Where there’s tea there’s hope
When I first started to write this blog post to share our “after” photos I thought that although a photo is worth 1000 words, there’s not one image that will possibly describe everything that happened to reach our opening day.
Hindsight being 20/20 I could have followed the famous words of Alexandra Stoddard: “Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Trust the process.” Easier said than done, especially for people like us who have never gone through a renovation like this before.
So what were the major changes to the space? To start the walls were transformed from hospital gown green paint to concrete and prior to painting the ceiling black, we had to remove a spiderweb of wires and plan out exactly where the lighting fixtures would go. Couldn’t have done that without Steve, our electrical genius friend. Definitely a highlight (pun intended) of our renovations.
Our Aroma bar and Tea plates
Ceiling was black and you would think that finding a black industrial fan would be easy, but it wasn’t. I see a white fan and I want it painted black, which is exactly what had to be done. It was either that or going over to Home Depot in Washington state.
On the floor we used green painter’s tape to plan the space for the tea bar with the Steampunk as the focal point and an overhang to avoid knocking your knees. The wet bar behind had to meet Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) requirements – one handwashing sink, one for rinsing, one for washing, and one for sanitizing. Or we could get a dishwasher. We didn’t want the hum of a dishwasher to overshadow the Steampunk or to affect the sensory experience and there was no room for four sinks, so we decided to move the kitchen door and arranged to install a commercial dishwasher there.
A peek through the window
And then we embarked on the journey of reordering. Nearly everything.
The water filtration system leaked and we had to get them to send a new part.
The faucet for filtered water on the wet bar was stripped and we had to order a new one. The globe lights took some time to arrive and when they did, some were broken. Tracking down replacements was impossible so we resorted to acrylic that still look good. The glass bowl for the terrarium in our front alcove was ordered from the US and although the shipping receipt had the correct details, we received a giant brandy snifter glass instead. And once the Steampunk was finally connected and we could test it, it wouldn’t hold its charge so we had two new parts sent and tested which one would fix the problem.
Us brewing up some great teas
During all of this the big things like constructing, sanding and staining the tea bar and aroma bar, building the wet bar, installing shelves, changing the plumbing and installing a grease trap were all happening too and we should have counted how many times people asked us “when is opening day?” It wasn’t until we received the last set of keys from one of the tradesman that we finally moved our teas and teaware into the storage room and started to settle into the space. Then it was getting the stamp of approval from VIHA, decorating, filing tea canisters, packaging teas and testing tea recipes in the Steampunk. Two weeks later we opened.
Welcome to our salon
Nelson Mandela said “it always seems impossible until it’s done” and we’re so happy it is. When we look around the tea salon we can’t believe how it all came together and that we really made it happen. For those who couldn’t be a part of our grand opening, here’s a short video of that great day for you to watch. Thank you to our design team at Talkie for your patience, dedication and for
sharing our vision.