Retreat Update

Last year around this time, I wrote about a 1799 manor house I was in the process of restoring, then as usual, the combo of me not being a great blogger and the insanity called my life got in the way and I never let you know how it ended up.

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Well, it ended up pretty great. I officially started renting it out as a vacation rental and small wedding venue last spring. Since then we have hosted several weddings, family reunions,womens retreats, we have been photographed by countless wedding stylists,  we have been the site fun girlfriends getaways, and even on the cover of a European mystery novel! I am also excited to say it is being shown in the February issue of Washingtonian Magazine! That truly is an honor.

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We’ve come a long way from an abandoned house!

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To say it has been a learning experience would be an understatement, but all absolutely worth it. Nothing makes me happier than knowing this beautiful home, that had been left for so long is now filled with so many happy memories.

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Here are a few pics, you can also check out retreatatcoolspring.com or  #retreatatcoolspring on instagram to see a lot more photos, and check out February Washingtonian…WOW I cant believe I’m saying that!

Makeover time!

Our beloved store is getting a makeover this week!

Since work on a 100+ year old building is never complete, we are hard at work again on the exterior of the building before the cold weather sets in.

 The old siding and shingles have been pulled off and new waterproof barriers have been added to the side facing Route 15.

Some of the old trim around the windows was replaced.
 
Glad I don’t have to figure out all of those angles and cut all of those trim pieces.

Nailing in various trim before the siding goes up this week.  {I’ve never seen anyone scurry down a ladder so fast as our contractor when he realized I snapped a picture of him}

 
I just thought this picture looked kind of cool.  The blue distressed portion is the ceiling of our porch.  The Cigarettes logo is actually an original window detail from the building back when it was a general store.   There are many unusual details like this throughout the building that were saved whenever possible.

Here is the main side of the building if you’re heading north on Route 15.  The black signs on the painted doors read “Kindness Matters.”

And just for fun, here are a few pictures of the store when Suzanne purchased it.  Well, it wasn’t really a store, more like an abandoned building in some major need of some TLC.
  Looks a little like a haunted house, right?
 
 
 Creepy, right?  That gives me an idea for a post for October!  Stay tuned in October if you want to hear some interesting tales about the building…

Happy 60th birthday, Henry the Incredible

March 1996…

Well we bought it now we had to figure out what to do with it…

We hired a contractor to get us started, but we felt like we needed a few guys on “our team”.   So we went to a local guy who restored log cabins and asked if he had anyone available. Luckily he was in between restoration jobs and told us he had a few guys that could come work for us.

The gods were smiling on us because one of them was none other then our Henry May.

Henry has been with us pretty much before day one. As all of our customers know, Henry is 100 percent an invaluable part of the Lucketts crew. There isn’t an inch of this place that Henry hasn’t patched, painted or replaced. He has assisted thousands of customers at the store, between repairing, painting, loading, advising, and storytelling, he’s done it all.

Now it’s time for us to celebrate Henry May. March 11 will be his sweet 60th birthday and there is no one card or cake that can begin to express our appreciation for him… So we are asking you to respond to this blog post with your Henry-isms and birthday wishes for our very amazing friend.

In April we will be selling Mayhem 2012 t-shirts, which will double as an invitation to a cookout the Friday night of May Design House.

 We love you Henry!   Happy sweet 60th!

Why the groundhog?

Coming to the realization the Groundhog sale is only a week away.

I was laying in bed the other night and as the usual ten thousand thoughts were flying through my head…

What do I have for school lunches tomorrow…
Crap, it’s raining, I hope I didn’t leave anything good outside…
Need to get my tailgate fixed….
Where should we go on vacation…
and I hope it’s not too muddy for the Groundhog………
THE GROUNDHOG!   OMG!   It’s next week!

My brain started running down memory lane and wondering what started this event in the first place.  Before I knew it, it was midnight,  and I was laughing myself to sleep ……

A vintage Lucketts Groundhog sale postcard

First…why the Groundhog?

It was our very first year in business.  We opened August 1, 1996.  All was going well – we had a good Fall and were going into the winter.  Back in the day, winter was a little more bleak out here in the country.  We were not quite as well known as we are now, and let’s just say when December hit, it was pretty much just us, the mice, and the ghost of Mr. Lucketts (I’ll write about him later)….

It was pretty clear that nobody was coming here for Christmas, and I wondered what might make anybody visit us ’til spring.  I knew that basically there’s nothing like a big fat sale…..but it’s
something antique shops generally never do.  It’s hard to get all of the dealers on the same page…as they are pretty attached to their stuff, and the thought of letting it go at a reduced price doesn’t happen.

Well…I didn’t just want reduced prices… I wanted insane prices…I wanted us to clear the place out and start over for spring.  Freshen it all up!  I wanted our customers to have a major big fat reason for wanting to come all the way out here.  We brainstormed for themes for our sale and went through the gamut of…”cabin fever sale” … “dead of winter sale”…”prices so low you’ll be frozen in your tracks”……and so on.  I scanned the calender for a holiday that was a little offbeat.  And there…smiling right at me from my February page was the Groundhog!

