Our huge renovation project is finally complete! Thrive Studios is now the region's LARGEST tattoo and piercing studio with 2 FLOORS! We have recently doubled in size by adding a private second floor loft space strictly for tattooing. We've also expanded our main lobby allowing more room for clients and expanding our extensive jewellery selection. Also our piercing room has gained some extra square footage including new 9 foot ceilings throughout the main floor with original tin ceiling from the early 1900's!
PLEASE COME SEE FOR YOURSELF THE NEW THRIVE STUDIOS!
Below is our renovation time line...
January 01, 2009: The second floor 2 bedroom apartment above Thrive Studios is now empty. No more tenants and it is now ready to call in the pros (Jeff Fluit and his crew, Whistle Construction) to give us some estimates about converting this residential unit into more commercial space. As Thrive Studios has continued to get busier over the last few years, we have seen the need to expand in order to be comfortable within our own studio. Our goal is to use this second floor for just tattooing therefore allowing us to expand our main lobby on the first floor. At this point an architect also had to be hired in order to draw the blueprints of the building as none were available. This proved to be a tedious task and very time consuming. In the meantime we decided to book a date to start knocking down some walls.
January 11, 2009: During the course of a Sunday afternoon our whole crew worked hard busting down walls on the second floor. This really started to open things up and got us excited about getting the project started! We wanted to have a very open "loft" type space on the second floor and now we were able to start seeing the potential. The drawings were still in the works and we were waiting in limbo wondering when the plans will actually become reality. In order to apply for a building permit we had to provide the the proper drawings to the City Planning Department including actual plans of the complete renovation. Again this proved to be a very long process.
March 24, 2009: At this time we were advised to bring in an engineer to test the weight load of the second floor to see if the structure could support our added commercial space. And of course it failed. Now the stress of wondering how we could continue with our project. Our contractor, architect, and engineer all sat down and came up with a plan to install an 800 pound steel beam on the main floor supporting the weight of the second floor. This will change the overall project significantly and also add a bunch of added work on the main floor. Now the final drawings can be done and submitted to the city for final review to get our building permit. Waiting this long seemed to be the hardest part.
June 23, 2009: FINALLY...3 months later! After numerous stressful meetings with the City Planning Department and even a City Council Minor Variance meeting regarding the parking situation, all our issues have been resolved. The building permit was finally in my hands! The next stage is finally here, booking the contractors.
July 13, 2009: After numerous trips to the City Dump, the second floor was only half way from being completely gutted. We still had to remove the plaster and lath walls and still had to rip up all the flooring. The contractors have booked their date with us to start the whole project on Sunday July 26th. This left us a couple weeks to do the finalized demo of the second floor. Removing the remainder of the plaster and lath and knocking out an old fireplace was on the agenda for the day. The day came to an end quickly and we still had to rip up the flooring and remove the bathroom. That left the rest of the week to put in any spare time to do the final clean up of the second floor.
July 26, 2009: Whistle Construction and the crew are finally here! This was going to be a very stressful weekend. As Thrive Studios is regularly closed on Sundays and Mondays we thought it would be best to attempt this beam installation within our two days off. Our contractors had then asked us to allow Tuesday as an extra day to get the concrete poured and inspected. Sunday we prepared the main floor for installation of an 18', 10" steel beam that is going to support the second floor. This will enable it to meet code for the amount of weight per sq foot in a commercial space. A wall was removed and three 3'x3' holes were dug to allow for cement and posts. The ceiling was removed as were all the lights and electricity. While removing the ceiling we found a beautifully patterned tin ceiling. It is in great condition so instead of covering it up again we're going to clean and paint it. This now allows us to have 9 foot ceilings without the ugly original drop ceilings that were present before. It will also add an element of style and class to our front counter area. Sunday was a long day but Monday had a lot more in store...
July 27, 2009: 7am came early, but there was still much work to do. The task was positioning the beam and Jeff's crew of 4 men were ready for the job. First the three 3’x3’ holes were dug deeper for the amount of cement required for the job. Then a groove in the ceiling was cut away where the beam would be positioned. The beam was brought inside, in two pieces weighing approximately 400lbs each. Two men were on the second floor hoisting the beam into place with industrial sized jacks. The other two men were below making sure the beam was positioned properly. It was a tedious job. After raising the beam in place it leveled out the upper floor almost another 2 inches! Everything went exceptionally well with no issues.
