Welcome to our first ever blog post!!! Initially we titled this article ‘new shop porn’. But then we thought hmmm…..no, better not, we’ll be showing up on the wrong kind of google searches :-/
HOW THE VICTORIA & CO. STORY STARTED:
When I was looking for a new interior design studio 9 months ago, I came across a quirky little black and white building in the centre of Twyford. From the outside it was full of character and a little bit wonky (which I loved!), it reminded of a building you'd find on the front of a Quality Streets tin.
But when I walked through the door it was a whole different story…..
What a state! It was damp and dirty with a strong smell of cigarette smoke. It had been empty for a while and being an old building the weather had started to take its toll. All of the furniture that was left behind from the previous tenant was still in situ and the walls had started to go brown and mouldy in some areas.
I spent half an hour looking around and taking photos and the more I saw the worse it got. But I’m a sucker for a doer upper and I knew instantly I could turn it into something really special. The sloping floors and wonky ceilings just added to the character and I was already designing the space before I left.
Initially I was only looking for an interior design studio but there was an opportunity for something bigger. The building has 2 floors and is too big for a design studio alone, so I thought why not add something different to the high street and open a home décor shop. It's the perfect addition to my interior design business and it means there's somewhere else for local people to shop.
I picked up the keys and started the renovation project the same morning.
QUEUE THE TO DO LIST AND BEFORE PHOTOS:
Step 1: Empty the shop of the previous tenants furniture, old flooring, sink units etc.
This took a few van loads. This is now our stock room.
Step 2: Get the safe out that had no key. HANDY!
Cost: £350. The safe was a lot heavier than first anticipated and took a while to get out of the building.
Step 3: Box in the stairs and create storage space underneath.
The shop is quite petite so we have to utilise every inch of space that we can. I wanted to make a statement with the stairs so I painted black patterns on to white tiles and added them to the risers. Our stairs are now Insta famous!
Step 4: Take out the double glazed doors and kitchen area from upstairs.
We replaced these with new wooden doors.
Step 5: Deal with the damp.
If you live in an old building that suffers with damp you’ll know this is not easy! We removed the old damp plaster from two of the walls and re-plastered them (thanks dad). We also damp sealed all of the other walls too just to be on the safe side.
Step 6: Repaint the whole building.
I roped in a few friends and family members for this as time was ticking to get open in time for Christmas.
Step 7: Rip out the flooring.
Downstairs had old ripped Lino that had to go. Our carpenter replaced it with a high quality engineered wood flooring.
The upstairs flooring was worse! The carpet (which I think was once beige) was now a dark ashy grey with lots of stains. We replaced it with black and white stripy carpet and added a nice thick underlay (probably why it's like a sauna upstairs now).
Step 8: Set up the till point and shelving.
This took a lot more planning than I thought. Having never worked in a shop before I had no idea of how big the till space needed to be. I also had to work out how many power points i'd need and how many drawers we needed etc. I just went for a space big enough to fit a chair and to be able to fully open the drawers.
Step 9: Order stock, fill the shelves and the stockroom.
This was really exciting. I got to shop like i've never shopped before.
Step 10: Get shop signage put up.
Step 11: Kit out the studio upstairs.
We'll reveal the studio area to you very soon!
Here are a few after pics, pop in and see us to check out the shop in real life :-)
For those of you that were wondering, we managed to open up for 5 days of shopping before Christmas and then we went into lockdown!
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