What? You bought a church?

Wait a minute … lets back up a little to summer of 2018.

The flower shop, buds ‘n bloom design studio, has been bursting at the seams for servicing the wedding, event, and home decor that we design for a while now. We’ve been looking for ways to improve work flow, and also, how to improve the way we offer our services. We’ve examined our current building and determined it would require an addition. The other alternative was an off-site space, which seemed to be the more strait forward solution. So, I quietly starting digging around to see what might be for sale on the low end of commercial real estate that would be suitable for storage. I never imagined I would find a church.

My husband also cites the fact that I have an online auction addiction. I prefer to think of it as competitive shopping. Those who know the story of our wedding well are familiar with the 140 matched settings of Jerad’s grandma’s china I won on eBay by bidding on many different estate sets. The last of the bowls arrived the week of our wedding and it was official: I drank the auction Kool-Aid.

Naturally, it didn’t take long for the retargeting ads from my favorite auction sites to start suggesting items I may be interested in. I will never forget it. Friday, right after lunch that week, I sat down at my desk and an I pulled up Facebook to see what was new in the online world. There in my newsfeed was an auction for a church ending on Monday. My first impressions were that this must be some sort of mistake. First, I was somewhat familiar with where this building was in town and second, I knew it was a beautiful building. Also, it was going for a price we could afford, which was not much. There’s always a catch. I was sure that when I starting poking around and looking at it I would find something to talk me out of it. Other than the building being old, needing some TLC, and the short time frame, It was absolutely perfect. The possibilities seemed endless when I looked at the photos. I immediately thought, WOW this could be a venue. This is the trouble I get into when … “because storage.”

I made some business phone calls that afternoon and registered for the auction online. That night, Jerad and I had to make a decision. It was now or never. We had until Monday to decide if we wanted to pursue this. Of coarse, I was totally for it. My husband was rightfully skeptical. Oddly, our banker didn’t think I was crazy. Fast forward to Monday, June 25, 2018 at 4:59 we were having dinner at our friends’ house. We were all watching the clock tick down on the auction to see if our bid would be the winning bid. Just when we thought, it was going to end … the soft close happened, which extends the auction another 15 minutes or so to allow other to keep bidding.

The soft close went on for another hour slowly moving the price up. I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I’ve been through this before. All it takes is one bidder with a much bigger budget and this building would be very quickly out of our price range. Whoever we were bidding against at the end was bidding by small dollar price increases. The soft close extensions were torture. Jerad and I decided to go all in and just place the max budget as our final bid and let providence take its course. The price came within $500 of our max budget when the auction eventually ended. Thank goodness for wine and good friends, or buying our chapel would not have been nearly as much fun. There was much to celebrate and much unknown. I had never bid on or won a real estate auction before.

It wasn’t until the end of September 2018 that we closed on the property. It was sort of a surreal experience of starting to learn about the building that we bought. When I first saw this building, it was love at first sight. My passion as an interior designer for architectural detail was fired up as soon I saw the wood beams. This old church is the beginning of a love affair for me. Everything about the building just feels good. Well, almost everything. There is a larger refurbishment that is happening to our dear chapel at the moment. Some of the items we are working on are beautiful enhancements to the space and some of them are the challenges of an old building. We’ve made many discoveries in the last year, and Jerad and I can’t wait to share them all with you. If all goes well, the venue should be ready by November 2019.

Stay tuned for more about how Westlin Hall got its name in our next blog post!

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