From the ashes

Published 7:20 pm Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Red Thread Studio is making a comeback from a summer fire to become bigger and better than before.

A fire that started in the building next to the downtown art location on Aug. 6 caused heavy heat, smoke and water damage to much of Angelia Armstrong’s building and handmade crafts in the store.

Armstrong has worked diligently for nine months getting the store, at 153 W. Washington St., back in order.

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“We had to clean every single fixture, unscrew all the light bulbs and clean them,” Armstrong said. “There was black grit on everything.”

Armstrong cleaned the store from top to bottom, installing new wood flooring, repainting the walls and cleaning the ceiling. She installed a false wall on one side of the store to hide aesthetic damage too bad to repair. However, she disregarded a few spots on the ceiling where the heat caused the paint to peel.

“I just thought it was kind of quirky,” Armstrong said.

Most damaged in the fire was the southeast corner of Armstrong’s building, because it was nearest the point to the origin of the fire in the building next door. That corner had held her workspace, which used to be cramped and cluttered.

In the rebuilding process, however, Armstrong made the room more spacious.

“I made the space more workable, and finished it out better,” she said.

Also damaged in the August fire was Dave Immel’s fitness coaching facility, which he operated in the upstairs portion of Armstrong’s building. He now will operate it in half of the downstairs portion of the studio, and the upstairs will be turned into two apartments that Armstrong will rent out.

She hopes to be back in business within the next few months, although she doesn’t know how long it will take to finish refurbishing the upstairs apartments and putting the finishing touches on the studio.

Watch the Suffolk News-Herald for more updates on the studio’s progress.