Two renovations... back to back!
The wood-panelled old dining room in our old Victorian hotel building was where our wool duvet business was born.
The phenomenal growth of Karoo Creations has meant that we also slowly annexed other spaces in the hotel: the old bar; the dining room where we used to serve meals; the huge guest lounge… even the entrance hall and the two downstairs bedrooms where we lived while running the hotel.
This gracious old 1880’s structure is now really starting to show her advanced age. There are major – and rather urgent – repairs needed, so she will be undergoing a major revamp, both inside and out! But, as with any renovation project, there will be vast amounts of dirt and dust.
Building grime and white cotton-covered duvets should not mix! We needed somewhere for the duvet factory to reside… and that’s where Richmond’s original 1950’s Ford dealership pops up as a home for Karoo Creations. Yes, dear reader, before we commence on the facelift of the hotel building, the old Excelsior Garage also needs a full makeover!
I distinctly remember the day we got the keys to Excelsior. I stood in what will be the sewing area thinking, “What the hell have I done?” (my language was not as decent as what I’ve written here). Another poor, neglected building that was slowly falling apart.
Pushing the utterly demented panic to the recesses of my mind, I formulated a plan to resurrect and restore the building so that its huge open spaces would work for our requirements while the hotel building was being revived.
You need to be able to visualise the end product with any renovation. I liken it to a haircut. While all the snipping, shaving, colouring and blow-drying takes place, it looks like utter hell. Then the final vision appears and the beauty emerges.
To have proper production lines, with dedicated spaces for all our equipment is going to be a blessing. The best part is – WE WILL HAVE A DEDICATED RETAIL SPACE! Visitors who often drop in when travelling through Richmond will be able to tour the factory, and then browse our products in a dedicated space.
Renovating in a small dorp...
There’s no popping out to Builders or Leroy Merlin for us Richmonders. Every renovation task has to be meticulously planned with military precision. Weekly orders are placed with Graaff Reinet Hardware, who deliver to Richmond on a Monday. If we forget something, it has to wait until the following week.
Would you believe that delivery charges for bricks cost more than the bricks themselves? It is laughable!
If you can’t find the supplies you need at our local co-op, it means a 240km round trip to De Aar – the closest town with a decent hardware store.
Any good property improvement in a small Karoo dorpie is going to take time. If you don’t want to wait, it becomes a case of “spoeg en plak“.
We are so blessed that my dad, Aubrey Snr, is quite an adept handyman. At 71, he has been installing cabling and lighting, ripping out dangerous old electrical installations, climbing 4m high scaffolding and coming up with ingenious solutions to problems like roof trusses capsizing because supporting walls were removed. Skills like this are hard to come by. So… thanks Dad!!
The transformation inside the building is starting to happen. The exterior starts soon. And then another old building in Richmond changes from a dilapidated eyesore to something worth talking about.
Follow our progress...
I am terribly camera shy. Our marketing consultants basically told me to get over myself and share the progress on the renovation with our followers through videos and live feeds.
Because so many of you have been deeply invested in our story since we started, I’ll be posting more “behind the scenes” video content to our social media channels to give you an insider’s take on how we renovate in the Karoo.
So, dear reader, make sure you have subscribed to our Facebook and Instagram pages and follow us on this absolutely epic (and probably stir crazy) journey of renovating two of the biggest buildings in Richmond.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll also probably be thrilled to know that we will have a very limited number of factory seconds made on our new machines. Scroll down a little further for the link to catch the discounts before they sell out.
With very fond regards from the Karoo,