New Ideas Use Old Buildings- a visit to Nokomis, IL

After a few weeks of being taunted by pictures of delicious pastries, my family and I finally made the trip out to Nokomis, IL to check out the new Ugly Mugs Coffee. Owner Tim Brookshire and us have a lot in common including buying old buildings and doing your best to restore them and breathe life into the community. We ended up spending the morning there at the local bookstore, and walking the downtown, and then the beautiful garden store.  Here’s the day set to music by our old friend and creative wizard Kelly Latimore… (check out his free albums here!)

Dune on Pyramids

Building the set for a concert in Hillsboro by The Young Eyes with my buddies Ryan Young and Devin Moroney.  We filmed this the night before the show…  We projected the movie Dune on our set while the band played their set. FUUUUUN.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 9.43.23 AM.png

Here’s the video!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsmalltowncool%2Fvideos%2F1157886597673509%2F&show_text=0&width=560

FIXER UPPER!- A MAJOR MAKEOVER TAKES A “FOR RENT” STOREFRONT ON AN UPWARD TURN!-

So for all you people who dream or do take on huge projects this one to me is a major milestone for us.  We are finally putting up the “For Rent” sign in this FULLY RENOVATED beauty of a storefront in our little town of Hillsboro, IL! (I’m yelling as I write this…)

My father in law Stan Huber and I bought this building about five years ago and the dropped ceilings, shredded carpet and tin paneling storefront were such a mess I could hardly imagine them getting the start-over that they so needed.

IMG_3430

I posted a few months ago about the renovation of the facade . Stan and I were all but sure that we would never have the money to do something about the 2500 sq ft. of really bad carpet, tired dropped ceilings, and concealed side windows.  I was talking with my coffee roaster/building renovating buddy Isaac Reynolds about how thick and many layers of flooring he had cut through when working on his building and realized we probably had the same wood floor buried deep under the carpet… and so…

IMG_3459

While we were working on the floor I stuck my head into a tile in the dropped ceiling and we found tin the original tin and good ducting that could be exposed! No more dropped ceiling!

IMG_3444

We decided to put a finish on the old, worked floor without sanding it to retain some of it’s aged glory. I love how this spot at the back of the store shows paint can rings..

IMG_3489

IMG_3517

IMG_3557

If you know anyone who would be a good fit for this storefront have them call Stan Huber at 217-741-0953! The rent is $550 a month plus utilities. This photo warms my heart to see this building all pretty and now having a Sage on Sage next door (they are still doing rare tea week!)

IMG_3564

This is going to be a great year for Hillsboro! Can’t wait to show you some of my upcoming projects and a few really crazy ones that friends are working on.  Come out to the Black Rabbit/ Small Town Cool/ Young Eyes show at the shop this Friday!

-JAI Renee Pop up shop!

17229934_10154952984776145_484234441_o

Last September, friends Jenna Holtschulte and Anna Limbaugh started a business on a whim. “Anna Limbaugh is my hair stylist and we literally came up with this little sign business at one of my hair appts back in September (we both love crafty things and LOVE calligraphy) and decided to sign up for the Hillsboro Harvest Market last minute.”

17230116_10154952985506145_261331260_o

The duo and their husbands, Brian Limbaugh & Alex Holtschulte, cranked out roughly 60 signs and ended up selling 95% of them at the market. Fast forward six months, a few events, and a bunch of custom orders later, JAI Renee (pronounced Jay) will be hosting a pop-up shop.  This Sat., March 18 at 309 South Main. (Same spot as the pop up art show in January)

17269347_10154952984851145_1288526815_o

“All of our signs are hand cut, hand stained, painted and lettered all by the four of us.”

17269576_10154952984966145_652490254_o

This is the kind of creative blood that can help change our town for the better. I’m seriously restraining myself from going on a positive rant here… This is good stuff by good people.

17269985_10154952984431145_1264090210_o

Local Teameister Sage on Sage will be brewing his magic iced and hot teas, so you can grab a mug or a tumbler and fill it with goodness. (8-10am)

17273978_10154952984251145_1645178230_o (1)

This Saturday from 8am-3pm come out and show your support. It will be really fun! DON”T FORGET, a pop up shop is only a one day shop so make sure you make it out!

Follow JAI Renee at facebook here. or instagram @jaireneehandmade

P.S. photos are via-Jenna Holtschulte (see, these girls are good!)

THE REFINERY OPENING- Hillsboro goes eclectic.

This weekend Hillsboro, IL gets a new eclectic vintage goods store! Owner Jami Sarceny combines vintage collections with a colorful, fun sense of style. I’ve been anticipating this store opening since helping gut the building last December. I got in to take some pictures tonight and get a little preview and oooh, it’s good.

img_3161

img_3165

img_3172

That couch is just…

img_3188

Taxi.

img_3199

Lebowski would be proud.

img_3242

I love lamp.

img_3244

Regular store hours of Saturday/ Sunday 11-5 start THIS WEEKEND!

Follow them on Facebook here, and come out this weekend and help welcome them to town and pick up some cool stuff!

Shots from the art show!

