Neon in the attic!

The nice thing about buying an old, neglected building is that if you are lucky, hidden treasures come with it. In the case of 7400 Pershing we had double good luck! A long time ago, somehow, someway, someone managed to put two identical neon signs in the attic. How they got them through the small attic opening is lost to history.

 

Except for needing new transformers and a bit of cleaning, these delicate, typographic marvels were in pristine shape. KLI’s Jill found Mark at Antique Architectural Decor to do the restoration work. In a couple of weeks we got them back and they look great! Mark was thrilled to get to work on these signs and was able to tell us a bit about the manufacturer. They were made by  Kern Sign Co., which is no longer in business, but he tells us that they were an extremely good neon maker during the 1930’s through the 1950’s. Apparently our signs are at least 60 years old and judging from the gorgeous script lettering, that makes sense! What we don’t know is what Pershing Square was or means…to date, this remains a mystery. With a bit more luck, perhaps a visitor or passerby will show up one day and fill us in. The signs each measure four feet by two and a half feet and turn on via a pull chain. Now all we need to do is repair the one that we broke within in a few hours of having them back (seriously, that happened!) and find a place to hang them in the new building!

 

Have a great weekend! We’ll write more soon….

 

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Home sweet home!

It’s been more than a month since our last post and I’m delighted to be sharing this update with you from my desk at 7400 Pershing.  To say that it is peaceful here is an understatement.  Our geothermal cooling is soooooo quiet (and cool!).  Our solar panels are doing their job, too. We received our first electric bill:  $1.85.  Yep, $1.85 in July in St. Louis.  Nice.  Besides sustainable state-of-the-art building systems, being out of the hustle and bustle of Clayton is also more peaceful.  I know we were not exactly in NYC, but our neighbor behind us was the county courts and that comes with all kinds of crazy.  We did move away from food and drink at our doorstep, but our friends at Kaldi’s Coffee are just a few blocks over as are dozens more restaurants that we frequent now that we have to work just a bit harder to get lunch.  Without exception we all feel that we have traded up.  And the light!  The light here is spectacular – not too much and not too little.  On sunny days the only lights we turn on are our fun, Pershing Square neon signs…just because they look fantastic lit up on our Iron Mountain walls (thanks Benjamin Moore)!  We’ve had many visitors already and with them a lot of questions about paint colors, materials, fixtures, etc.  Check back soon for a future blog post where we’ll share our resources with you.

There is still much to be done (exterior painting and landscaping, furniture, shelving, tile, etc.) but we are thrilled to have come this far. The next big Pershing project starts next week when we break ground on our rain garden…stay tuned!  For now, here are some photographs of where things stand today. Special thanks to the fabulous Gregg Goldman for the beautiful shots.  Enjoy and thank you for following us and for sharing our story with others.

New KLI-1117

New KLI-0960

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New KLI-1001

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New KLI-1036

New KLI-1048

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Photographs courtesy of Gregg Goldman Photography

History showed up on our doorstep today

Though I am in New York on business, I received the most exciting bit of news from Matt, our building renovation project manager. It came in the form of an email with an attached photo. Here is what we know:

“Someone stopped by the project.  He was 82 and his father-in-law owned it in the 30’s…he said he would stop by again as the project gets a little closer to being finished.  Said he might have some inside pictures?, and he worked in the building for 20+yrs.”

Hopefully he’ll stop in again, leave his name and number and bring more photos! For now, we have this little beauty to enjoy and wanted all of you to see it, too. Apparently, without a doubt, 7400 Pershing did begin as a service station, drive through and all! We’re looking forward to learning even more…like, when it stopped selling fuel and when it started being many other things. Who knows, perhaps this gentleman will be able to tell us where the neon signs in the attic came from and what they were used to promote.

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Progress three ways!

A few updates on Pershing to kick off the week…

 

The geothermal pipes are in! The wells will be drilled soon…more later on that! This photo was taken from what will soon be our new utility room looking west toward the kitchen and our back door.

 

The old stairs have been removed to make way for the new switch back stairs that will provide access to the second floor. This photo was taken from the vantage point of the new side entry front door looking east. The room at the end will serve as our conference room. In case we have not said this before, the ceiling height on the first floor is nearly eleven feet!

 

The upstairs walls are down and the space has opened up! For the most part, the top floor will be without walls, less the minor walls that will partially wrap the stair opening. The lion’s share of the architectural detailing will be entirely overhead where we have removed as much framing as possible, but are still left with lots of beams and bracing. In the photo below you will note that we are utilizing two ceiling heights. The fantastic two Toms at Cohen Architecture have devised a platform that will float nine feet off the floor giving us storage space above. On either side of the platform, the ceiling jumps up to twelve feet offering us a great open studio space.

 

In a few days we’ll tell you about the two matching neon signs that we found in the attic. They’ve been restored, less a little accident…more later on that. Have a great week!