(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

1951 Quonset hut resto-mod progress report

I found this Sprite bottle while kicking around behind a run-down Quonset hut near my home four years ago. The Gods must be crazy, I thought, to put this bottle in my path, but why not… how ’bout we convert this giant metal tube-like building into a Bugeye Sprite dispenser? And like “Pez,” we’ll spit them out, all spiffy and sweet. Could it be possible?

What is now our backyard was a mess when I first saw it in 2015. It was overgrown and generally neglected, with a rotten picnic table that was perhaps once a hobo’s bed (we’re right next to the train tracks). When hobos went the way of dial-up internet, feral cats moved-in, and each time I visited, the brush would rustle, and something furry would scoot off into adjacent underbrush.

First, we removed the brush, graded the yard and installed an extensive drainage system

Fast forward to the present, and now this is one of the nicest sites you can find on the North side of the train tracks if you are riding the Amtrak train between New Haven to Boston, at least if you are into classic cars, or classic Quonset huts, or both.

Here’s that same original rear wall, now enclosed by the addition. Note the new stairwell, which allows access to the largest collection of Bugeye Sprite doors on the planet.

Needless to say, I am just a bit giddy now that this nearly four-year long build-out is about done. The old, crappy, back wall of the building has remained the dividing wall between the original building and our addition until now. This week, we connected the new hut to the old hut, uniting the original structure to the addition, courtesy of a new clear glass partition.

Tear down the wall!

The real hero in this story is our man Kenny, who cut down the metal wall separating the two structures, (and pretty much built the whole addition too). Our neighbor, conveniently in the glass panel business, erected a wall of glass divider between our old and new buildings. This glass wall allows everyone to watch our chefs behind the glass as they cook-up the next Bugeye in their little cantina.

One long tin can

This see-through wall was no small feat. Of course everything had to line-up. And because the new building is a bit lower then the old building, the corners were particularly fussy, lest the new glass protrude beyond the ceiling height of the addition. This meant for quite a bit of custom fitting in the field, made easier by virtue of the glass wall making facility directly across the street. In fact, all the pieces and parts were wheeled over under human power, instead of loaded into trucks as is their usual routine.

New aluminum extrusions that will hold the glass panels to form a see-through partition. The angled corners, and the sprinkler pipes, had to be in the right places. It was a bit like getting the door gaps right on a restoration.

In the end, The Eagle landed right in the Sea of Tranquility. The two halves of the chunnel aligned. The new gaping hole through our building looked good from both inside and out. All that’s left is a few more glass panels and a new overhead door. And then we can pretty much put our Quonset hut renovation behind us. I’ll show you final photos when we are done in the next week or so.

The view from the original Quonset hut

This headquarters is the realization of a crazy vision I had to make a visually exciting space that would blend old and new. I wanted the home of this business to make a statement that would be apparent to all who entered. This building, and this business, is about producing quality products and about fabricating solutions to make wonderful old things functional in the modern world.

Same view as above, without wall. Glass panels go in next, along with a new overhead door, so cars can pass-through. Thank you to Tappe Architects in Boston, and Cherry Hill Glass in Branford, who helped us to realize our vision!

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