It was one hundred percent perfect, except for one thing…  What if the weather is bad?  That’s probably a pretty big reason most little shops don’t do special events in the dead of winter.  Well…what if the weather isn’t bad?  How bad can it be?…….(fast forward to winter of 2009/2010… 3 feet of snow… I guess it can be bad…we’ll talk about that later too!)


So we found ourselves a cute picture of a groundhog on the front of a birthday card, cut him out, stuck him on a postcard, made a 250 xerox copies, mailed him out and Groundhog Day at the Lucketts Store was born.

How did it go?
Well lets just say …. it went really, really good!

What The Gerbil?! – LuckettStories

     So Sunday was a kind of quietish day this week, being Fathers Day and what not. Shopping at Lucketts is not usaully a fathers choice of tings to do, so thats cool, but sometime late in the morning Heather noticed something a little unusual sitting on the ground by the tree in the parking lot. What the heck is that! Well, for some reason, somebody left behind a gerbil in a cage. Okay, was that their gift to dad, that they would get rid of their gerbil for Fathers Day? I can even understand that, but I can’t quite reconcile the thought process of how it ended up at our store. Let’s look at the options.

Option 1 – You just so happened to be antiquing with your gerbil when him and his cage got sucked out of your window.

Option 2 – The gerbil was looking for something vintage to homey up his cage.

Option  3- Word out on the street is Lucketts Store is the place to be if you’re a gerbil.

Okay, I’m out of ideas. So now we have a gerbil, what to do with it? Well the good news is we’re all animal people, but enough already, we’ve had more than our fair share of stray cats, kittens, groundhogs, baby birds, and runaway dogs. We really didn’t need to add a gerbil to our list of mascots. So we waited an hour or so hoping the “parents” would realize they might have missed someone, but alas no one showed. So we brought him into the lobby and put a, “Free To A Good Home” sign on his cage. Hours passed when a family with about five kids saw the little orphan and started begging their dad, just what he was hoping for on Fathers Day, a gerbil. All of his dreams were about to come true… He was their prisoner but held on to the time honored, “Ask your mother.” Meanwhile, another family, who happened to be on their way to the pet store TO BUY A GERBIL, stopped in and saw the little fella. This family quickly decided to take advantage the opportunity, much to the chagrin of the other family’s children. Fortunately, their ultra super hero dad said, “Okay, we can keep it” and the super nice “On their way to get a gerbil anyway” family relinquished.

So this gerbil story has a happy ending. The moral is – Dear God people don’t leave your pets at the Old Lucketts Store. What the Gerbil?!

LuckettStories – Da Bomb

We’ve had such an insane amount of funny and crazy stories over the years that it doesn’t even make sense. We’ve been told many times that we need our own sitcom or at least to write this stuff down somewhere. So we’re going to start now – we’re gonna dig deep and bring to you all of the most ridiculous ones we can remember. So here we go with our first weekly post from our collection of LuckettStories!

Da Bomb 

Thursday night was always my auction night, my husband would take the kids and I was completely free for the entire evening. I would head to Cochran’s Auction and spend every minute of the evening alongside the auctioneer, so I wouldn’t miss anything that might fall through the cracks. Every bowl, bottle, antique toy and anything else I could afford with that certain “look,” I bought. This particular evening there were lots of toys – kiddie microscopes, biology sets, and some old fashioned chemistry sets with pretty bottles and really cool labels. As always I bought it all, boxed it up, threw it in my rusty old van and headed home. The next morning I hastily threw all these boxes on the ground to make room for my kids car seats, and ran them up to their A.M preschool. After returning home, I tossed the boxes back into the van and headed to my store, My Wits End, that’s just up the road from Lucketts.
That day I spent unpacking my newfound treasures, cleaning them up, pricing them, and artfully displaying them throughout my little shop. Proud at my productive days work, I could finally head home.

A day or two had passed when a customer came in and showed a keen interest in the old chemistry set, much to my delight. He asked, “Do you know what you have here ma’am?” Excited by his tone, I figured I might have finally found something worth a lot of $. “No,” I said, “but I love the shape of the bottles and the pretty labels, I think it’s probably from the 1940’s or 50’s.” “Yes, your probably right about the time frame, but this bottle here is [blah blah acid] and over time it oxidizes and becomes very volatile…like a bomb. I’m a bomb squad guy from Fairfax County and this bottle could explode from the slightest vibration, even as slight as someone opening or closing your front door.” Freaked out and realizing how much I had already carelessly thrown the bottle around, I asked what I should do. “We’re going to need to call in the bomb squad and have them detonate the bottle.”

Seriously, I wish I could make this stuff up, but here’s what happened next… We gently left the shop (making sure to put up the closed sign) and called the bomb squad, who also freaked out. They quickly brought out their entire detonation unit, had a man in full bomb squad armor bring out the bottle, and detonated it in a local field! In the process they closed off route 15 for almost the entire evening and earned my unknown little shop a spot on the 6 o’clock news.

Lessons learned? Pay attention in chemistry class OR only buy pretty bottles that are empty, cause 15 minutes of fame is highly overrated.