Well, that was a project and a half!
We received the keys to 14 Lostwithiel Streey, Fowey, on 2 February and wanted to be open by the end of the month. Take a look at this quick video walkthrough Nick made on that day. The shop was filled with racks and shelving from its days as Belinda’s Boutique, and the walls covered in woodchip, but the process seemed clear. Pull out everything, strip the wallpaper, pull up the carpet – whitewash. Done!
Except it wasn’t. The false walls were not plasterboard but fibreboard, which would have dissolved under the wallpaper stripper steam. So the whole lot would have to come off. And what fresh hell would lie beneath the fibreboard?
Only gorgeous cream and brown-trimmed tiling dating back to the 1910-20s! It turns out, 14 Lostwithiel Street used to be a butchers, Eastmans, way back in the day. Which also explained the massive marble slabs in the window (which had been carpeted – yes, carpeted – over, using so much adhesive you wondered whether whoever did the job owned shares. The floor, too, once the carpet had been ripped up, was the same.
So we bought some industrial scrapers and started scraping.
Then came the outside. An archive postcard viewing down Lostwithiel Street showed a tantalising glimpse of tiling beneath the shop windows. And so it proved, as we scraped off half a dozen layers of paint laced with concrete. The patterns that emerged slowly were captivating.
You couldn’t help wonder: which heathen decided (in the 70s, no doubt) that covering over all this exquisite tiling, almost a century old, with woodchip and white paint, was a great idea?
Fortunately, Robert Wand dropped by during the works and was immediately hooked on the project. Robert is a local restorer and signwriter of some note, who has worked for high-profile clients on prestigious restoration projects. Where dado rail tiles had been smashed to make way for studs that had been nailed throughout the property, he recreated the rails using quick-set plaster. He also filled the nail holes and matched the various colours of the tiles to enamel-paint the fresh plaster.
Robert also handpainted our new shop sign, using the trimmed and repainted sign used by Belinda’s for 25-odd years. It’s the icing on the cake.
Our new and vintage nautical and industrial wall lights now hang from two large metal grids, before you as you enter the shop. Our vintage ceiling lights hang from three suspended grids, creating a canopy as you walk around. To the rear are two sections housing our tripod lights, old and new, as well as the ships’ telegraphs.
There isn’t an LED spotlight in sight. The whole shop is lit using our lights alone, so you can see at a glance how they will look when illuminated.
Really, the place looks amazing – check out this walkthrough video. We have had so many compliments, from locals and visitors alike. We’ve seen people posing for photographs in the doorway.
All we need now – is you! Come visit!
Any Old Lights, 14 Lostwithiel Street, Fowey. We’re open for business.