Swell Stay Blends Old With New on Main Street in Madison

Katie Brantley Beck Swell Stay

Transforming a historic 8,000-square-foot building in Madison, Indiana, into a vibrant mixed-use space has been an exhilarating journey for Katie & Brantley Beck. From the moment they saw this magnificent property on Main Street, they knew it was the perfect canvas for their vision. The renovation story has captivated the hearts of over 150,000 followers, and being featured on the Magnolia Network's "In with the Old" was the icing on the cake. Join them as they delve into the remarkable transformation via their Instagram account, Swell Stay, and discover why they chose historically-inspired Nostalgic Warehouse door hardware for this extraordinary project.

swell stay nostalgic warehouse brass entry door hardware deadbolt
swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass pocket door hardware

Please give us some more details on Swell Stay. How did you develop it, and what sets it apart?

We always dreamt of buying a historic property in my (Katie's) hometown of Madison, Indiana. We saved for several years, and about six months after we started looking, this massive, 8,000 sq ft building came for sale…and it was right on Main Street! It was much larger than we ever imagined or planned on, but we jumped at the chance to make it ours and decided to share our journey on social media! It didn’t take long for our story to resonate with others, and after a year and a half into our renovation journey, we have 150,000 folks along for the ride! Sharing our story on the Magnolia Network’s “In with the Old” was the cherry on top of our renovation and design journey. We spent a year filming with them, and it was so lovely to see our work and Nostalgic Warehouse hardware on the big screen!

We are so interested in the story behind your remodel process. Please tell us more!

The city deemed our building "dilapidated," so everything needed to be restored once we got our hands on it. The historic footprint was still in place, but we got to work restoring the first apartment on the 2nd and 3rd floors (in 2023), which we just completed. We are now working on the other two apartments in the building and will work on the storefronts this summer. Each step of the restoration journey was challenging in its own way. We took on the task of restoring everything remaining and filling in the gaps where we had to, so every move had to be carefully planned. Finding old-school tradesmen for areas like plaster, box gutters, slate roofs, and faux-graining doors was more difficult than we expected.

swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware
swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware

How did you choose the hardware featured in this project? What attracted you to Nostalgic Warehouse?

We have been fans of Nostalgic Warehouse for a few years and first saw them when Nina Williams, a blogger I follow, put them into her new build. I loved how they looked storied, and they were the first thing I thought of when we found dozens of old doors with missing hardware in our building. Everything from the finishes available to the construction of the products is top-of-the-line. The hardware genuinely looks and feels like the greatest quality.

We were extremely thoughtful and meticulous about all the finishes we put in our home; it was no different when it came to the hardware. Ultimately, finding solid brass hardware that would last another lifetime in our building was a big selling point for us, not to mention their beauty. We chose Nostalgic Hardware for our entire project, from exterior entry doors to bedroom knobs. The quality is unmatched, and I love its cohesiveness as we move from area to area in our 8,000 sq ft mixed-use building.

How long did this project take to complete?

We started our project in January of 2023 and are set to finish by September 2024.

swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware
swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware

Did you learn any tips and tricks about door hardware that would benefit others?

We were nervous about how the hardware would fit with our historic doors because each door was truly unique. We were so pleased with how they came together seamlessly (and my uncle and brother, who helped us put them all on, were even more pleased, ha!). We couldn’t believe how easy it was.

What is your design style, and how do you incorporate those decorating decisions within your home?

I’ve always had a very eclectic yet traditional style, but I really tried to blend that with the building’s French Second Empire architectural style. I kept going back to the words French, Elevated, Storied, and Warm, and that helped me stay focused on my end goal, so I didn’t let my eclectic taste get too carried away.

Where do you find design inspiration?

I found much of my design inspiration for this project within the building. We had original hardwood floors, eight-foot arched windows, plaster walls, nine fireplaces, massive crown molding, and many other original features that already told a story. It was a gift to take a building with such a storied past and bring it into the present. Little details like our Nostalgic Warehouse hardware were one of the ways we could blend old and new in a beautiful way.

swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware
swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware

When starting a project, how do you organize and plan for it?

I am a spreadsheet girl! I love to get organized with spreadsheets, mood boards, physical samples, and hand sketches. As much as I try to plan, I always leave room for spontaneity because I feel this is where I personally find a lot of joy in the process. One example is when the countertop fabricator could not cut the shape I sketched and had designed for our kitchen backsplash area. We ended up flexing and going with a shape that he could manage to cut precisely, and wow, I just loved it! Happy accidents are my best friend; they make life beautiful and unexpected!

How did you choose a house to buy and renovate?

We were dreaming of something in my hometown that needed some love but could be a mixed-use space with both residential and commercial aspects. Historic properties where I’m from don’t go up for sale very often on Main Street, so when this one did, we jumped at the chance to get it! This building had great bones, no structural issues, and maintained many of the original architectural elements, which was super important to us.

Many people want to take on large remodeling projects. What are some recommendations for readers who wish to do an extensive remodel project?

Do what you can where you are! Five years ago, this wasn’t even close to being possible for us, but we took baby steps to get to this point. We saved what we could; we were always working side jobs and trying to save money, and took the work in front of us. I think living life with a mentality of working hard on what opportunities you have will always lead to the next thing and the next thing, and so on. Don’t be too good for the work you’ve been offered because you never know where it might lead you! Once it becomes possible for you, bring in people who are smarter than you! You will never have all the answers, but so many people are willing to lend wisdom or give advice based on their experiences. I always advise people to look into what grants are available at the city, state, and national levels for their projects. Our building is on the National Register of Historic Places, so we had so much available! We also spent about six months before we started the demo just planning, getting plans drawn with an architect, applying for grants, sharing our story and the story of our building, etc. That time was the most impactful to the success of our project. Taking the time to do those things allowed us to film with the Magnolia Network and get local, state, and national grants and tax credits. Take it all in, and don’t go too fast. Plan and pray!

swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware
swell stay nostalgic warehouse vintage brass door hardware

What are some tips for readers who wish to make a transformation in their home?

A little goes a long way! Color is having a moment right now, so get a can of paint and do something exciting with the walls or trim of your home. I see red everywhere, but a more subtle color, like dusty blue or golden yellow, could have the same effect. Wallpaper (if you’re up for the task) is also a fun way to add a design element that is so unique to you. There are thousands of wallpaper designs out there, so you can find one that is special to you and tells a unique story about your home. My mom helped us hang wallpaper in four rooms, and I love them all. Another idea: switch out a light. You can find such affordable and impactful chandeliers that can totally change your space in an instant. Lastly, hardware! Whether it be kitchen pulls or door knobs, these little details make all the difference and are easy ways to make a big impact over time.

Are you working on any other properties or projects besides your own home?

Now that the main residence is complete, we are focused on completing the two smaller apartments in our building. Once those have been completed, we will start work on the storefronts on the Main Street level. We can’t wait for that!

What is next?

This project will keep us busy for the next six months or so, but we are real estate addicts! We constantly look at what is for sale and are eager to keep the old-home-saving going! We want to leave a legacy for our children, grandchildren, and this community, and we hope that by saving these old places and bringing life back into them, we can tell a redemption story and inspire others to make the world around them beautiful.

Thank you so much to Katie for taking the time for our interview and sharing her family's beautiful family home with us! If you want to catch their "In with the Old" episode, it can be seen on Episode 5 of Season 5 on Magnolia Network. Be sure to follow the Swell Stay story on Instagram, too!

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