Making America's Coolest Small Town "Home"

We've spent the good part of the last year on an adventure of a whole new sort - renovating an old home in the heart of Berlin, Md. The historic town, just a few miles from Ocean City, Md., has a creative charm of its own, leading it to be crowned 'America's Coolest Small Town' by Budget Travel and named a Maryland Arts & Entertainment District. So when a crooked farmhouse, circa 1900 with a secret garden in the town's commercial district, became available we decided to take on the challenge.

And what a challenge it's been! Our vision was to convert the house into a gallery on the first floor with an open living space on the second and third floors. But we had to straighten things up a bit first.  And by straighten, we had to jack up the house and rebuild the structure from the ground up. Literally. At one point the hardwood floors on the first floor were pulled up and the living room contained a big pile of dirt that had to be dug up so the foundation could be fixed.

During these early stages of demolition we discovered so many issues that we ended up removing all the walls - five layers of wallpaper, paneling, drywall, plaster, and lathe over shredded newspaper insulation - and redoing the electric wiring throughout the entire house. Ditto for the plumbing once we saw its condition. We have discovered every problem that could possibly be wrong with this house (we hope!) and have addressed them all.

 We're well into the rebuilding stage now and are pouring over paint color chips while we wait for the drywall mud to dry so we can get sanding and painting. We're aiming to open the doors of our gallery and working art space, Wooden Octopus, later next month, and will house TossAmey Creative within that space. So if you're heading to the beach this summer, make a stop in Berlin and say 'Hi'! You can find us at 8 Jefferson St, behind the Atlantic Hotel and across from the Berlin Coffee House.