General Store Renewal

This commercial building in historic Concord dates to the 18th century. Originally a general store, it saw many uses and had lost its identity, the interior skinned in sheetrock and carpet, the floor plan rendered a maze. Our client bought the building with a novel idea for the property and a desire to recapture the character of its roots.

On the exterior, we brought back original detailing and made the building handicap-accessible. We worked with town officials to navigate a change of use and finesse accessibility requirements in a 240-year-old building.

Inside, the original stair survived, and it was a gem to be saved. Everything else on both floors was removed for a clean slate. We designed an open plan at the first floor for changing uses, from an art gallery to an event space. Barn doors hung on tracks allow the floor to be partitioned as needed. We removed bearing walls and introduced steel beams, which were left exposed to reinforce the utilitarian aesthetic. New steel connections to original oak posts were similarly exposed. At the rear is a new kitchen, designed to be both functional and attractive. It can be closed off with retractable steel and glass doors.

The second floor supports an office and photography studio. We created a double-loaded hall with offices on either side, but the walls along the hall are floor-to-ceiling steel and glass for an open, airy work environment.

A general store of yore is now a vibrant, multipurpose building ready for 21st needs, but with an eye towards its roots.


  • Architect: Frank Shirley Architects
  • Contractor: Adams + Beasley Associates
  • Engineer: Steve Goan
  • Photos: Randy O’Rourke