What does one do with an old building that has passed its prime, is sitting vacant and is a eyesore to the neighborhood? Probably the first thought would be to demolish it.
The Jewish B'nai-Israel Synagogue, 249 S. Fourth East, has not been used as a synagogue for a number of years. However, 12 years ago it was turned into a restaurant - the Royal Palace. Later, it became Peppers. After that restaurant closed, the building remained vacant for two years.Earlier this year Henriksen/Butler Design Group Inc. decided to buy the building and renovate it for the company's own office use as well as to showcase office and home furniture.
Steve Butler, co-owner of the design group, said, "Our approach was to take the interior back to somewhat of its original state since a lot had been added to facilitate the restaurants."
He said the major renovations included opening up the entry inside the main entrance to create a more open and visually appealing interior space.
Lighting was a problem because of the high ceiling.
"We went to a combination of reflected ambient light and theatrical lighting - that is, spotlighting for the display pieces," Butler said.
The light bar is on a pulley system that can be raised and lowered, making it easy to remove and add lights or change their direction.
When the building was used as a restaurant, a facade was placed over the beautiful stained glass windows.
"Our intention was to bring these windows back to their original state. Now exposed, they help to reflect the original flavor of the building," Butler said.
Other changes included painting the interior white and covering the floor with gray carpet tile. These neutral values were used so they wouldn't clash with the furniture displays that are changed frequently.
"The interior office space is completely furnished in Herman Miller open-office systems furniture," Butler said.
The building's entire exterior facade was redone. Since the sandstone was deteriorating, a new facing had to be placed on top of some of the stone pieces.
Then the building was reroofed and the grounds landscaped again.
Butler said that the renovation took about five to six months.
This new Henricksen/Butler location houses a Herman Miller Office Pavilion, the first of its kind in Utah. There are 24 such pavilions across the nation. The closest ones to Salt Lake are located in Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Butler's partner, Ron Henriksen, said, "Our affiliation as a Herman Miller Office Pavilion makes us a unique office furniture resource for the Salt Lake City business community. What this means for the area is high-quality, established furniture lines and unsurpassed service capabilities."
He added that the company can offer companies a controlled range of compatible products and satisfy all furniture needs at any level within an organization from a single, comprehensive resource.
The company also has a residential division for furnishing homes. Until now, the company has been involved in that on a special client basis. But it plans to expand that part of the business.
The Henriksen/Butler Design Group, with its staff of 12, has one main goal: to provide a cost-effective solution to a client's office that will enable him to work more efficiently and effectively, while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing environment.
One look at their new offices is living proof that they have the expertise to realize that goal.