The building is not for sale, but if you are interested in leasing it in 2018, please contact Jane Nicholson at:
Creating the Store – Mrs. Nicholson Home
Our vintage home decor store, open from July 2012 to September of 2017, began life as the back storage shed of Beemer’s Hardware. The following pictures show how the Mrs. Nicholson Inc. team transformed it into a bright and snappy storefront with a lovely front garden instead of a parking lot.
A Little History
For many years, the lot at 212 St.George Street was the site of Beemer’s Hardware store, Here’s a picture of it from about 1945, courtesy of Mr. George Beeler, the owner’s son. Like most late Victorian buildings, Beemer’s Hardware was built right out to the sidewalk line, with storefront below and living quarters above. The lot was long and narrow, and also housed a small building behind the store to hold lumber and extra stock.
Unfortunately, the hardware store burned in the late 1980s. The storage building was saved and the front of the lot was paved over. The little building was used for lots of different things — a deli, a pottery outlet, a dress shop — before I bought it in December of 2010. Here’s what it looked like then:
The building lacked a certain charm, so I turned to our local architect Harry Jost to see what magic he could make. I wanted a prettier entry and windows in the front of what had been a walk-in cooler in the old deli days. He came up with a simple but stunning design.
The next challenge was the parking lot between the sidewalk and the front door of the store. It takes 75 steps to go from one to the other. That’s a lot of real estate for even a motivated shopper to cross! I couldn’t afford to put a new building on the lot, so I decided to put in a garden instead, complete with a brick display area for store merchandise. I turned to the people I had worked with before on my other projects — garden designer Joy Elliott, and garden builders and plants people Niki Clark and Ian Curry.
We started on the renovation by tearing out the old parking lot. That was an interesting day. The Brown Bros. Excavating team made that heavy equipment move like ballet dancers!
Then mason Lennie Hannam put in the brickwork. We chose a herringbone pattern for both the walkway and the display space.
When Lennie was done, Niki, Ian and Shireen started on the garden construction. Joy had specified “Elizabeth” magnolias in the design to add to the species on display during Annapolis Royal’s magnolia festival each spring. We decided on boxwood hedges to contain low-maintenance gardens filled with perennials. Daffodils and daylilies, two of my favourite old-fashioned flowers, line the sidewalk edge and provide colour from spring to fall.
The Porter brothers then took hold of Harry Jost’s architectural plan and built the entry and put in the windows and generally fixed up the place.
Finally, the Burrell brothers completed the transformation with paint.
The result? A brand new look… both front and back. Wheelchair accessible and just as cute a storefront as could be!