The Renovation at Bartlett Hall

It’s not often we get to have fun with commercial buildings, most of the time we’ll do consulting work and small projects to enhance the appearance for businesses such as Stafford’s own Massage Matters or Anita’s Petite Fleur Ltd, and some salons  in Washington D.C.   But to do a facility on Quantico Marine Base takes more coordination than most, and we were more than happy to oblige!     Bartlett Hall is the home of the Marine Corps Association, the Marine Corps Association Foundation, Leatherneck Magazine and a host of other great Marine Corps organizations.  Our project was the reception area of the building and here are some photos of what the  area looked like before:

Reception area before

Keep an eye on the oak of that reception desk and the dark artwork on the wall….

reception area before






As with most big projects involving demolition and renovation, we start with planning the design and presenting the final concept with the client.   A few iterations and input from the customers, we began the project the first week of February based on the final design below:

design board


When I work, I usually make a little mess.  Okay, a BIG mess, but as my husband would say “Gotta scramble some eggs to make an omelette.”  We certainly scrambled something!  Roland and a few helpers demolished the brick desk area,  some of which I wrote about earlier  and while Sorin and Claudiu made repairs and painted, I set out to build gallery frame display cabinets.  Starting off with poplar (stronger than pine, lighter than oak) I constructed the box and then made frames for doors.  A piano hinge is perfect for keeping the door stable and distributing weight, and using plexiglass  rather than glass keeps the door lightweight and is much more safe since the door swings open.  Also, instead of lining the back with corkboard or felt, I thought it would be a cool idea to line it with loop material (the soft part of “velcro”) so that the tenants could change out information as they needed by simply putting a small square of hook material (ya know, the “grabby” part of velcro) on the back of a poster or sign.   I also installed push magnet closures, just to be all fancy about it…

42 x 30 gallery frame


And then we made a mock up directory for them so they could see how easy it would be to use their new gallery cabinets.

a place for the directory, event billboards, etc


After Sorin, Claudiu and crew finished painting, Mr. Ciro Marchetti came in to repair the floor and install the new tile.

While Ciro did his magic, I set out with the  handy dandy mitre saw and a pile of oak to create a fireplace – hearth, mantle and surround!  Yeppers, oak is heavy, but it’s so sturdy! Especially if people decide to sit on the hearth!  A lot of the oak we re-cycled from the reception desk!

custom made fireplace

So – while the guys did their work, I did mine too.  But the final push came the last five days – and let me tell you, working while people are still in the building and trying not to be noisy with hammers, drills and saws, AND trying  to keep them out of the work zone was not easy!   But we managed to get all the work done, install privacy or platinum  film on the doors and windows, change out light fixtures, finish installing baseboard and paint AND set up the furniture – it was quite an event and I thank the folks at the MCA for their patience and understanding – we promised to be done within four weeks and we did it!

And remember that dark piece of artwork from before?  I took it home and gave the 100 year old piece of hand carved wood a good refinish and a nice glaze of copper so the carvings could be seen better.

A new fireplace, seating, and lights!


refurbished doors


MCA Logo


reception area after

   Literally a floor to ceiling renovation (we painting the ceilings too) and a great endeavor with so many people –  Hope you enjoy!  Happy designing! Kate

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