Jenna Turner

Third Floor Demolition: Ceiling the Deal with Unique Discoveries

January 10, 2024

The third floor in it’s existing condition.

Embarking on the third floor demolition of The Golden Exchange project was a task filled with anticipation and excitement. Honestly, it was the floor that I was most anxious about! We knew there were elements of history in hiding, but we weren’t sure what to expect to find hiding behind the modernized coverings. We’d taken a peek under some spots, but really, we had no clue what we would find once it all came out. It felt like a season of Outer Banks — would we find the Royal Merchant or run around with a new pile of challenges?

The Discovery Phase


We started by taking down all the drywall coverings and the temporary offices from its days as a radio station. This part was pretty straightforward – no curveballs or surprises, just the usual dust and debris. It felt pretty good to strip away those layers and get a clearer picture of what the original space looked like. It was like stepping back in time, uncovering the building’s true character, bit by bit. I was so excited to see the drywall coverings removed from the orginal solid wood beams throughout the space. I could already picture the best dance receptions to be had!

Ceiling Tiles

A while back, we removed a couple of ceiling tiles to get an idea of what we might be working with and revealed a glimpse of this beautiful stained wood ceiling. I have been giddy about it from the start! (While also trying my best not to get my hopes up.) We knew it was something special, but the big question was what lay beneath the rest of those acoustic tiles. What if the whole ceiling was a patchwork of good, bad, and ugly? What if we discovered rotted sections, holes, or parts that were sagging and unsecured? Every tile removed was a step further into the mystery, filled with a lot of hope and a little bit of apprehension.

Once the ceiling tiles were removed, it wasn’t the awe-inspiring moment we’d hoped for. Instead of immediately seeing the full glory of that wood ceiling, we were greeted with miles of communication wires and a whole bunch of shiny silver HVAC mechanicals and ductwork. We were making progress, but there was still a lot of work that had to happen before we could really determine the condition of the entire ceiling.

After days of clearing wire and ductwork, the true star of the show finally had its moment as the stunning, pitched hardwood tongue and groove ceilings came into full view. And let me tell you, they were nothing short of immaculate. The rich stain on the wood gave off this warm, welcoming vibe that just lit up the whole space. It was one of those ‘wow’ moments where you just stand there, taking it all in, realizing that every bit of effort was totally worth it.


Finally, we turned our attention to the carpet. Despite being well over 20 years old, it somehow still had that new carpet smell. Anxiously peeling it back, we were hoping to uncover the same gorgeous hardwood floors that graced the first two floors. But, as fate would have it, what we found was a layer of very aged brown and tan speckled asbestos tiles that were less than lovely. It was a bit of a letdown and also a new challenge to tackle. The crew moved cautiously, making sure not to disturb these tiles until we could figure out the best course of action.

With these aged asbestos tiles revealed, we faced a new and crucial decision. The condition and presence of these tiles posed a health concern with the asbestos and certainly didn’t pass the vibe check of our dreamy event space. I started brainstorming for solutions that prioritized health and cost-effectiveness. The options were either a complete asbestos abatement or a way to safely seal and cover these floors. This renovation decision would require balancing safety, aesthetics, and practicality. The next steps had to be thoughtful and precise to keep our project on the right track.

Deciding on the best course of action for the asbestos tiles didn’t take long. Both the contractor and I were on the same page about doing things the right way. We wanted to ensure the safety of everyone involved – the workers, future tenants, and patrons of the building. So, we chose to schedule a full asbestos inspection and abatement. It was about taking responsibility and making sure that every step of this restoration not only honored the building’s past but also protected its future. This meant extra work and care, but for us, safety and health was non-negotiable.

A Moment of Awe

Every day brought new discoveries during the third floor demolition, as piles of debris slowly disappeared. This place, originally just a spot for hardware overstock and storage, was showing us it had so much more to offer. It’s like the space itself didn’t know its own potential until now. It was a reminder of how hidden beauty can come alive with just the right care and vision.

I’ll never forget the moment I stepped into this space after all the debris were cleared away. My breath was taken away as I reveled in the full glory of the place. It was even better than I had imagined. The beauty, character, and unique charm were beyond what I could have ever dreamed of. The sunlight streaming through the windows illuminated the raw wood ceilings, exposed brick, and arched window accents, casting the entire space in a breathtaking light and warmth. Standing there in that moment, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the emotion of it all. This space that was decades forgotten and originally utilitarian, was now a stunning testament to history and potential.

It was a moment of deep gratitude and awe for the journey that brought us here and the promise of what this space would become. All I could do was thank God for trusting me to be the caretaker of this space and asked for his blessing and guidance on using this place for His glory and goodness.

And it was only just the beginning.

Looking Ahead

Every corner of the room now spoke of the building’s history and character. It felt like we had unlocked a secret, a hidden gem that was waiting for its time to shine. Where else in our town could you gather together overlooking the entire city? As I looked around, I could already envision the laughter, the celebrations, and the community that would fill this space. All of it bringing it to life in a way it had never seen before.

Now, there was even more confirmation that this was project is more than a restoration; it is the creation of a new legacy, a space where the past and the present could come together, creating something truly special for our community.

The third floor, once an overlooked storage area, was now prepped and ready to begin its revitalization as a vibrant, inviting event space for gathering, celebrating, and creating new memories.

Third Floor Demolition Gallery

  • Third floor demolition at The Golden Exchange
  • Third floor demolition at The Golden Exchange

Read about our vision for the third floor!

What is an asbestos abatement?

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