Pottery studio adds new life to historic building
By Deirdre Parker Smith
Here’s a chance to watch an an ugly duckling turn into a swan: Ted and Cheryl Goins are going to bring one of the cornerstones of the Square back to glory.
They have bought 101 S. Main St., which formerly housed Strictly Soccer, and plan to turn it into a potter’s studio, gallery and home.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of work but a lot of fun,” said Ted Goins, who works for Lutheran Services for the Aging. “I think we will enjoy doing it for ourselves and for the town.”
He leaves the rest of the description to Cheryl, the potter, as she shows off the space.
From the basement, which faces Innes Street, to the light-filled second floor, there is, as Cheryl Goins says again and again, “an awful lot to do.”
But standing in the front room that will become their living room, light streaming in the arched windows and a full view of the Square, Goins is thrilled.
“We had been looking for some time and I was getting sort of discouraged, honestly. I kept saying, ‘Maybe this isn’t what we should do. I just don’t know,’ but when it happened, it was just the right thing.”
They bought the building from Michael and Diane Young, who are working on the building that houses 107-113 E. Innes St., just down the block. The Youngs recently won the Community Appearance Commission’s Downtown Building Renovation award for their work there.
“The Youngs have been great,” Goins says. “They gave us a really, really good price” which she doesn’t want to reveal, and “Diane is helping us with all the tax credits” for renovating a historic building.
Goins figures the renovations will a couple times the building’s price.
They’re going to start from the ground up. First, the pottery studio, in the basement, with several electric wheels for throwing pottery and at least one kiln. A bathroom downstairs provides a way to vent the kiln. In an adjoining room is a huge, closet-sized safe, which will probably stay right where it is. “We have no idea how to move that.” Leaving the concrete floor as is and opening up space near the entrance will be relatively easy.
But from there up, it’s all in the details, which include moving staircases, adding an elevator, trashing ceiling tiles, ripping up ugly flooring, cleaning wooden doors and trim, miles of glass … the list goes on.
“The building is structurally sound,” Goins says. “Structurally sound, but it needs everything else.”
Ted and Cheryl have been leasing it, which gave them a chance to make plans before they came up with a proposal. “That has helped tremendously,” she says.
On a tour of the first floor, she points out piles and piles of junk that have to go, but a good space at the back of the store for her own pottery studio so she can work and mind the shop at the same time, if necessary. Two bathrooms will become one handicap-accessible bathroom. The retail space will feature Cheryl’s pottery and other potters, with the name Pottery 101.
“At first, I thought about carrying other stuff, but my friends pointed out pottery is what I know and sticking to that will be best.”
Goins has almost finished a fine arts degree from Central Piedmont Community College. And she belongs to a potters’ guild in Charlotte.
“I guess I started (throwing pots) about eight years ago, and took courses and took courses, and finally decided I would get the degree.” She also studied one-on-one with a potter in Lincolnton and has taken numerous workshops.
She has a nursing degree and still works occasionally as a nursing consultant, but that has really taken a back seat to her creative side.
Ted and Cheryl will live over the store in the space that once housed several offices. The names are still on the doors: Hugh D. Pinkston, A.J. Miller Accountant, The Western and Southern Life Insurance Co.
Using Gray Stout and Mike Lippard as architects, they have detailed plans. The back of the upper floor will become the master suite with an expanded bathroom, taking up what is now divided into two rooms.
To maintain the historic character of the building, they must leave some spaces as is and do minimal structural changes. Some walls can come down, but not many.
“We first thought of a wide open loft, but when we got this building, that had to change, and that’s OK. This feels right,” Goins said.
The second bedroom will be tucked in behind the new elevator where an old stairwell will be taken out.
The third bedroom had been a kitchen. When the floor was divided into offices, each had a sink, many of which, though battered, are still there. The Goinses will use what they can, but some fixtures are beyond repair.
They must maintain the central hall, which Goins feels good about, since it lets light into the area. A many-paneled transom will separate the space from a staircase that is gone now, but will be replaced, leading to their front door.
Two rooms on the Innes Street side will become the new kitchen and dining area, with doors becoming casement openings to unite the space.
The front two rooms, with arched windows facing Innes and Main, will be the living room.
Bulky radiators are going, to be replaced by electric heat upstairs, gas heat downstairs.
Patterned glass panels in the old office doors bring in light but allow for privacy.
“We’re going to use as many doors as we can, throughout the building.”
An old picture shows prism glass defining the area on the facade between the first and second floors facing Main Street.
“We want to do that … we’re not sure what’s under the facade. If it’s too expensive, we’ll try to find something else.”
New tiles will go on the faux mansard roof.
Tin ceilings are hidden by the dingy tiles; under various forms of carpet in several rooms are white, octagonal tiles. “We want to restore all that,” Cheryl says.
The mishmash of flooring on the second floor will come up, revealing, they hope, wood floors that can be brought back to life.
Despite rooms now filled with odd bits of wood, a mix of sometimes revolting furniture, fallen plaster and just plain trash, Goins is almost giddy. “We’re at the empty nest stage,” almost, she says. Daughter Sara Rowe is in the Navy, stationed in California, and has given them their first grandchild, Addy. Meggie is a junior at Appalachian State University.
“We’re going to have fun.”
Contact Deirdre Parker Smith at 704-797-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.