Sit the f*ck down, Property Brothers, there’s a new pair of renovators in town.
For reasons I will never fully understand, Mackenzie Lad, digital editor and production manager here at The Concordian, and I, were given permission to makeover the office. Equipped with limited knowledge and a whole lotta drive, we spent the entire reading week completing step one of this process: revamping The Concordian’s meeting room.
By the looks of it, the meeting room hadn’t been fixed up since the late 70s. The furniture alone was a dead giveaway: all burnt orange and lime green material, the chairs were so coated in dust and mysterious stains that I’m pretty sure they qualified as archeological artifacts. A series of old, rickety desks and tables were pushed into the corners of the room, their only purpose to serve as landing strips for generations of Concordian staff and their random junk: uncapped pens, broken computer keyboards, empty coffee cups, loose papers. Some of these documents dated as far back as 1979, and if that doesn’t signify the need for an update, I don’t know what does. Clearly, we had our work cut out for us.
Step One: Paint the Damn Walls
On our first day, we were graciously joined by Matthew Coyte, our managing editor, and our good pal Sean Hennegan, who doesn’t work for The Concordian but was helping us out as an act of charity.* Since Mackenzie and I are not exactly Amazons, we decided to use Matt and Sean’s height to our advantage and tackle the walls first. The plan? To revamp the navy walls with a shade of sky blue and to add a fresh coat of white paint everywhere else.
I was young and naive then (last week), so I figured that by the end of the first day, each wall would be covered in its first coat of paint. In retrospect, this was an absolute pipe dream—painting is a painstakingly tedious endeavour. Between covering the door frames with tape, filling the holes with spackle and laying the actual paint down, we put in hours and hours of work, only wrapping up at the end of day three. That said, it’s remarkable what a new coat of paint can do, leaving a room that once felt dark and drab now light, airy and open. It was worth it!
Step Two: Fix Up the Furnishings
After the painting was finished, we decided it was time to deal with the meeting room’s abundance of ancient furniture. We started by getting rid of a few things: a desk with a broken leg, a table that didn’t quite fit with the rest. Some of the remaining furniture needed a bit of TLC, so we wiped down the chairs, painted a couple of the shelving units white and stained one of the tables deep mahogany brown to match the others.
We also rearranged the layout of the room, repositioning desks and moving chairs around, and it was with this step that I saw our transformation really start to come to life. “We’re in the home stretch!” I kept repeating, like some dad at a barbeque whose burgers were nearly ready to come off the grill. Ever-so-cordial, Mackenzie endured this embarrassing aspect of my personality like an absolute champ, pitching in with enthusiastic “yeahs!” and “woo-hoos!” as much as she could bear. It was true, though: all that was left to do was the fun part.
Step Three: Sweet, Sweet Memories
Like any media publication, The Concordian has accumulated a significant amount of archival material over the years. Decades-old, black-and-white photographs of various Stingers sporting events were scattered on the tabletops, put there who-knows-how-long-ago with the intention of hanging them on the walls. Newspaper after newspaper, many of them yellowed with age, were piled up on the shelves, and negatives of issues-past were stacked in boxes in the corner.
Sifting through the archives was like taking a trip back in time and we wanted to incorporate the material into our decor as much as we could. We framed and hung some of the Stingers photos, finally giving them their rightful place on the wall, and tacked the rest to a huge corkboard above the couch.
We also thought it might be cool to cover the main meeting room table in a collage of old publications, so we spent one afternoon breathing in Modge Podge fumes as we cut and pasted pieces of newspaper to the wood. I think it was a success!
There are two more rooms at The Concordian that we haven’t touched yet—the production office, where we design the layout of our paper each week, and the studio—so Mackenzie and I still have a ways to go. Up next, we plan to tackle those Cheez-Whiz coloured walls. I’ll keep you posted.
*Editor’s note: Sean has kindly asked that we refer to him by his chosen title of “Senior Executive Intern.” Since that position does not actually exist at this publication, we will henceforth be referring to him by his second title of choice, “Local Cool Guy.”
Collage by Mackenzie Lad ft. the real Property Brothers