Couple turn old hospital into loft apartment

Staff writer

Standing in the living room of Randy and Rachel Collett’s remodeled downtown Marion apartment, it is hard to tell that the space in the C.B. Wheeler building ever housed a hospital, office building, or anything else.

The Colletts bought the space from Bruce and Belinda Skiles about two years ago and started remodeling in the spring.

Randy grew up north of Marion and wanted to return to the area for retirement.

The focal point of the living room is a gas fireplace that stretches from a hardwood floor to the ceiling on the east wall.

“The interesting thing about this fireplace is that the veneer was crafted from stone taken out of the ground at Cottonwood Falls,” Rachel said. “It was taken to a place in Herington, where the stone was cut down to one-inch thickness.”

Rachel hopes they can use walnut harvested from her hometown farm in Missouri in the mantel.

The original hardwood floor has been sanded and stained twice with one more sanding and staining left to go.

Damaged portions were repaired with wood taken from other areas of the house. The Colletts elected to keep some imperfections because of the wood’s history.

Much trim work will be repurposed cherry reclaimed during demolition.

The Colletts will reuse old five-panel doors as a sliding barn door entrance to their study.

Repurposed wood was installed in a herringbone pattern on the south side of a kitchen island. The Colletts also plan for crews to finish the kitchen/living room entryway supports with wood they saved.

Both bathrooms are finished in tile and granite countertops. They plan to frame mirrors with salvaged wood.

Tall, south-facing windows in both the study and the living room will have window seats.

Granite countertops, a refrigerator, and a 650-pound gas stove have been installed in the open kitchen.

The master bedroom includes a vaulted ceiling while the ceilings in guest bedrooms are tall enough to reach “three bunks high”, Rachel said.

Trim and doors, shelving, light fixtures and switches, sinks, and toilets still need to be installed.

A portion of tin will be fitted into a ceiling recess near the apartment’s back door in homage to the original ceiling.

An original staircase to Main St. is walled off now, but the Colletts hope to remodel it and use it as their main entrance.

Currently, they are staying with relatives when in Marion and traveling to and from Jefferson City, Missouri, in preparation for their early August move-in date.

 

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