I went to scope out a space that could have potentially been a new home for Little Miss Lovely Floral Design & Event Decorating on Thursday, December 18th. After visiting the space, looking over my finances, talking things over with my fiancé, and day dreaming about its potential, I called my soon-to-be new landlord 4 days later and told her I'd like to move in.
It was then Christmas week and Chaz and I had left to visit our families for the holiday. I excitedly told our family members about this exciting new opportunity for Little Miss Lovely and the future of my business. I started moving things into LML's new home on January 1st... a great way to spend New Years! I was nothing but nerves and excitement when I signed the lease just a few days later.
Little Miss Lovely's doors opened for business at this new West Ocean City location after a few weeks of hard work, sweat, and the shared love and support from my family and friends. This crazy transformation was revealed to the public on February 7th, 2015.
Orange, green, blue & purple. That was the color scheme of the place when I moved in. The location had perviously been occupied by a (very colorful) small embroidery business.
On the day that I went to first take a look at the space, this is what it looked like...
I knew that there would be a TON of work to get this place looking like a flower shop and feeling like a space where I would feel comfortable spending 40+ hours a week working. Chaz and I spent a week taking apart the previous tenants shelving units, removing elements I didn't want or need, scrubbing the bathroom & utility room and creating a 'remodeling game plan'.
I took advantage of a few 50 degree winter days and cleaned up my "front yard", repainted the garage door, removed old signage, added unit numbers, and painted exterior trim.
Sandi Doodle helped a lot with renovations at the shop, too. She brought the cuteness.
I sewed a pair of large curtains to hang over the functioning garage door to make the building look a little more cozier. I feel like the curtains add more of a presence to the front of the building. I also put together a large 3' wreath to hang on the garage door.
Jack, of Signs Illustrated, created and installed a Little Miss Lovely decal to my front door. It was only 20 degrees outside when he came to work on my window and it was so awesome to see him use a flaming blow torch to warm up the glass while applying the decal.
I added a home-made OPEN sign, a few chalkboards displaying LML's hours & specials and a welcome mat. A giant piece of driftwood that I picked out of the Baltimore Harbor is displayed next to my front door until I figure out what I want to create with it.
The transformation inside is unbelievable. We tore down layers of peg board, foam insulation and repurposed as many elements as we possibly could. I used 6 gallons
of white paint to cover nearly every surface in the shop.
Chaz added insulated, lofted attic storage for my seasonal and wedding supplies. Old dog-eared fence posts that had once been used as a shelving display were removed, sanded, and used to create a reclaimed wooden wall and shop counter.
A knock-down texture was added to the back walls and the ceiling under the lofted space was textured, as well. It was a nice way to cover slight imperfections in the building without spending a ton of time and money.
We refinished and restored a few pieces of antique furniture to use as display/storage pieces in the shop. They each required lots of paint stripper, lacquer thinner, sand paper, and electric sanders.
The south wall of the shop was covered in sheet rock and drywall. It had been plywood with shiny installation sheets before... something that I felt was unpractical and unsightly for in the flower shop. Chaz and I both learned the basics of drywall installation... something we both hope that we don't have to do for a long time.
New lighting was installed, the electric outlets were fixed, my sinks were cleaned, the toilet had been replaced, the ceiling was covered in a layer of rustic burlap, all leaks had been patched, I added a concrete finish to the countertops, and the floor had been repainted.
After three weeks of nonstop work, the place started taking shape. I could see my vision coming to life and was really starting to become giddy and full of excitement.
It took me 8 trips to and from our home to transport items from my 'at home' flower studio to the new shop. For nearly 3 years, I had used our garage and sun porch as my flower studio. It was brimming with craft supplies, glass ware, a refrigerator, floral supplies, a library of design books & buckets of flowers. Everything that is now in the shop had once been crammed into a 190 square foot at-home work space.
After being reviewed and approved by the fire marshal and zoning and permitting team, I started decorating. The fact that Little Miss Lovely now has a space to store, display, and sell all of the items that I have collected over the years is so incredible.
I spent a few days making items (like hand-made soap, bath bombs, jewelry, bridal accessories, and paintings) to sell at the shop. It was such a blast placing these pieces into the shop and seeing how neat everything looked when displayed next to fresh flower arrangements.
Mike, my future father-in-law, created and built an amazing farm-style table that I now use as my work bench. Chaz built me a super handy display rack for the 100 rolls of ribbon that I use while making flower arrangements, bouquets, and wedding items.
Quite the transformation, right?! I am still in disbelief that I now have such a beautiful space to work in and that Little Miss Lovely Floral Design & Event Decorating now has a lovely space to call home. It is incredibly exciting to know that my clients and friends will easily be able to locate their favorite florist at this new location. I look forward to meeting with new brides, couples, clients & customers in this new space.
Without the help from Chaz, Mike, Robin, Jesse, my father & mother, and the many friends who let me borrow their vans, helped me paint, and brought me lunch or dinner this wouldn't have been possible. I am forever going to be grateful for all of the time and effort you put into helping make MY DREAM of owning a flower shop COME TRUE. Your love and belief in me is more than anything I could have ever asked for. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Little Miss Lovely is located at...
9935 Stephen Decatur Highway, Unit #15
West Ocean City, MD 22842
I will be open throughout the winter season. Current hours at Tuesday - Saturday (10 am - 6 pm), closed Sunday and Monday. During the summer months, I expect to be closed on Saturdays to set up and attend weddings and events.
I look forward to seeing you at Little Miss Lovely!
Thank you for your endless support and encouragement!
I loved seeing the transformation through your wonderful storytelling. Keep up the amazing work, Ami. You are truly talented!