July 28, 2009: It's Tuesday morning, we're usually open on a Tuesday but the shop was obviously in no position to be open yet. Today the beam was in the final stage of installation. The 3.5”x3.5” support posts were fixed to the beam, dangling over the holes that had been dug the day before. The posts are now to be anchored securely in the cement. The cement truck arrives and the crew starts filling the holes. Everyone quickly realizes that there wasn't enough cement so a second load had to be ordered. Throughout the day some clients were stopping by hoping that we were open. They were both excited and understanding about the construction and can’t wait to see the final outcome. Later in the evening we were joined by staff, clients, family and friends, all helping put the shop back together to be ready to open the following day. Now Whistle Construction is done temporarily on the main floor...now onto the second floor.
July 29, 2009: Things are moving so fast. The cement had hardened overnight leaving only three anchored posts into the ground, soon to be hidden behind a wall. Jeff Fluit and his team packed up their tools and headed upstairs to the future tattoo room. The plumber came in today. His task was moving a hot water tank from the middle of a hallway to the basement. Also upon inspection we found that most of our plumbing under the bathroom floor has been leaking and completely corroded. One more thing to add to the mix of renovations. Our staff arrived a couple hours early to finish cleaning and getting set up for a full day of tattooing and piercing. By the end of the day the contractors had the entire upstairs framed and ready for the electrician. Seeing the bare bones of what will soon be the new tattoo room makes us excited for the day we can finally use it. At this point we're completely exhausted.
July 30th, 2009: The electrician stopped by today to rough in all the lighting and wall outlets. The networking technicians and the plumber decided to make a visit too. The wiring for the upper level was roughed in. The network techs ran all of the wires for internet and telephone throughout our entire building. Now we will be able to have full internet access on ever computer on every floor without worrying about the poor wireless connection we were using before. The Dry Waller Dan Copping (DC Drywall) is booked to come in on the weekend of August 8th. This gave us about a week to insulate the entire upstairs and finish all the electrical. In this time a building inspector was called in to get the approval to continue. No issues were found and now onto the Drywall.
August 9th, 2009: Dan Copping (DC Drywall) stopped by and finished drywalling the whole second floor. It’s getting more exciting at each stage of completion! They worked incredibly fast and it looks amazing. Now for the mudding, taping and sanding before we can start the painting next weekend.
August 10th, 2009: Eric Joosse (A.C.M.E. All Canadian Mechanical and Electrical) put in a full days work installing new ducts for our furnace. It's was great to watch how he was able to run the duct work properly while maximizing the amount of airflow between the two floors. Eric was great to work with and we're thankful for his expertise!
August 14th 2009: The last few days have been preparing the walls for paint. A crew of 3 stopped by to tape and mud the drywall. Each day they returned to sand and apply another skim coat of mud. Now the walls are sanded and the floors are vacuumed just awaiting a fresh coat of primer. The wall colours for the new tattoo loft have been chosen and now it's time to start painting.
August 22nd, 2009: Tommy Osborne took on the task of painting the whole second floor. Tommy has done painting for us in the past and we’ve always been happy with his attention to detail. He also lived in this unit for 12 years prior to us purchasing building so it only seemed fitting that we would invite him back to do this project. If you need a great painter at a reasonable price call Tommy for a quote: 519-650-9031. While he was painting we were busy picking out light fixtures, new flooring, new bathroom décor and a new hand washing sink with foot pedal operation. Good friends of Bry (Atilla and Mike) offered their help with installing the new laminate flooring. They finished the floors quickly and we were very pleased with the final outcome! Now the electrician returned to install all the lighting and the outlets making the second floor come to life. Now the trim can be installed and painted and we can start moving the tattoo artists upstairs!
September 1st, 2009: The second floor is now open for business! The tattoo artists have moved upstairs, artwork has been hung, TV’s have been installed, new stations have been set up, now it’s time to start tattooing clients with A LOT more room! Jeff also took on the task of building us a custom oak counter top for the tattoo area which looks better than we could have imagined! A few minor things are left to be done but for the most part it has been a smooth transition to the second floor. Now onto the next part of the expansion project...the main floor. A lot of work still has to be done before we can officially say our expansion is complete. The next couple of months are dedicated to rebuilding the main lobby and adding a larger piercing room.