We had two great nights of a packed house! Thanks so much to Isaac Reynolds, Josh Randle, B.J. Parker, Bailey Reynolds, Andrew Staff, Jeff Dunn and Ryne Fuller for sharing your talents! Here’s some up close shots for you who couldn’t make it-

16114397_1247060025389035_2194737305758978259_n

15965464_10154315885696313_3013368447103638748_n.jpg

Isaac Reynolds-

15895059_10154318925301313_7900269617230676547_n.jpg

Isaac Reynolds-

15871650_742303575946355_2347397022460281900_n

Josh Randle

16129634_747011448808901_1191986466_o.jpg

Josh Randle

16122225_747011442142235_1474348787_o.jpg

Bailey Reynolds-

16106893_747011408808905_2059069004_o

Josh Randle

16106176_747011402142239_687328516_o

Josh Randle

16106431_747011398808906_1849322535_o

Isaac Reynolds-

16122061_747011395475573_581472830_o

Andrew Staff-

16121708_747011425475570_964711740_o

B.J. Parker-

16106852_747011422142237_1786145629_o

B.J. Parker-

16121755_747011412142238_393953819_o

B.J. Parker-

16129570_747011465475566_760957919_o.jpg

Jeff Dunn-

Ugliness forgotten! – a local eyesore becomes an art hotspot (and gets a new history.)

For one night on January 13th, 309 south main in small town Hillsboro, IL, will become a POP-UP haven of creativity.

On a trip to visit family, new-owners Devin and Emilie Moroney took the brave plunge last year ago to purchase this derelict building while still living in Denver, CO.  While leaving an art/food town behind is hard, the new blood in Hillsboro is on a path to create a mini scene of it’s own.

IMG_2837.jpg

Two doors down from the site of Black Rabbit Coffee Roasters (and soon cafe, shhhhhhh!), the most exciting movie theatre in (at least) a few hundred miles, and a few mom and pop shops that show promise, the future is looking bright.

Before after final.jpg

This old building used to be the town’s most popular shoe store back in the day. Though there haven’t been lines of satisfied customers for a long time, this beauty is being brought to her former glory by yours truly and will have lines again this Friday for the second annual Small Town Cool/ Black Rabbit Coffee Roasters POP-UP art show!

15871650_742303575946355_2347397022460281900_n.jpg

Small Town Cool staffer JRandlephoto (ha ha..)

Local artists will include Josh Randle (Hillsboro), Andrew Staff (Carbondale), Isaac Reynolds (Hillsboro), Ryne Fuller (Coffeen native) , B.J. Parker (Greenville), and Bailey (Eisentraut) Reynolds (Hillsboro).

14199253_1116128721767521_5215091995380269383_n.jpg

Greenville realist -B.J. Parker

15941428_1053313981464105_8818445644319922125_n.jpg

Character and tiki artist Andrew Staff (Carbondale)

15934484_10154302269821313_1475541849_n.jpg

lo brow artist Isaac Reynolds (Hillsboro, IL)

1b8c913e292789e778bf65eff868d0f8.jpg

Street and fashion artist Ryne Fuller (from Coffeen, IL)

14813114_694509914059055_1188814105_o

Replacing the old storefront windows

So for any of you wanting to get a sneak peak of the space “in progress”, to drink coffee, see some Small Town Cool curated art, and talk with Devin and Emilie about their long term plans for the space, come this Friday to downtown Hillsboro, IL.

show opens- 6:00 309 South main street

Or check out the show facebook page here.

NEW SHOP! The Refinery-(a preview!)

Another sweet new shop is almost about to open in Hillsboro! Tomorrow from 11-4 Jamie Reid Sarceny is having a mini preview opening of her new shop “The Refinery” to coincide with Imagine Hillsboro’s “A storybook Christmas” on December 3rd.

img_2585

You may remember a while back our work day for Jamie.  She is opening an antiques and funky-cool-old-stuff store in a building that has been, until her recent efforts, in danger of demolition.  The building was built in 1927 to house W.H. Doss upholstery and repair, and later Claude Grotts (the high school art teachers) private art studio.

img_2612

I can already tell I’m going to be buying a lot at this sweet spot, only a minutes walk from where we live downtown.

14691926_976069752521862_7384500900367199705_o.jpg

Before… Work day photo via JRandlePhoto

unnamed.jpg

IMG_3016.JPG

the back of the building open to the sky during work day…

img_2616

My first purchase at The Refinery… Keep your eyes open for the full opening @ Small Town Cool

Midnight milling at Tony Marcolini’s woodshop in the old industrial ice plant.

Tony called me up the other night with the kind of words I like to hear ; “I’m going to try something new on my CNC machine tonight. It may not work but it will be fun!”

Tony’s shop is in the old ice plant, an industrial building in Hillsboro. He has breathed life back into it’s beautiful bones removing dropped ceilings, repairing brickwork and putting the old place back into good use.  I love the concrete ceilings, and curved support beams, a design repeated in the downstairs of the building. The 16 foot ceilings don’t hurt either…img_2536

img_2482

Tony setting up the CNC router to run a free chair design found on opendesk.cc.

img_2480

The first of the one and a half sheets of plywood it took to make the chair.  Since this was a trial run he cut it out of builder grade plywood but a final version will be higher grade material.

img_2538

Tony and his wife Jennifer setting up for the fit up of the chair. Together they run Marcolini Inc. Tony’s custom renovation and carpentry business.

img_2439

After ninety minutes of milling time and, ehem… a bit longer of all of us all head scratching and fitting this thing together, (I’m guessing) the first computer printed chair in Hillsboro’s history rolls of the presses!

img_2543

img_2550

This is a guy who has a lot going on an loves to tackle all kinds of projects. The huge industrial lamp is a recent project. He also loves making belt driven fans, and all kinds of other stuff. Not to mention running a prolific business and doing a darn good job of it.

img_2509

img_2495

A gift for Recess brewing in Edwardsville.

img_2436

img_2432

Another great example of people in our town doing cool and interesting things… Despite it being freezing cold and staying super late, I left this place of creation invigorated and inspired-