The Harmony Club

in Interiors, Ispiration
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A lazy Sunday for me. Outside it is cold(ish), Alex is reading in the bedroom, Giulio is at my Mum’s and I am more than happy to sit in front of the computer with some traditional Spanish music on Spotify (I am trying to revise my Spanish, any advice on what to listen to would be highly appreciated), writing to you and sipping my green tea.
I’m just missing a slice of cake but I suppose you can’t have everything in life (any help here would also be highly appreciated).
Flicking through the book “The Chamber of Curiosity”, I have decided to show you this haunting 1.858 square metre building in quiet Selma, Alabama, built in 1909 and bought by  the industrial designer David Hurlbutin 1999.
After  a period of activity as a social club, The Harmony Club was abandoned and for 40 years was a safe haven for the local rats and pigeons until Mr.Hurlbut bought it for around $100,000. It took him years to make ithabitable and the renovation is still in progress. The industrial designer did most of the work himself trying to preserve as much of the original spirit of the place. He has kept the different layers of paint and wallpaper and sealed the walls with clear glossy polyurethane paint, to protect the stratification of the different decors.
It is an extreme and extremely fascinating approach to renovation, a renovation that doesn’t add much to the space, that aims to be invisible and  stop the time.
I am posting the charming Harmony Club to get a point across as well, even if  it sometimes looks like people have left the walls like they found them, there is a lot of work required to achieve this semi-flaked effect. You need to selectively peel the wallpaper away and protect it so it won’t continue to disintegrate and continuously release  kilos of dust.  I am sure Mr.Hurlbut had to address the plumbing and electric wiring. The renovation probably cost more effort and money than what you would guess.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t think you can get a place like this and move in straight away.  It is an unrealistic romantic idea.
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Harmony Club, Salem Al

 Photos by Robert Rausch of GAS Design Center for The New York Times.