This is my second build-out. The first one — my home — was not easy. We bought this dumpy house with great bones just up the way from Le Village. We got it dirt cheap, and we gutted it to the studs. Nate and I completed 92% of the work on the house ourselves. Our closest, most loyal friends helped us through various stages of demo and paint and moral support with wine. I have photos of Roxy and I pulling out the old toilets from the bathrooms. I personally pulled out the cat-pee carpet, tiled four bathrooms, wired the outlets, and hung the new siding on the exterior. I submitted the financial draws for construction and fought with the city about the permits and inspections. Nate did more on our house than I have time to list on this blog post. It was HARD. WORK.
People would often ask me how I was doing it. How was I keeping it all moving? And I guess it was that I always see what something could be, not what it is. Perhaps that’s a result of growing up with very little, but it’s something that is ingrained in me. With a little love and some hard work, anything can be built up to be like new. Better than new, because it’s sort of reborn. I like that kind of story. I like the ability to recreate yourself. It’s part of what drives me in every facet of my life.
So when we decided to buy a building so that I could open up a co-working space for parents, we (of course) bought an old, dumpy building with good bones.
This time, we hired pros that would make sure no detail was overlooked (and that we didn’t add any new gray to Nate’s hair). But I knew that I would want to be included. I need to know every step of what is happening; I’m bossy like that. So I brought in people that like to collaborate and aren’t afraid of feedback — both giving it and receiving it. When we hired an architect, I brought in sketches of the floorplan as I saw them in my mind. Thom at Thomas Architects designed our home, and we loved working with him so much that we brought him back to help us design this project. He put together a smart, versatile space that will work for kids and parents. I talk on the phone with my General Contractor Juan Maldonado of Brooklyn Construction (named after his son) at least four times a day. He texted me dying laughing when we found that a previous owner had tiled directly on top of carpet. (“Who does that?!” he exclaimed.) He texted me when we ran behind because of issues with demo and plumbing and when we made up time on framing. Every detail that happens I know about, and that’s how I like it. It’s likely that I will tile the bathrooms myself because I feel like it’s some sort of good juju if I do.
There were times during our home rehab when I thought we would never make it. But we did. And I can’t describe the pride that I feel when I lay my daughter down to sleep in the home that we built with our own two hands. I like to think our home has that extra bit of love exuding from it because we did it ourselves. I want to have that same feeling when I walk into Le Village, and I want our parents to have the same feeling of “home” that our friends feel when they come into our home.
And so, here we are: one very short month away from opening the doors. Construction is...
...bumping along. The space is looking less dumpy and more and more like a place I could bring Vivie in to let her run. There have been setbacks of course, but I was expecting those. We are behind schedule, but I said “an October opening” and technically October 28 is still October!
When I look at our space, I see it for what it will be, not even what it could be, and definitely not for what it is at the moment. ;) I see the freshly painted facade with our logo up top. I see the new glass doors. I see the modern furniture in the entrance. I see the light fixtures above our large, hardwood working tables where parents are perched over their laptops. I see the booths to the left occupied with people in meetings or nursing mothers pumping. I see a mom openly breastfeeding her 3-month-old in a lounge chair while on a hushed conference call.
I see our classrooms that are neutral but highlighted with brightly colored toys and children’s art and fun accents. I see them filled with enriching and enticing materials and our teachers who are loving and teaching and playing with children who are happy and engaged. I see our Village playroom with parents scattered about chatting and children dressed up as doctors or waiters or singers running excitedly about. I see the outdoor patio where a dad is feeding his daughter lunch, a mom is playing soccer with her children in the yard, and a group of coworkers are sharing a late afternoon beverage and laughter.
I see all of these things and so much more.
And I hope to see you in our second home very soon!
Daniella B. Cornue
Founder - Le Village Co