Welcome to the Storehouse!

Welcome to the Storehouse!

Let me set the stage.  January 2012.  Brilliant chef friend of ours Jessi Gillis is embarking on an amazingly ambitious journey.  She wants to bring to Halifax what she sees missing from the Halifax food landscape: a proper, happy, local butcher shop.  She reached out to us to help galvanize the design of the interior space.  Naturally we jumped at the chance to help create a shop that stands for a cause that we so closely believe in.  After a few consults it became clear what this client wanted and needed.   The short list came down to:
  • inviting
  • evocative of the 50’s/60’s
  • displays a sense of history
  • focused on product
  • accommodated the antique stove and fridge that she wanted to display
  • allows flow of clients to display fridges
  • abides by all the building and food safety codes

We took this to the drawing board, well, Google sketchup really, and got to work.  One of the challenges that immediately emerged was the layout of the space.  The floor plan itself was quite awkward, and needing to accommodate the antique appliances, as well as a large display table in the middle of the room, proved to be demanding.  But once we realized that we had a perfect recessed section of wall to fill to overflowing with built in display case, we knew we were onto something.


Proposed view from the entry doors


view of the left wall of the shop, featuring two prints from the Nova Scotia Archives


View of the shop from behind the counter


View of the shop from behind the counter

These were just the preliminary drawings, but the client was thrilled.  The dream she had been fighting for for so many months, heck, nearly a year at this point, was tangibly closer to reality.  Not real yet, but visible.  There were some refinements as we went (like the realization that a butcher is showcasing meat, so having red walls may clash), but for the most part the design stayed fairly intact as we went.

The biggest project we had to orchestrate was the building of the display case, which itself was a week long build.

The beginnings of the wall display build.

Draw it on the wall first

Gotta build it in sections.

Gotta build it in sections.


and repeat


Then we fill up the rest of the wall






give it some stain... and BAM!  All done.

give it some stain… and BAM! All done








Once the all important display case was complete, we could set our focus on procurement and finishing details.  Antique shops were raided, lighting stores pillaged, pillars were chalkboard painted, tiles put up on walls, decor arranged in display cases, and after a flurry of last minute clamouring, panicing, painting, coordinating, and…

The finished project.

The finished project (view from the entry door)

view 03

The left wall of the shop

view 04

The full view of the display case.


A few of the amazing decor pieces we found in local antique shops.


We loved making little maquettes in the display case, like a cute little museum of quaint things.


You can find out more info on Highland Drive Storehouse and Chef Jessi Gillis at her website here.

Or Visit The Storehouse at 5544 Kaye St., Halifax, NS!

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