy decision for us to modify our plans and incorporate these features into the new façade and shop front. Although this slowed progress and added to cost, just like all our products we want the showroom to be the best that exists and give all our customers inspiration when doing their own house renovations.
We’ve also been doing some digging around on the property’s history.
From Co-Op to Plaster Ceiling Roses
The building was originally built as a Co-Operative store and must have served much of the surrounding area as many of the properties that are now shops on Bramhall Lane were originally built as houses and subsequently converted to retail use. This can be seen from this early picture which shows the Co-Op building on the corner in the distance (its shop front can just be made out). With the exception of the ‘Don’ cinema (now Majestic Wine) all the other properties are fine looking houses and those on the right hand side of the picture still retain their original front gardens.
We didn’t realise when we started the work, just how much of the original building facade had been covered up by the later additions and alterations rather than being destroyed by them. The old photograph gave us the inspiration to bring the building back to how it must have looked when it was first built.
Once the blue timber boarding that ran around the building had been removed, we discovered the keystone and brickwork from an arch window that had been blocked up. On the inside we found the original sash window and it was still intact - it had just been boarded over. On the outside the window sill had been chipped off and it had been rendered and scored to look like brickwork before being painted.
When we saw the remains of the sill after the paint was removed, we knew that we needed to restore it to its original state by recasting it.
The other big surprise was uncovering the original stone window head under the boarding on the Adswood Lane East elevation. This had been left in place and a much longer RSJ inserted beneath it so that the front of the shop could be ripped out and a new door and smaller windows put in. This showed us exactly how the original building would have been - the window head aligned perfectly with the window on the first floor and was of identical design. We were able to have a sash window made that perfectly matched the remaining window in every respect including the detailed carving to the central section. Again, we were able to recast the sill in situ by taking our measurements and design from the upper storey.
All the new blockwork and tiling was removed from underneath the RSJ which was also removed and we rebuilt the Adswood Lane facade in its original form. This wasn’t easy as we had to source matching Victorian Accrington Bricks and a Staffordshire Blue plinth reducing course.
We also discovered that the original windows and entrance still existed from the buildings Co-Op days - they had just been blocked up and tiled over. So once we had removed this, we set about restoring the shop front to how it would originally have looked. The windows and entrance doors were made in the workshop but all the other joinery was done on site. The plans were drawn up by architects Randfield Associates of Marple Bridge. This was one of the most time consuming and expensive aspects of all the work but the results were spectacular when the hoarding came down and we were able to see the whole building for the first time.
Finally, we removed the plastic drainage guttering and waste water pipes and re-instated with cast iron versions which would have been in place when the shop was built.
The exterior today
The photographs show what the facade now looks like. I hope you’ll agree that it looks fantastic - we’ve had many admiring comments from passers-by who told us that it’s massively enhanced the road and surroundings. We’re really proud of that.
The work inside the shop to turn it into a showroom and offices has been just as extensive and will be the subject of our next blog. We think that the inside and the outside will really complement all the Plaster Ceiling Rose products – and is the perfect place to display our range of period plaster and timber mouldings.
The building has been restored to its Victorian best and will showcase all the products and materials to make your own properties just as beautiful.
As soon as the current restrictions are lifted we will be opening the showroom so watch this space.