Refurbishing NYC’s Historic JJ Hat Center

A few months ago I was commissioned to restore a storefront over on 5th and 32nd st, JJ Hat Center. They’re long time clients, partners of the good folks over at Pork Pie Hatters. I’ve done a lot of work for them over the years, building their website, designing custom hat blocks, making marketing materials, and creating the branding for their series of handmade hats. This was a whole other level of project, though.

To start, the building used to be an IBM adding machine factory and showroom. When JJ’s took it over, they installed a lovely wood exterior. So, on the plus side, there is a lot of old NYC richness both inside and out. On the downside, the wood exterior had fallen apart in the intervening years. Part of my job was to see through the decades of wear and tear and come up with a plan for refurbishing everything to resemble the original without spending thousands on custom parts. Fortunately my friend Clark put me in touch with a few very talented carpenters. So, with some meetings and design drawings, they were rolling on building the elements for the exterior. Continue reading

Pork Pie Door Installed

As a follow up on my previous post, I’d like to show you how the door for Pork Pie Hatters looks all installed on its building. After many hours, repeated calls to the contracting dispatching depot, bribes, and stress everything’s settled. Now there’s a beautiful, stylish, and above all functional door on the front of that business.

The door is a custom solid ash apothecary style door. It’s got a light stain and is sealed with several coats of flooring grade urethane. I’m hoping that it’ll deepen and develop character after the years of abuse NY will have to offer. I’m also hoping the oiled bronze hardware I chose will tarnish and develop as more and more people handle it.

You can check out photos of the door, the shop, and what everything looks like in situ on flickr.