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Update On The New Casa Vilora Interiors Office, And The Backstory #CasaViloraHQ





Progress has been super slow on the new building, but I am celebrating all the progress that's happening none-the-less.


I stopped by this morning after not going by there for a few weeks, and we finally have the exterior walls going in!


I am not sure if I shared the story of how I got to this point of acquiring this building, but it has been a long time dream to own my space versus renting.


I look back to the first time I decided to venture out of my home and open a storefront several years ago. I believe it was back in 2012, and after saving up some money and acquiring and building out a leased space in The Museum District in Houston, things didn't quite work out. You can read about that space HERE





I moved my office back to Katy and leased a small 1905 victorian house in Old Katy where I stayed for a few years. You can read a bit about the space HERE. The old victorian farmhouse as I called it was very good to me. It allowed me to grow, learn from the mistakes I had made with the previous space and prepared me for the next venture.



5602 Franz Rd Before I Did A Complete Makeover Of The Exterior And Interior


The next venture was in 2017 when we relocated to the current Casa Vilora Interiors office just a few miles away. Read about it HERE and HERE



Our Current Location at 6193 Highway Blvd Katy


This was not without some mistakes either. I was very conservative when I decided to make the move, and rightfully so. I had made the mother of all blunders with the first one and lost a lot of money, and did not want a repeat of that fiasco. So I was still testing my risk tolerance at this point, and was only willing to invest in something I knew if worse came to worse, I would still be able to manage.


It was not a bad plan, but often times when fear is the number one driver of a decision, you can miss some bigger rewards. I prayerfully make all my decisions and allow God to guide me, but sometimes the human-ness in me wants to override His Will for what I need to do.


I don't ever regret my decisions, but I realized a few things very quickly after moving in.

  • I did not enjoy doing retail as much - and fortunately for me, I had only invested a small amount into the retail aspect to test how well it would do.

  • We had outgrown the space - maybe due to the layout, because we used a good portion of the space for retail that never quite worked out.

  • We included a kitchen that never got used for its intended purpose, which was hosting events.

  • We weren't building equity for the business. In fact we have some AC issues here that the landlord expects us to pay to fix/replace. Ummm, no!

  • We wanted to do receiving in-house (that is receiving of all the goods we were ordering for clients) but this space would never be conducive for that.

  • No opportunity to expand here.




It was nearing the end of our lease here in 2019 when I decided that it was time to move into a new location with a warehouse where we could do at least some of our receiving.


I looked at leasing again since I didn't see any real opportunities to buy a space. Anything out there with a warehouse space and office were in the millions. And even if they were a bit more affordable, they were located in some industrial part of town that is nowhere near where my clients were.


I finally found a great space with a warehouse and 2' dock that I felt pretty confident would work for us for the next few years. I am usually pretty quick at decision-making, but I labored over this one, because I knew deep down I wanted to buy the space, but that opportunity did not seem to exist. I prayed for a building like this, so I knew in my heart that I was moving in the right direction, but little did I know that God had something a bit more specific for me.


I ended up signing the lease in early February 2020 and had it on my desk to send over to the landlord, when this thing called covid began to emerge.


I felt a strong sense of peace within me when I decided to hold off and wait and see before moving forward with the leased space. It was the only one of its kind in my price range, so it was a risk letting it go, but I did. I trusted that God would work it all out for me.





A few months later I was out on an installation with my seamstress, and somehow the conversation ended up on the desire I had to move into a space I own versus lease. At this point I had honestly given up on the warehouse part of this desire. The time spent at home during the lockdowns really put things into perspective for me, and I was now looking into just owning a space even if it didn't have a warehouse.


I decided that I did not want to pay rent any longer. I was even considering buying a house in an area of town that would allow for mixed use. In Katy where I live and operate my business, there are many restrictions against that. I even considered buying land and building, but land is quite expensive and hard to find here.


My seamstress then told me about an installation she did for a friend of hers recently who had just bought an office condo and she was pretty sure that they also did office warehouses because she saw garage doors, but it was in a part of town about 20 miles away. That was a bit further out than I wanted, but I decided to look into. She had no idea of a developer's name but she told me where her friend's place was located. That began my quest to finding an office/warehouse to buy.





If you live in an area where office warehouses are common, this may not make sense to you, but here in Katy, that is unheard of. Office condos are a bit more common, but no such thing as office warehouses unless you look in some industrial part of town, and even then they are usually enormous buildings and way out of my league financially.


