Refurbishing a historic Manhattan Storefront – JJ Hat Center

I was hired by JJ Hat Center to design and manage the restoration of their historic manhattan storefront.

Here are some shots from what it looked like before:

The challenge for this project was restoring a historic NYC storefront without interrupting business at the store. Additionally, they wanted everything wrapped up before the Christmas rush, inside a tight budget, accurate to the original facade, built to last, and within all the necessary city regulations for building construction.

Here is what it looks like after the restoration:

My process started with research, looking back at previous photographs from their own archives to see how JJ’s (originally IBM’s Manhattan adding machine showroom) looked and what it would require to recreate the original wooden elements after a handful of quick fixes over the years shifted the facade’s look. I tapped Clark Sopper to head up fabrication and installation of the wooden elements along with a team of carpenters. That freed me up to restore the metal elements on the facade, and produce the window display that would go in contemporaneously with the restoration.