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Your Merc Questions ANSWERED!

Happy Wednesday! As I was lying in bed at 3am responding to DMs on Instagram, I had 2 thoughts. 1. GO BACK TO BED. And 2. You should do a Q&A post to bring everyone up to speed.

Here are your most common questions about the Merc, if you’ve got more, leave them below and I’ll add them to this post!

What IS the Merc?

The Merc is the old Santa Clara Mercantile store. It was built in 1928 and has been vacant off and on for the better part of 25 years! We bought it and are turning it into our house! You can read all about it here!!

Is the Merc a house, or a store, or what?

Yes to all of the above. Because of the Commercial Mixed Use zoning (you can dive deeper into that here!) we can live in it, but we have to have something commercial. For now, the front office is our commercial space. (You can see our floor plans here) I’m still trying to define exactly how I want to use it. I’m LOVING the idea of hosting pop up shops for local and out of town small businesses. (St. George doesn’t exactly have an abundance of cool places.) I’m also using it for design consults, shop work, and just general business stuff. The rest of the space is our house, but because we have so much space inside and out I’m excited to see how things play out. Who even knows what this is going to end up being!

Are you worried that people will think your house is a store and walk inside?

I mean, I’m sure it will happen but we’re going to do our best to prevent it. (Think private residence and by appointment signs.) Also the Merc is on a fairly busy road and we’ve got a 2 year old, so in an effort to lock him in, we’ll be just as efficient at locking people out. Which means that people won’t be able to just walk in.

What’s going on with the easement and your neighbors?!

The easement was such a source of stress before we bought the Merc, almost to the point where we didn’t get it. (You can dive deeper into that situation and our weird property lines here) The more we’re over there (especially with the baby) the more it feels like right now its not the big of a deal. Coincidentally our neighbors have just listed their property and offered to sell us the back portion and dissolve the easement for $175k (for reference we bought the Merc for $300k) We were very grateful that they offered it to us, but for that amount of money, its more of a priority to finish Phase 2 so we’re not worrying about it. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity again in the future to purchase the land.

When are you guys moving in?

Our goal is to be in by Christmas. (IS THAT INSANE?! SOMEONE TELL ME ITS TOTALLY ACHIEVABLE!!) I feel like its doable, but then again I’ve never done this before. All I know is that we’ve been doing some of the finish work (like wrapping the interior of the transoms above the front doors, and the big storefront windows) and it’s legit taken us a week to do all 11 windows.

What are you guys doing yourself vs hiring out?

We’re getting everything ready to paint right now (our paint should be here today!!) and we’re doing that ourselves. We’re also debating on laying all of the floor tile ourselves. Court doesnt want to and so we had it bid out and it came back at about $8000 so we’ll see what we end up doing with that. I’m doing the Merc logo in the entryway tile. We’re also doing all of the finish work ourselves, minus hanging the doors and putting in closet shelving.

Is it what you expected a renovation like this to be?

There have definitely been some hard moments, which you know are bound to come, but the Merc renovation has been a dream project. Even with all of the stresses, it has opened my eyes to a whole new world and makes me want to save alllllllll of the old buildings everywhere. That being said, we’ve learned a ton like getting all your environmental testing done before you buy a building.

When will you start work on the big side of the Merc?

GREAT QUESTION!! Our bid for Phase 2 (you can see the plans for it here) came back at about about $150k so we’re really hoping that we can save a good amount of our Phase 1 budget so that we’ll be able to start pretty quickly. I don’t know if we’ll do it in one fail swoop like we have with Phase 1 or if it will be more gradual.

Is this your forever home?

I hope so! I mean, I’d love to reno other buildings but always have the Merc. I’ve learned to never say never, but man I love this place and hope that I get to enjoy it forever!!

Will the cost of the structure and reno be less than what you could sell it for?

Man we hope so! All of our appraisals came back good so we’re not getting in upside down but until its done we won’t have an accurate appraisal. We have zero plans to sell but its always nice to know you’re not losing money!

Are there other unique properties like this in your town?

Not that I know of. There are a handful of buildings as old as the Merc that are still standing, but all of them are being used as businesses. If anyone in So. UT knows of cool spaces I’d love to feature them, please message me and let me know!!

How do you feel about living on such public road and not having a neighborhood where things are more closed off?

We are 100% ok with it!  The road is definitely not a main road but there are only a handful of businesses on it, most of the buildings are houses. The only real downside to it is that all of the other houses have front yards, and we’re just right against the sidewalk. But we are loving it!!

Light switches and outlets- Black or White? 

We’re planning on white, because all of the walls are going to be white. For phase 2 where we have to run exposed conduit for all of the outlets and switches we’ll probably do black.

Do you guys have a living room or just a theater room?

Phase 1 just has a theater room, the living room is in Phase 2 of the reno. You can see the plans for it here! I will say, Court isn’t wild about the family congregating in the theater room so hopefully we can get Pahse 2 moving pretty quickly!

And the question that I got the most.

Are you going to do an open house?

YES! I can’t wait for you guys to come and tour it!!

 

 

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About Ashraf Akkilah

Ashraf Akkilah

Architecture and design is my passion.
I’m an architect who is interested in building design and decor trends. I’m also interested in sculpture design and landscaping.
I’m “outdoor” architect who love to be involved in the project site and supervise finishing and final touches works. I had contributed to many construction and decor projects.

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