Saturday, July 21, 2007


I can't believe I haven't mentioned our plans to renovate the building in any earlier blogs. I just did a quick review and it seems I've completely avoided the potentially biggest expense of our lives. When we bought 125 Franklin Street 2 years ago, we viewed it as a huge opportunity for future investment. It's around 9,000 sq. ft. of space--only a portion of which has ever been improved. We did this with the intent of renovating the unimproved portion of the building--mostly likely to accommodate some apartments. (Darren and I would have killed for downtown living when we were young and kid-less.)

We envisioned urban, loft-style apartments with great views (you can actually see the Cumberland River from the Legion Street side!). We thought, easy enough--add some walls, plumbing, electric and cable. How hard can it be? Well, let me tell you . . . it's hard!

First, you hire an architect. No, first, you try to figure out if there's any way to get around hiring an architect. Nothing against architects--in fact, after finding out how much they (potentially) earn, we're encouraging our budding sophomore daughter whom loves drawing and is decent in math to pursue this career path--but they're expensive. And the more more you talk--in the hopes of finding a less expensive route--the more expensive it becomes! So, get a loan to hire the architect.

Second, talk with some contractors. Here's a bit of a phenomena in Clarksville. Every licensed contractor in Clarksville has worked on each of the downtown buildings in one way, shape or form at some point in his career. For instance, every contractor we've talked to has done some work on the current Rock N Rocks building--every single one! So, we ask a few contractors to take a look at the architect's preliminary drawings and throw us an estimate. This is just to determine if we should even bother having the architect move onto more detailed drawings. Well, we have some estimates and let me tell you . . . it would be cheaper to build four houses that to renovate this building to accommodate four apartments!

Third and oh, by the way, Clarksville offers no incentives to owners of historic buildings or homes for renovations. Darren and I love this city--we hope to be here forever--but we are often discouraged by the lack of progressive action in the past. We are, however, quite encouraged by this administration--city and county. We are hopeful that in the near future Clarksville will offer incentives to those hoping to save and preserve the history of Clarksville.

Well, that's enough for this one. I'm gonna go play the lottery--powerball baby!

Thanks for your indulgence!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's New?

Having just returned from the International Home Furnishings and Gift market in Atlanta, you might think I'd be able to answer that question. I'm sure I saw it, but it did not register. We're talking miles of walking; scanning hundreds of booths and showrooms; talking with vendors who want you to buy their ideas; , thinking, planning and running mental numbers all-the-while. I'm sure there's something hot and new out there, but I doubt I can tell you what it is!

My trips to market go something like this: I love that! Where will I fit it in? Will anyone else love it? Will it go with the dishes I already carry? Should I continue carrying those quilts? How about those handbags? You're supposed to be a home goods shop! Stop looking at that. Why can't I find some lights? Who carries strings of lights? Hey . . . it's time for beers on the 14th floor, building one! The escalator to the MARTA is what? How can is still be broken? It's really a wonder I come home having accomplished anything! Thank goodness those vendors are persistent and "encourage" me to part with my funds.

So what will be arriving at Hodgepodge in a few weeks or months? Mostly stuff I ordered last winter (See "To market, to market"). It's time for seasonal Fall stuff to start arriving. (Unbelievable!) If I recall correctly--there's a lot of fun stuff to look forward to from Midwest and TAG. There are a few new offerings to look forward to from this shopping excursion, as well. I found some wonderful new 400 count cotton sheets--not too frilly, just right--from Moda Home. They're a quirky little vendor with a definite eye on the retro, campy look. I also ordered some great throws from them--with a Christmas order to be sent in soon. I found a vendor for custom made nursery furniture and bedding. Customers will have their choice of about 20 paint colors and many different fabric combinations for a look unique to your family! I'm VERY excited about this line.

Two other lines I snagged were Fringe Studios and Bungalow. Fringe makes a very unique line of glass art items. To quote their web site: Fringe Studios masters the art of fusing rare and original works of art with glass and porcelain to create heirloom quality decor for the home. Then the Bungalow line has been getting a lot of press lately--you can't open a magazine without seeing it. It's a line of storage and carry-all supplies made from an nearly indestructible poly-woven material in hip and happenin', eye-catching designs. Hodgepodge will start-out offering two sizes of the Dean-o bags and the "Woulda bin" and "Shoulda bin" storage containers. Aside from having cute names (there's one called "the 4 boys bag" named such because the designer was able to fit his four boys in the bag!) -- They offer stylish and practical storage solutions.

Also, back by popular demand, as well as practical reasoning, are the La Lavande soaps. We've re-stocked our most popular scents and added the Hearts for Hope soaps. For every soap purchased a portion of the proceeds benefit breast cancer research.

I hope you all enjoy what we have to offer. I sure have had fun finding it for you.

Thanks for your indulgence!

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