Reduce, Reuse, Restore


Design Professional
Environmental Architects

The challenge
A small retail space was cramped and dark. Seven-foot ceilings, dark finishes and dated lighting made this fabulous location lacking for a new retailer. Compounding matters, the old structure had no fire ratings or separations. Partnering with Environment Architects we worked to solve these problems within one more parameter. It was late August and Black Friday was the fixed deadline to open.

The solution
Removing unspeakable layer upon layer of finish from more than a century of different retailers, each one building in from the walls, captured close to 100 square feet of retail space and 12,000 cubic feet of space above the low drywalled ceilings. A fire rated assembly was installed over historic hewn joists and cast iron beams, capturing and preserving the airy tall ceilings. Stamped tin crown moldings true to the era of construction conceal mechanicals. Markham bricks were cleaned and restored. Custom beams, mirrors and retail displays built onsite provided subtle and upscale retailing elements. The greatest gem lay under countless layers of flooring and glue – an irreplaceable travertine floor. Towering effort restored these hallmark floors with inlaid mother of pearl and showcased time-lost skills and labor from 150 years ago; these floors beset the chic offerings at Frost Fine Shoes.

Traverse City's Historical Society awarded Bay Construction their highest honor for commercial adaptive reuse. On Black Friday, Robert Frost Fine Footware enjoyed high volumes and sales from their newest and finest location.


870 East Eighth
Traverse City, Michigan

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