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  • Last modified 185 days ago (Feb. 15, 2018)

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Decorating center gets a new look

Staff writer

Brad and Jeannie Wildin have been busy the past six months restoring several original features to The County Seat Decorating Center at 130 E. Main St. in Marion.

“I was sitting at my desk and thought, I need to do something,” Brad said.

They removed a suspended ceiling, repaired a tin ceiling it concealed, and then painted the tin black.

“We had to repair a few areas, but for the most part, it was in great condition,” Jeannie said.

Brad installed weathered wood from an old backyard fence above windows and a door at the front of the store and in front of an upstairs office.

In less than six days in early January, the couple spent many hours removing paneling and five layers of wallpaper from the store’s east wall. Underneath was a two-foot-thick limestone wall covered in plaster. They wanted to remove the plaster but discovered it adhered tightly to the wall. So they scraped off any loose plaster and painted the wall a gray taupe.

Later in the month, the store’s west wall got the same treatment. Removing the wall covering exposed numerous holes of various sizes. The Wildins supposed were made by early occupants. They were left unfilled.

“We just uncovered things,” Jeannie said. “Every hole represents something that someone who went before us did for a purpose.”

The couple hopes to learn more about the history of the building. It was constructed in 1877. A picture shows the interior stocked with Ehrlich and Sons general merchandise in 1906.

Under the paneling on one wall, they discovered a flimsy canvas sign for Kellogg’s cereal that probably had been used to patch a crack or hole.

“This building used to be a grocery store,” Brad said.

Jeannie hopes to decorate the walls with framed, blown-up photographs depicting early life in Marion.

When they have time, the couple plans to install luxury vinyl planks in the front and carpet tiles in the back.

They are pleased with the changes so far.

“I love it,” Jeannie said. “I think it looks more like a decorator’s store. And when we get finished with it, it will look even better.”

They are in their 40th year of business and are planning an anniversary celebration this spring.

Last modified Feb. 15, 2018

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