No amount of Google searches was getting me what I was looking for, and so I decided to take a drive to see these office warehouses.


Imagine my shock and excitement when I discovered that they were "Coming Soon To Katy". And truth be told, I had driven past the sign a few times and never noticed.


This is literally the only office warehouse building I can think of here in Katy that is located in an ideal part of town, right off two major highways, lots of shopping and restaurants and the only mall in Katy just about a mile away. Also about a mile from the new Katy Boardwalk District that is under construction - tons of hotels, lofts, homes, retail, conference centers. The perfect location.


Although high a visibility location was not my top priority, since we are not doing retail or cash and carry, it is still a nice perk to have.

Rendering Of Katy Boardwalk Posted In Houston Chronicle In 2018. Image Via Katy Boardwalk District Website

Of course once I contacted the developer I realized that the unit was a bit out of my desired price range, but I decided to bite the bullet and move forward with it anyway. I decided to put off getting a new car, that I actually need, no vacations for a while to save up the extra cash to make it happen.


The unit is 3500 square feet with 21' ceilings. There were two options available - having the developer do a build-out or just buy the shell for $70K less. I decided to do my own build-out, not because it is $70K less but because their build-out doesn't take advantage of the high ceilings. They drop the ceilings in the small, compartmentalized office space to 10'! Yikes! No bueno!


I am positive that the build-out I have planned is much more than $70K, especially with materials and labor costs increasing by the minute, but I love having some freedom to layout the space the way it will best work for my business.



Front Of Building - Casa Vilora Interiors New Office Under Construction

So what do I have planned for the space?


I am not quite ready to talk about the details of the plans yet, but I will give you some hints.


There will be a large kitchen, as my desire has always been to make it a community destination. This will include hosting events like chefs cooking nights, wine tastings, networking events - especially now that I have an Events Planner on staff. I am working closely with a major appliance brand to showcase their appliances in the kitchen. I have also gotten a yes on the countertop materials and other materials throughout the space from a top countertop materials vendor. I will share more on these collaborations when we have formal agreements in place.





On the second level, I plan to have a classroom where I can bring back my decorating classes for consumers, and it will be a "conference room" space that can be rented out when we are not using it. Plus, there will be two to three offices that will be used as co-work spaces.



Casa Vilora Interiors New Office Under Construction

Of course, the biggest driver to even buying this building is the warehouse space, which will house an office and restroom. There is about 1786sf of warehouse space and a total of 3111sf of office space. I love that we are turning a 3500sf shell into almost 5000sf


There is a drawback however, because nothing will ever be 100% perfect. The drawback is that there isn't an actual raised dock, which means that we may not be able to handle 100% of our receiving, but we should be able to handle a lot more than we are now at this location.

I haven't finalized the plans for the decoration of the interior yet. I suppose I want to actually own it before I do. I am old and wise enough to know that anything can happen. Closing is scheduled for November 2021, so I plan to get into the thick of the decoration in early November.


I just know that this time I am going for a more moody space versus the bold color I did in the current space. Although I will forever love that space. I think it definitely helped to put me on the map. Who knew that black and white horizontal stripes and tiger print could work so beautifully? Well, I did, and now my clients do. They now trust me with the bold and the beautiful because they could see how well it was executed in the studio vignette.


It will be less of this.......

Casa Vilora Interiors Studio Vignette

And more of this........



My Wallpaper Inspiration


But trust me when I say that it will not be short of my signature pattern mix and layering. It wouldn't be Veronica without that.


Definitely Maximalist, but moody. Lots of black on black on deep moody and natural colors. You can expect to see, matte black stone, black tufted velvet, zebra hides, rich dark walnut wood, brushed brass metal. Textures galore!





Just FYI, I am not buying a whole building, I am buying one unit in a building of about 10 units.


I am excited to have an end unit, although that made me the prime target for the city's fire riser room. I had to give up a 25sf piece of my warehouse space for it.




The developer did end up crediting me back for this space I was losing, so it did work out.


Casa Vilora Interiors New Office - Building With Other Units

Ok, that's it for now.


Stay tuned for more developments.


I welcome your prayers to Yahweh, that everything will work out according to His Will. It is one of the biggest moves I have ever made in my business, and so naturally doubt and fear can creep in.


I cannot wait to share more as we progress along with the new space.


#CasaViloraHQ


Pin to help me spread the word





Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


Veronica



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