October 10th, 2009: The past month has proven to be very difficult trying to demolish the main lobby while still operating our business. We worked non-stop gutting the old tattoo area which will soon become the new piercing room. Everything at this point had to be done in small sections. The new piercing room had to be built, drywalled, sanded and painted before we could remove the old piercing room. Also at this time the old electrical wires were ripped out and re-run throughout the entire main floor.
October 18th, 2009: With no interruption to business we managed to build the new piercing room and started to demolish the old piercing area. This is where the new comfortable waiting area/lobby lounge will be with two new couches, a fireplace and wall mounted TV! The sterilization area is also getting a face lift adding a couple extra feet and adding a some new windows for clients to view where all our sterilizing is done. We managed to demolish most of the main lobby over the course of our two days off on the weekend. We cleaned up enough to open the shop again for our regular hours on Tuesday.
October 24th, 2009: It took numerous trips to the City Dump to unload the mess we have created. With the main lobby finally gutted Jeff and his crew stopped by to frame the walls and build a few bulk heads to hide the beam and duct work. Once the drywall was hung we called in Atilla again to lay some flooring.
November 9th, 2009: One of the goals from the beginning was to try to and restore the beauty of the original tin ceilings. By salvaging some of the extra tin that the bulk heads were going to cover, we managed to repair and patch some of the damaged pieces. After caulking over 300 holes, (thanks Tommy) adding a coat of primer and a couple coats of white ceiling paint, it turned out better than we ever imagined! Now it was Brad's (electrician) turn to install some lighting and install the electric fireplace to the lounge area. It's starting to look like a studio once again!
November 16th, 2009: My new piercing room is HUGE! Lots of room to bring your friends and moral support while you get your new piercing. Also fitted with a new stainless sink with foot pedal operation, this is finally the piercing room I've been waiting patiently for! As a finishing touch I finally had some space to display my collection of skateboards that I've been collecting over the years.
November 22nd, 2009: Laura and Donna took on the tedious task of restocking all the body jewellery. As a last minute project I decided to start building a new counter/display case. Although it wasn't originally planned to build a counter of such size, it is really turning out great. The design and size of the front counter grew larger as the days progressed. The added space will allow us to stock more jewellery and continue to have one of the areas largest body jewellery selections. The custom fitted glass has been ordered and should be ready to be put together on the weekend!
November 28th, 2009:
Now time for some new logos for the front windows. The end of November wasn't the best idea to decide to take on an outdoor project. With numb fingers we managed to scrape off all the old window decals. Our good friends at Xtreme Inc. on Hespeler Rd. in Cambridge (www.xtremeinc.ca
) have printed us some new decals to install on the front of our studio.
December 1st, 2009: The expansion of Thrive Studios is FINALLY complete! Tattooing has been moved upstairs to the second floor and the main floor just got a complete makeover including adding a larger piercing room. A comfortable new lounge area with a fireplace and TV has also been added to our first floor. The outcome is amazing and we couldn't be happier! It's hard to believe that almost one year ago we started this whole project. There were many times that we thought it would never end but it was well worth the wait. Special thanks go out to all the help from the numerous contractors and friends that made this all possible. Also thanks to all of our dedicated clientele that have been patient with us during this transition. We hope that each one of you will stop by and visit the new studio and give us your feedback! We look forward to seeing you soon!
A special thanks to Jeff Fluit (Whistle Construction) and his entire crew. It's great to see someone as excited as myself getting the project completed. They truly work at a fast pace with complete confidence throughout. In the very beginning when Thrive Studios was ready to start building in October 2005, Jeff assured me he can get the job done in a timely fashion. He kept to his promise and delivered more than we expected. It was only obvious that when I was ready to expand that I'd be calling Jeff at Whistle Construction to help Thrive Studios grow once again. I'm glad to have found a renovation crew that I can trust and depend on. Thank you once again Whistle Construction! Jeff Fluit - Whistle Construction 519-223-6945