Between custom and commercial projects, growing our team and taking on our new adventure The Pines, it is easy to forget what we have accomplished over the weeks, months, and year. As the summer is slowly starting to fade into Fall, we wanted to take a moment to look back and express some gratitude by sharing it all with you.
In May of 2018, we officially signed the papers closing on the property for The Pines. What many people don’t know, is that prior to taking ownership of the property, we had been renting out a shop on this land from the previous owner. The shop where each unique piece was designed and built for Grain Designs. When the property was going up for sale, we had the choice of moving and finding (more realistically building) a new shop, or purchasing the one we had spent our last 4 years in. We’d like to say there was no debate in what the obvious choice was, but there were some major factors to consider.
- Do we have the money for 17 acres?
- Do we really need 17 acres?
- Can we afford to take a month or so off from Grain Designs, to move everything in this shop to another?
- And most importantly, which one of us will be living in the house? And is there room for another one or two of us to build a house out here? Maybe behind the Grain Bins?
After a few failed attempts of looking for other property to build on and locations with shops that wouldn’t be the best fit for Grain Designs, we felt it was a bit of fate to stay put. All we had to do, was convince the banks it was a great idea. And so again, we started brainstorming.
- Build out the Grain Bins and rent them as AirBNB’s?
- Sell part of the land?
- Build a new store on the land for Grain Designs?
- Host seasonal events?
- Shooting range, pumpkin patch, hobby farm, you name it we brainstormed the idea.
What about a wedding and events venue? And call it what we always have, The Pines. And so it began, the biggest project Grain Designs has taken on to date.
Closing on the property in May, we were on schedule to break ground and start pouring concrete in the first week of June. With Pat recently getting engaged, the pressure was on. Could we host our very first wedding in just 14 weeks from breaking ground? Pat’s wife, Nicolette wasn’t the only was who said “yes!”
To say we worked tirelessly, would be an understatement. And to say we often wondered what we were getting ourselves into, was also an understatement. Not because we didn’t believe it would be successful, but when your entire team is working 14-18 hour days, 7 days a week, for 3 months straight, it can be a challenge to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Low and behold there was a light, and we did host our first wedding in the venue, just 14 weeks from breaking ground. To say it was “wedding ready” may be an overstatement, but we did our best and the the Bresnahans through one heck of a house warming party for us. Thanks Pat and Nicolette!
With another wedding just 4 weeks later, we worked diligently to button up the odds and ends. We even bartended the next wedding ourselves and realized we may have a 2nd (or 3rd) part time job lined up for us, just for those bartending tips! Or maybe it was the fact that we thought 4 counts of alcohol was the standard pour for a drink. At any rate, the venue was built and we had our first few events under our belts, it was up and running. Well, sort of.
While Nicolette stepped up and filled the shoes of an “event coordinator” for us the first few months, we knew she was doing us a favor more than herself. In November of 2018, we hired Emily Finley as our Wedding and Events Coordinator and Neil Gilbertson as the Grounds Keeper and Bar Manager. Names sound familiar? This sibling duo has a combined total of 22 years of experience, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. As our first hires for The Pines, the experience that these two brought with them was a comforting feeling moving forward. With a few events on the schedule, our availability and open dates for the summer were quickly disappearing. This meant another project, the house itself.
With weddings booking Thursday-Sundays, a Bridal Suite was part of the package, and it did not include what was readily available at the time. This 1930’s house has always been kept in mint condition, but a renovation and remodel was next up on the priority list. Knocking down the upstairs walls to create a single open room with space for the bride and her bridesmaids to get ready together, as well as painting the entire house, remodeling the bathrooms, and 2 existing bedrooms downstairs, all took up a little over 4 months of our evenings and weekends to complete. Another light was found at the end of another tunnel, and the Bridal suite was ready for the wedding season kick off, June 1st of this summer.
This summer has been unlike any other for Grain Designs. No more pool breaks over lunch, unless the bride approves. And no more golfing in the yard or shooting the shot guns for a quick break, as showings are typically taking place. While these standard breaks are no longer daily occurrences, we still find an hour here and there to fit in a break and relive some of these past times. And with these, has come many new things to be thankful for.
Hosting 500+ guests weekly, seeing a part of property that was once an eyesore transformed into a ceremonial ground and the countless pictures taken for engagement, wedding, and event photos that make us take a step back and appreciate what time and perseverance have allowed. And while the cliche thing to be most thankful for would be seeing our vision be brought to life, we couldn’t have been prepared to feel most thankful for those who believed, and still believe in us. Who trust our teams, both Grain Designs and The Pines, to host you and your guests for your event or on your very special day. The Pines was a dream that we are lucky enough to have come true. But it’s each one of you, that has helped to exceed any expectations we could have ever had.