A hundred and twenty years wreaked a lot of havoc on the Pettengill Penthouse of Sioux Falls, S.D. With a deteriorating infrastructure, multiple remodels and a period of neglect, The Design Studio, Inc. stepped up to the challenge of renovating the top floor of the building into a penthouse, which included putting in a galley style kitchen that would be able to take the space into a new era.
Originally constructed in 1889 by the state’s first United States senator, R.F. Pettigrew, the third floor was first used by the senator as an assembly hall for the Odd Fellows, a fraternal order. After his death, the space took on news faces as a dance hall, Moose Lodge and most recently a ballet school.
Over the past 10 years The Design Studio, Inc. worked on the first two floors now home to a coffee bistro and a state office on the first floor and five office suites on the second. On the third floor the original plan was to update the space into two or three luxury apartments to tie in with the urban renewal swing that planners hope would bring residents to the downtown area.
“The space was too beautiful,” says Anita Kealey, president, The Design Studio, Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D. “It was decided to make the space an actual penthouse.”
The Design Studio began in 1982. Kealey had grown up in the business somewhat because her father and grandfather had a lumber business. Even though her father got out of the the lumber business when she was younger, he still developed apartments and was very hands-on. So it got into her blood watching her dad and her mother who ran a drapery shop and made the draperies for the developments.
“I bought my first piece of property, a duplex, when I was 21 years old and totally renovated it,” says Kealey. “At that time I worked for a national cabinet manufacturer as their marketing director, but while I was doing that I was renovating properties, essentially flipping them.”
Known as a kitchen specialist because of her cabinetry background, Kealey got in touch with her former cabinet company and told them about the galley kitchen she was embarking on. The cabinet company decided that they really wanted to be involved and even created a new door style that would give the kitchen cabinets a Craftsman-like look with a modern twist.
Once the cabinet manufacturer agreed to get involved, the client got really excited about what they could do with the space and decided they wanted to go all out.
The kitchen itself was originally budgeted for about $50,000, but after the clients saw how much more they could get out of the space, they became more willing to let it grow more to where they really wanted it. Essentially keeping the budget open-ended, the homeowners continued to add things that made sense and fit into the space ending with a $89,000 price tag.
A Clean Slate
Converting the loft space into a penthouse and adding the kitchen where old bathrooms and a utility room once existed was not going to be easy for The Design Studio. Demolition would be tricky; the team discovered several hidden ceilings, boarded up windows, and layers of floors that would have to be torn out. Getting rid of 30 Dumpsters of debris would be their first challenge since they were working in a downtown area with zero lot lines. Luckily there was a small parking lot in back that served as a temporary dumping ground for the junk.
“There were times when we thought, ‘Oh my God, maybe this isn’t such a good idea,’ ” explains Kealey. “We even had people say while we were renovating the first two floors that the place would be better off if it just burnt down. In the earlier days people said we could build cheaper, which was true, but the people who wanted to see the building renovated liked the idea of being right downtown, so we kept at it.”
A Working Kitchen