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Sara Baldwin Designs Blog

Blast from the Past

This is a page from a 1999 issue of “New Ravenna News” (for us, the equivalent of blogging ten years ago). It features an old theater we still own and operate as a warehouse. While perusing old computer files, I found the companion article I wrote about the renovation of the out-of-commission theater–and here is an excerpt for old time’s sake:

“By lucky happenstance, an old 1937 movie theater came up for sale. There were not hordes of excited buyers because Exmore, VA has seen better days. What used to be a thriving railroad town is now practically a ghost town. There’s potential for charm but you have to put on some mighty rose-colored glasses. For fifteen years the grocery store chain “Meatland” had rented the aforementioned theater for corporate office space. There was even a huge sing on the vertical marquis in the front that proclaimed the name proudly. For the last six years the building had been empty. When we first viewed the building, ceiling tiles were falling in, the roof was leaking badly, various amphibious creatures had taken up residence, the space had been divided into about twelve offices with cheap brown wood paneling, and the sign was still there.

You, by now, are probably thinking what I was thinking at the time, and that is: “What a great place for a warehouse!”. I quickly forgot my sensible philosophy about real estate investing and fell madly in love with this Art Deco theater. I bought it for a song, my [now-ex] husband agreed to be the general contractor, and we quickly set about gutting and renovating the space.

After two months, we thought it might be educational to let the public know about the more realistic aspects of project renovation. I have decided that it would be appropriate to contact the popular public television show “This Old House” in order to produce a documentary adventure entitled, “This Old Theater”. “This Old Theater” would include all the stuff that occurs between the takes that make up the seemingly perfect coordination and execution of a renovation project on TV:

Various titles of programs in our series would include “How to get your painter out of jail” (I’m not kidding) and “Mountain size Fountain” or “How to inadvertently sever the town water main”. For those of you who can’t get enough of this sort of action-packed television “How to inadvertently sever all the buried phone lines”is next in the series, followed by “How to keep Jodie’s mind on her work when the roofer looks like Brad Pitt”. My favorite episode, however is the very riveting, “How to break the neighbor’s septic tank lid with your new forklift” (which also elaborates on the very best way to remove one’s forklift from inside the neighbor’s septic tank).”

So there you have it, a spellbinding look into the New Ravenna world of urban renewal 1999. I’d like to think that we operate with a little more finesse these days…but every once in a while I wonder…and it’s not nearly as entertaining!

3 Responses to “Blast from the Past”

  1. mosaicology says:

    Glad to see you back.

  2. Jessica Sandlin says:

    I love this, and I plan to visit to see the final product! I particularly am fond of the Get the Painter Out of Jail title…

  3. oceansmiles says:

    I love this and plan to visit and see your space- amazing!
    Love the titles of the episodes, too!

Leave a Reply to mosaicology

About Me

Sara BaldwinSara Baldwin

Exmore, Virginia, United States

New Ravenna Mosaics founder and Creative Director, Owner, Sara Baldwin Design, Bass guitar player, Envisioner, Appreciator of the Sublime and Ridiculous.


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