Excited. Thrilled. Those are words Katherine McClure used to describe her feelings about opening a new space in downtown Prairie City. The photographer will be moving into the building at 101 W. Jefferson St. on the northwest corner of the square.
“I have wanted a space on the Prairie City square since we moved here eight years ago. I have worked towards this for eight years,” McClure said. “I know that right now it totally feels like we made a mess but we do have a plan. It is a good mess before the finished product comes out.”
The building, which boasts a total of 1,900 square feet, also holds several quirks including a vault from when it housed a bank. McClure will be able to use about 1,600 square feet for her business with about a third of that located in the main room.
“That is what will be my shooting bay,” McClure said. “We have picked out beautiful wains coating so it will have a lot of those carpentry details, I am very excited.”
McClure has local contractors Dan Myers and Tony Mosher working on her “beautiful mess,” which is getting a floor to ceiling makeover. When she first looked at the space, it had very low ceilings, which are not ideal for a portrait artist. After getting to the crawl space, she discovered that it not only had the original ceiling still intact, but the original light fixtures were still hanging.
“The reason it is so messy is because we tore out both ceilings,” McClure said. “We’re not doing structural changes to the building, it is just a heavy cosmetic makeover.”
The photographer took ownership of the building June 1 and got to work the next day. While it will be used as her studio, she also hopes to make a space people will want to hold baby shower or graduation parties.
“We’re not trying to make a photo-specific space,” McClure said. “My hope is to a make room that is beautiful that I want to photograph in it but then if we want to move on to a different space, that any business would want to come into the building because it is a beautiful space.”
To make it versatile, new hardwood floors will be installed along with crown molding and baseboards. She also plans to give the outside of the building an update with dark gray stucco paint on the yellow brick and tuck-pointing to the dark, red brick.
“I have never made so many decisions about so many details in my life ever before. I thought I had a plan and then every time he asked questions I said let me find out that detail,” McClure said. “I do have a vision and so far no one has told me my vision isn’t possible and I think that is the neatest thing.”
McClure doesn’t have a set timeline for when the project will be finished but she is hoping to be ready for portraits in the fall.
“I am very excited to see how it all comes together,” McClure said. “It’s my baby.”
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org